Welcome to today’s stop on Sewing By Ti’s, “Dress Up This Town” blog tour! I’m excited to share my labors of love with you today! (We also have a giveaway going too! See the rafflecopter at the end of my post!)
When Ti announced this tour last month, I figured I would sign up, use a pattern I already owned, and use up some fabric that I bought while in NYC last month.
And then the Rebecca Page Emma Dress* came out and Fabric Mart Fabrics (whose newsletters I have subscribed to for years but had never purchased anything – until I attended an American Sewing Guild Workshop last month with Pamela Leggett of Threads Magazine and Craftsy, and she raved and raved about them!) had an amazing sale on this beautiful chiffon by Maggy London. Of course I had to get both.
About the Fabric
Oh so beautiful! Oh so billowy! And oh, what a bear to cut out and sew!
Thankfully I had purchased “The Essential Guide to Sewing with Sheers” on Craftsy* during a sale a few months ago, so I watched some of that in preparation — and was “watching” it as I cut out all the pieces. Which I think, by the way, took me at least 4 nights to cut out all three dresses on my dining room table!
Even though this project took way longer than I anticipated, the fact that this fabric is so beautiful really did help me to keep working on it (well, that and a blog tour deadline, haha!)
Growing up, my mum always told me that you should always use the best quality lining that you can find. So armed that advice, I found this NY Designer Pongee Lining – also on sale. I have to say: this lining is *amazing*! It’s not wriggly or shiny – it is just a perfect lining. I want to use it on everything!
For the interfacing, I used Palmer/Pletch Light and I have to say – if you have only been using Pellon interfacing products in your garments, you HAVE to try the Palmer/Pletch ones. They are SO much better!! (I’ve also heard great things about the interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply).
If you’ve never worked with chiffon before, it’s not all doom and gloom, I promise! Here’s a couple of tips:
- Cut your patterns in one piece — do not cut on the fold.
- Use a large cutting surface so that the fabric doesn’t shift around/drag.
- Use a rotary cutter and self healing mat.
- Use a sharp (microtex) needle, size 70/10.
- Particularly when serging, use washaway stabilizer. This stops the fabric from rolling under and your seams looking really wonky.
- As much as possible, use French Seams.
- Use masking tape to mark the wrong side of the fabric (remember to take these off before you close up any linings…. sigh….)
- Use washable marker to mark your notches (I use Crayola ultra washable markers)
- Don’t back tack.
About the Pattern
The Emma Dress by Rebecca Page* comes in three size ranges – doll, child (newborn – size 12) and womens. It has multiple length options – top, tunic, knee, tea and maxi. I made the maxi for me and my eldest daughter, and the tea for my youngest (though I used the 12-18 month bodice and 18-24 month length, so it is a bit long for her still). Both my girls ADORE their dresses – I’m not sure which one loves it more!! Even the 17 month old was giddy as I put it on her, and bolted to our photo spot so she could have her shoot done!
While this dress looks gorgeous, I just don’t think it’s really a good choice for chiffon. There’s no traditional armscye in it – the side pieces are straight, and just have notches to show where you need to stop your seam. As a result, there’s no way to successfully do a French Seam (the instructions have you do a plain seam with clean edge finish but call it a French Seam). In the end, I resorted to individually serging the side seams (using washaway interfacing to keep them looking nice). I am hoping it all holds up in the wash!
Overall, I didn’t love the directions. They do have two sets — one is a summary with high level instructions for advanced seamstresses. The other is the full tutorial. I found myself flipping between the two when things didn’t seem to make sense.
The major change I made from the instructions was the way I installed the lining. Ultimately, I sewed it as a traditional lining – one inside the other, stitching the openings together, understitching, and then flipping out the right way. The underarms ended up being rather bulky and a bit bunched up with this method, but I found the method of wrapping the outer fabric around the lining (as described in the instructions) to be way too cumbersome.
I also decided to hand stitch the collar lining in place rather than machine top stitching it. (Since my collar was sheer, I ended up cutting two linings out. One lining I spray basted to the outer collar, and the other I fused to the interfacing. By doing this, I prevented the seam edges from being visible through the fabric).
To make it easier to hem this dress, I started by serging the hem (with washaway interfacing) and then folded it over twice and stitched down with my sewing machine.
So, would I sew this again? I think I would do it again, but in my opinion it would be most successful as an unlined knit. The inability to do a French Seam in the bodice is a big drawback for sheers. (Though, as I ponder more about this, there might be a workaround by using a tricot binding tape).
Enter to win!
Remember to enter our Week 3 Rafflecopter Giveaway for some great prizes from Sis Boom, Patterns for Pirates, Designer Stitch, and Simply By Ti!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by today, and don’t forget to visit and share some comment love with the the rest of the stops on our tour!
Week 1: July 1st-8th
2- Me Made
4- Sewing By Ti
5- Seams Sew Lo
Week 2: July 9th-15th
10- Ma Moose
12- Seams Sew Lo
13- Kate Will Knit
Week 3: July 16th-22nd
17- That’s Sew Lily
19- Auschick Sews ***You are here. 😀
20- Anne Mari Sews
21- Lulu and Celeste
Week 4: July 23rd-31st
24- Sewing Curves
26- Indulging Mum
27- That’s Sew Lily
30- Sewing By Ti
31- Sew Like a Sloth