Some progress, some ripping and a lot of confusion

Well, I have pictures to show of my New Look 6821 progress thus far, but not a finished project yet.  Still, something’s better than nothing and I’m pretty proud of my first project so far.  I must warn you, I made no attempt to match the patterns and boy do they not match!  But I think it will still be cute.  I decided to not make myself crazy in the cutting process and try to match the prints of the fabrics; I’ll work on that skill later on.  But I still had enough crazy to sate me with trying to decipher the instructions along the way.  So onto the craziness…

As to be expected, I made numerous mistakes along the way, but that’s how you learn, right?  😉  I stitched the staystitching too close to the raw edge, but I am not sure if that matters much.  It was later trimmed off after I sewed the actual seam.  So you tell me — mistake or not?  The understitching was complete stumper for me.   How do you understitch a tube I ask you???  I’d have to release one of the seams to understitch the halter top straps and then only one side would be understitched.  So I opted to edgestitch the entire top instead.    Here are two pics of the halter top. 

haltertop1st one is before edgestitching.

halter-top-bodice2nd one is after edgestitching f/f right side up.  The halter is self lined.

strap-edge-stitching3rd pic is a closeup of the edgestitching on the strap.  At each step of the process so far, consultations with Mom were required as well as panicked posts on PatternReview in the Beginner’s forum.  Thank god for the Beginner’s forum; it’s awesome!  The responses to my questions were so prompt and really helped me.  What a great resource!!!  Love, love!  And props to my Mom who was able to understand my questions without having either the instructions or pattern in front of her.  I couldn’t do that.  She lives in Madison and I called her late at night and she was still coherent enough to talk me off the proverbial sewing ledge.  I can’t imagine life without her, sewing or otherwise.

Next up were the pin tucks on the skirt portion of the pattern.  I was actually scared of pin tucks, but now having conquered the pin tuck territory I’m wondering what my fuss was all about.  They’re really easy and look so darn cute!  I am so proud of those pin tucks.  Here’s a pic…pin-tuck-detail







Now onto the “hem” of the skirt (I used quotation marks because it’s not the true hem of the skirt since there’s a band in a contrasting fabric below the skirt which is the real hem).  The instructions called for folding the “hem” twice, pressing each time, and stitching the hem.  Since this isn’t the real hem and you don’t see it on the finished dress at all, I am not sure why you have such a finished hem for this part.  It doesn’t make sense to me and makes the skirt a bit stiff.  Also, all that pressing with steam seemed to stretch out the fabric just a wee bit.  I’ll tell you how I know that it did shortly.  Here’s a pic of the inside construction of the skirt. inside-skirt-construction

Note that I did not serge the seam allowances.  I bought this fabric and thread last summer before I owned a serger and didn’t buy enough thread to use on a serger.  So instead I zigzagged the seam allowances where they needed it.  There was no mention of finishing the seam allowances anywhere in the instructions that I can recall.

Some of the craziness (i.e., ripping out the same line of stitching FOUR TIMES!!!) of this process occurred when I was putting the CB seam together.  My notches matched up, but I couldn’t remember which seam was the CB seam and had to look at the pattern over and over again.  I finally figured out that I was sewing the wrong seam and finally found the the right notches and finished the skirt of the dress.  Most of the ripping had to do with forgetting on what stitch my machine was set.  So I had to rip out zig zag stitches, then basting stitches.  It was a nightmare.  But now I am an expert ripper!  I probably should have put the sewing away for the night, but I wanted to finish that step.  And I did!  Yeah.  🙂

The next craziness was applying the hem band in contrasting fabric to the skirt.  I could not figure that out for the life of me.  My mom was stumped.  It took 3 people on PatternReview telling me the same thing 3 different ways before I finally got it.  Some of it was actually semantics, but mostly it was my lack of ability to visualize instructions.  Translating words or instructions to the visual is not my strong suit.   I can’t tell you how many times I read those instructions and still I didn’t get it. 

instructions1Check them out… Part #40.  What tripped me up was the OUTSIDE part.  Also there is no mention of right sides together, although that probably would have confused me too, come to think of it, since both sides of the band are the “right” side of the fabric.  I finally figured out that you needed the raw edges of the hem band laying on top of the hem of the skirt, so if you’re looking the the skirt right side up from top to bottom with the hem band on top of the skirt ready to sew the seam, the hem band would be upside down (the folded edge would be north and the raw edges would south).  So you sew the seam and then press the seam allowance up thereby simultaneously pressing the hemband down in one step.  How simple was that?!?!  Why couldn’t I figure that out?  It’s just like any other seam, just horizontal instead of vertical.  Maybe that’s what confused me.  But at this point I don’t care.  It’s done and it looks great. See!skirt-with-band

Now here’s where I tell you about how the skirt hem grew when I pressed it.  When I pinned the hem band to the skirt in preparation for sewing the seam, I found the skirt was slightly larger than the hem band.   Not by much, maybe 1/2 an inch all around, but I had to pin carefully to distribute the excess equally and not create any unwanted puckers.    I think it turned out nicely.  Not one pucker in sight!

 Ok, that’s all I’ve completed thus far.  I have to buy a zipper tonight so I can finish the rest of the construction (zipper insertion, attaching halter top bodice to skirt, etc).  But I am very excited to have made it this far and, despite the print mismatches (see example), bodice-side-seamam very pleased with the results for my first garment sewing sans teacher.  I am learning so much with this project.  Very exciting!!!!


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