It has been eight or nine years now since I have either been in school or had a regular job. My life can be challenging, but usually not mentally stimulating. I can also be quite lazy, when allowed, resulting in less than stimulating activities. However, I love learning new stuff especially when that new thing is useful. So I was somewhat giddy when I learned what understitching is, why it exists, and that it is pretty easy to install. I actually learned about it yesterday during the day of hell (http://grumbeere.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad.html). Some of my frustration with yesterday came from the fact that I wanted to finish a dress for Sophia but got waylaid by a screaming kid, fire ants, and understitiching.
Now that I built it up, I bet you are dying to know what the heck I am talking about, so here is a short explanation and a link to a video example of understitching for those that may need to actually do it some day:
As some of you know when you are sewing a garment that has a lining, said lining tends to roll toward the right side of the product. Sometimes this can be cute if the lining is a contrasting fabric, but sometimes not. Well, to keep this from happening, especially around necklines and armholes, you can use understitching. All you have to do is sew the lining to the seam allowance as close to, but not on the seam. I must admit that I pressed my garment first, pressing the seam toward the lining. I like ironing before sewing, it seems to keep everything in better order that way.
That is all. Yeah for simple, but (hopefully) effective methods!
So now the dress:
The colors in the photo seem a little bit funky, but they aren't really. It is just a green bodice and ruffle and a blue body with ducks, frogs, and turtles on it. This is my first McCalls pattern (Number to be added when at a later date). Although it might have been a bit better than the Simplicity patterns that I have used, I was still confused in places.
The biggest confusion was how EXACTLY to attach the ruffle. They didn't really discuss it, so I did it my own way which left two raw edges. I read the instructions several times, but one raw edge at the top of the ruffle (see picture below) really does seem to be the intention of the pattern maker. The other raw edge was on the body of the dress under the ruffle. It never said to hem the body. So, I just did a triple zig-zag on both the upper raw edge of the ruffle and the lower raw edge of the body. It didn't say where to attach the ruffle, so I just attached 1/4" of seam allowance on the body.
There were two other problems: the size and the gathering of the ruffle. I knew the size was a little big because Sophia was actually really excited about this dress and stripped down to try it on before I even had the ruffle sewn. It looked cute, but too big around. I experimented with putting a piece of elastic, the length of Sophia's width in the back bodice between the outside and the lining. I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out if it worked.
I have found, like so many sewers before me, that gathering sucks. I don't know if you can tell in the picture above, but the gathering on the left side is almost nonexistent. The thread broke as I was trying to attach the ruffle and I was just too lazy (and, as always, too determined to get done NOW) that I did not go back and re-baste and re-gather. Other areas of the ruffle are super gathered because as I was attaching and trying to loosen some of the gather to match the skirt, but it would not loosen. I did not want to break any more thread, so I just opted for uneven ruffling.
These mistakes are why I have a hard time with the idea of selling or even giving away clothes. Do people really want clothes that have mistakes? I am excited, though, about having a sewing circle. I plan on taking this dress and the pattern to our next meeting and asking them if they can give suggestions. Maybe, if they can have some good ideas, next time I won't have so many mistakes.
Hopefully, if Sophia and Amelia cooperate, I will update with a pic of Sophia in the dress.