Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cricket Sew Along - Day 4, Second Look

Welcome back geese! I hope you had an awesome sewing day yesterday and are ready to finish up your Second Look!
If you are just now joining in the fun, check out these other 3 posts to catch up:
Yesterday we tacked the lining and casing for the elastic. I left you with sleeves to construct overnight. Today we are back to tackle the side seams, elastic, hem and decorative bow!

 Let us start with the elastic. You are going to cut 2 pieces of elastic for the waistband. So, one small formula is needed:

waist measurement - 1
2

For me, Louisa's waist is 21". So, (21-1)/2 is 10". I will cut 2 pieces of elastic that are 10" each. Remember, don't get my measurements confused with yours!


Now, grab one of the pieces of elastic and your elastic-threading thingamajig and feed the elastic through the casing on the front of your Cricket. I put the casing lines on there from yesterday just in case anyone wanted that as a reference.


 When the edge of the elastic is aligned with the side of the dress, sew the elastic in place with a 1/4" seam, as shown below with the black dotted line. When I sew elastic, I like to reinforce the stitch to make sure it isn't going anywhere.


With one edge secured, finish feeding the other end of the elastic through the other side.


Once you have it pulled through, tuck it back so that the edge of the elastic is aligned with the edge of the side just like you did for the other side. Pin in place and again sew the elastic in the casing with a 1/4" seam allowance as shown by the dotted line below.


One side done! Now do the same with the other piece of elastic and the back of the Cricket. 

Once both sides have the elastic secured in the casing, place your dress on a flat surface right sides together and line up the underarm seams, sleeves and elastic casings.


Once everything is lined up and pinned together (you can see below I used the cheater method for the sleeves. Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!), sew (3/8" seam allowance) along the bottom of the sleeve, through the underarms and down the side MAKING SURE to keep your elastic casing for the front and back lined up and also making sure to catch the elastic-securing stitch in your seam.


 Finish those seams and then double check that the elastic-securing stitch was caught and covered. Sometimes, because I am neurotic cautious, I will place another line of stitching to make sure that elastic stays in place. When I do this, I sew it right along the edge of the seam as shown by the gray dotted line. This is certainly not necessary, but as I said...sometimes I get a little cautious like that. :)


Okay, rocking and rolling on day 4. One would think some of you carb-loaded last night. ;)

Now, it is time to finish up the Cricket. If you used the original method for the sleeves, go ahead and put the cuffs on the bottoms as shown in the tutorial on page 20. Then, hem your dress and add the button as instructed on pages 23-25 of the pattern.

Guess what - we have a decorative bow to do and then you are SO done! This bow is easy-peasy and adds such a cute, girly detail that my little Lou adores.

Cut a rectangle of fabric about 5-6" tall by about 40" wide. I actually cut a piece that was 5.5" by selvage width. I just grabbed a solid out of my stash of scraps and had just enough. Here it is below on the fold. You want it to be long enough to be a cute bow - but not too long. And for width, we will fold it over on itself, so pick a width and then double. However, I don't recommend going more that 6" since it may get too bulky to attach to the casing.


 Fold it in half lengthwise with right sides together. You will sew (white line) from one end all the way to the other, making sure to leave a space mid-way through that is about 1-1.5" wide so you can flip it over on itself. 


I like to curve my edges just a bit to make it more feminine looking.


 Once you have sewn it along the edge, leaving a gap in the middle, clip your curved edges as shown below.


Now, grab your handy turn-it-right-sides-out thingamajig (I use hemostats, I couldn't function in my sewing room without them) and flip your bow right sides out. Then, take to the ironing board and press it all along the edge making sure to fold in where you left the gap.


 Once pressed, take your bow the sewing machine and top-stitch all along the edge you just stitched making sure to stitch closed the opening left for turning it right sides out. 

Take your dress and work the fabric evenly along the elastic in the waist. Then, grab the elastic from the buttonhole on the front of your dress so that it is sticking up above the casing as shown below. Again, hemostats to the rescue. Or you can use tweezers. Lord knows my eyebrow tweezers get more time in my sewing room than in the bathroom. I have some very scary brows. Yikes.


 Once the elastic is pulled up a bit, slide one end of your bow through it as shown below.

 Now, work the bow in and give it a beautiful tie. I will not give a tutorial on that because I am the worst bow-tier ever. It is pitiful.

Once your bow is tied - stand back, turn off the iron and the sewing machine and pat yourself on the back. YOU DID IT ladies!! Your Second Look is all done!

Congratulations!!! We actually finished up a day early, wahooo! I will post an album in the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook tomorrow morning so that you can upload your photos for a chance to win some BG patterns and a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads! This album is for completed photos only and you have until the following Sunday 10/12 to enter photos.

Thanks again ladies for another wonderful BG Sew Along! I hope you had fun and learned a few things along the road. :)

Peace out girlies - from the girl behind BG

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cricket Sew Along - Day 3, Second Look

Welcome back to day 3 girlies! For those of you that finished up the First Look yesterday I hope you are in love with your new Cricket and are back for more! For those of you just joining me - so glad you are here and can't wait to get started on the Second Look!

If you are joining me for the first time, check out these other 3 posts to catch up:
Today we are going to start on the Second Look.
 

The Second Look - once again, this is a Cricket dress with an elastic waist. However, this time we will be using the lining and the dress to create an elastic casing for the waist with a buttonhole to give access to the elastic to create a bow for the front of the dress. This version is ideal for voile, a lightweight cotton, knit and also quilters cotton - although the lighter the cotton the better. You can certainly use a poly crepe or rayon challis for this dress as well, but you would want to be sure to use a lightweight fabric for your bow as well as not to weigh the dress down too much. 

Main difference from the pattern - we will be adding length to the bottom of the lining to create the casing. We will also add a buttonhole to the front of the dress to allow for the bow on the front. So, don't cut your lining yet!

The other difference - I recommend adding a few inches to the bottom hem of the dress since you are now going to be pulling it in at the waist. There is a tutorial included in the pattern on how to add length to a curved hem. It is on page 28. Go ahead and mark it down in history that the girl behind BG is actually adding length to a dress FOR A SECOND TIME IN A WEEK. I have quite the reputation for my shorter dresses. ;) I think I added 3 or 4 inches for the 2 I did Lou, but the next one I make I may only add 2 since I prefer a dress above the knee.  

Extra materials needed
  • Elastic. I prefer to use 3/8" to 1/2" elastic and as I said before I am a slave to Stretch Rite. It really is the best elastic out there in my opinion. You will need about an inch less than your child's waist measurement. Now, this casing is going to be about 1.5" wide, but we need the elastic to be small enough to pull through a 1" buttonhole.
  • Fabric for the bow. Honestly, you can so pull this out of one of your scrap piles. Listen, it is okay. We all know we have them. I could probably clothe an entire city of American Girl dolls just from my scrap pile. Remember, when it comes to my sewing room I become a hoarder. But you will need a piece that is about 5-6" tall by about 40" wide (the bow I made was 5.5" tall by selvage width). 
Alrighty then - let's get started on our Second Look!

First we need to determine where the waist of our dress is going to be. The best thing to do is to measure your child to determine where it should be. If you have your kiddo handy - you get brownie points. However, since most of us sew while our children are either away or sleeping, we probably don't have a kiddo to measure. I winged it for the First Look and the odds were totally in my favor which made me super pumped. Since it worked then, I used the same for the Second Look. What you want to measure is from the underarm to where the waist should be. If you find yourself in my same predicament, you can also grab something out of their closet that has a dropped waist to determine best placement. My measurement is 5". Please don't get that mixed up with yours!

Once you have a measurement, grab the pattern piece for your dress front. I will have you create a new lining pattern piece here. Don't worry - you've totally got this and it isn't hard, but since we are lengthening the lining, I find it is easier to start from scratch. Measure down from the bottom of the arm curve the amount you measured for the waist. In my case, I measured down 5". Make a mark, which is the red dot.


Now, add 1" to your measurement and make another dot. For my example, I made a dot (yellow) at 6" as well.


Draw a line that is perpendicular to the fold at both of these measurements. The red line is your waist line and the yellow line will be where you will cut your lining. I promise this will all make sense soon.
 

 Guess what, you just drafted a new lining piece. See how awesome you are? Now what you want to do is to trace that piece (black dotted lines) on a new piece of tracing paper to use as the front lining piece. 


Now, repeat what you just did for the back dress piece as well to create a new lining piece for the back. A tip for a little time saving so you can get sewing before the kids get home/wake up/need your attention...to make the back lining piece, just place your back pattern piece over your front pattern piece lining up the shoulders and arm curves and just trace from the lines you made on the front piece. This ensures you cut both the exact same. :)

Once you have both the front and back lining pieces drafted, send me your resumes go ahead and cut your front and back lining with the new lining pieces. 


The biggest difference (besides the extra length) is that these lining pieces no longer have a curve to the bottom like they did on the original pattern. This is intentional. Promise. Now, if you have a fabric that is going to fray, go ahead and finish the bottoms of the lining. I used knit, so I am going to leave it be, plus I do a little house-cleaning later along the bottom, so you may want to read ahead to see if you want to finish it just yet. ;)

Once you have your lining pieces cut, we can focus on the rest of the cuts to make:
  • dress front and back - remember to add a bit of length to account for the elastic waist cinching the dress up higher.
  • sleeves - same as pattern (unless you are adding/removing length)
Now, to add that pretty bow to our Second Look, let's get on to the business of placing a buttonhole on the front of the dress. This is where you want to use your brain and pay attention. I am going to draw it out first so you have a visual before you go and start marking and buttonholing. :)

We are going to place a buttonhole (black line) centered over the waist (red line, my 5") but not reaching further than the lining piece (the yellow line, my 6"). 


Clear as mud, right?

Good. Now, that we are all on the same page - let's measure out the spot for our buttonhole. I like to keep my front piece on the fold with right sides facing up. Measure over about 3" on your waist line and place a pin. Notice that I have the lines drawn on my dress front, those are just to demonstrate. Unless you have an awesome fabric marker that you know will come out - don't follow my example! I had Photoshop on my side. ;) Now, I placed my buttonhole at 4" over for this dress when I made it and I must admit I don't like how far over it is, so for the sew along I changed it to 3". However, this is where you get to play designer - do what you think looks best! Basically you want it off-centered on the front. :)


Once you have your buttonhole spot pinned, grab your machine's buttonhole foot. This buttonhole needs to be an inch at most. Since we will place it vertically on the waistline, you want it no taller than 1" or else you will run into trouble down the road when it comes to sewing your casing. So, set your buttonhole foot either by measuring out the guide at the top or by throwing a 1" button in the guide.


 Now, before we go making holes - let's do more work to mark the actual spot for the buttonhole. What you want to do is to make the exact spot of where your hole should be. Remember, my ruler says 4" away from the fold, but yall pretend like it is 3". You live and you learn when you sew!


 Place a pin at both the top and bottom of where you want your buttonhole to go. Make sure to center it on the waistline. So basically you should mark 1/2" above the waistline and then 1/2" below the waistline (the green marks) so that your 1" buttonhole is centered.


Now, take your dress over to the machine and stitch that buttonhole in place. If you feel your fabric needs some interfacing to bulk it up for this buttonhole, go for it! It certainly will not hurt. I have yet to add interfacing in the sewing room and regret it later. When in doubt, interface. Once stitched, place a pin through the top of the buttonhole and grab your seam ripper to open. If you are new to BG - one area I don't take a shortcut is when opening buttonholes. Please place a pin so you don't rip all the way through it! I have done it once and honestly watching my seam ripper laugh at me and the pins on my magnet taunting me saying "I told you so" was enough. Never again for the girl behind BG.


 Now, the front of your dress should look something like this. ;)


I was just looking back and feel silly that I have so many pictures for one small step, but then again - hopefully they all make sense. And we don't have wonky buttonholes! Oh and I don't want to type the word "buttonhole" again for a few days. Haaaa.

Now for a little construction. Carry on with dress construction just as you would in the pattern tutorial from pages 7-15. This has you attaching the lining and finishing off the neck and keyhole. Once finished and turned right side, take your dress to a flat surface and lay it lining side up. Take your time here and line up the lining front with the dress front all along the arm curves. Before we make the casing we HAVE to make sure that the lining is secure to the front. I place pins all along the bottom of the lining, up the sides and at the bottoms of the arm curves. Then, repeat with lining and dress back.


 Once you have the linings pinned in place to the dress front and back, place dress front and back right sides together just to make sure that your linings line up on the side. 


This is just an extra step to make sure that everything is meshing together. When we go to do the casing it is important that the front and back are on the same page if you know what I mean. Now, go ahead and baste stitch the lining to dress along the arm curve as shown on page 16 of the pattern. This will save your sanity down the road.

Place your Cricket front right sides up and put a pin through the top and the bottom of the buttonhole (green lines below). Make sure the pin goes through the lining. We are going to flip the dress over and use this as a guide in just a bit.


Flip the dress over so that the front lining is facing right sides up on your flat surface (PS - do you giggle as often as I do when I refer to a flat surface. I mean what IS that in a sewing room? Haaaa, anything flat is covered in hoopla at all times in my sewing room). You should be able to see where your buttonhole top and bottom is (green lines) by the pins. If not, flip over and pin again. You need these directional makers!


Now, we are going to use those marks to make our elastic casing lines. You are going to make 2 lines. One above the buttonhole and one below. Both of these lines need to be 1/4" off of the buttonhole marker. So, grab your ruler and a fabric marker (since this is on the lining, it wont show so honestly use whatever is handy that you can see to sew later) and make a line 1/4" above the buttonhole (purple) and 1/4" below the buttonhole (brown). Make sure those lines run parallel with the bottom of the lining. Also, I went ahead and added the red dashed line to mark our original waist line in case you were wondering where that came in to play.


This is what mine looks like on the inside without all of the photoshop lines. 




Okay - now that the front casing marked, it is time to mark the back casing. To mark the back lining you can totally measure and duplicate along the back. However, I feel it is a little easier and better to keep the same if you just make the marks for your back lining pieces from your front. To do so, place the dress front and back right sides together making sure to match up the arm curves and sides. When done, pinch the lining pieces together along the side as shown below and using the marks from the front lining piece, make marks on your back lining piece for both the top (purple) and bottom (brown) casing line.


 Make sure to mark both sides of the dress.


Once you have both elastic casing lines marked on each side of the back lining piece, all you need to do is connect the dots, la, la, la, la!


Okay ladies - you are past the hardest parts of the Second Look. Rock on girls. And honestly you probably see now how there are so many words for just a few steps. Hello, party of run my mouth too much here! Now, take your dress over to the sewing machine and stitch both lines of the casing on both the front and back lining/dress. Stitch all the way across as we will be inserting elastic from the sides.


Now for the housekeeping I was telling you about earlier. I ended up with about 1/2" of lining fabric below the casing. I decided to clip that close just to decrease the amount of extra fabric. Since I was sewing knit, there was no need to finish that edge - but if you wanted to clip and finish, you can do that as well.


We have had a very busy day so far - so let me get to a stopping point. The only thing left to do for the first day is to attach the sleeves. This will be done exactly as it is laid out in the pattern tutorial. However, STOP before you go to sew the underneath of the sleeve and the side seams (middle of page 19). We will need to insert elastic into the casing before you go stitching the sides. So, just attach the sleeves but leave those side seams open...until tomorrow my dearys!


Have questions, want to share pics or get opinions? Post to the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook. I promise that today I will pay attention to the right group to look for questions. Haaaa!
Same place, same time tomorrow ladies to continue working on the Second Look!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cricket Sew Along - Day 2, First Look

Welcome back ladies - hope you are all fresh-faced and bright-eyed! Today we are going to work on finishing up the First Look of the elastic waist-ed Cricket dress.We don't have as much work today, so feel free to finish your first and start another! Louisa has already requested many more of these for her wardrobe!

If you are just now joining us, check out these other 2 posts to catch up:

Yesterday we left off after construction of the bodice. Your homework was to attach the sleeves. Now we are back with sleeves on and ready to go! You should have the sleeves completed (cuffs attached) and side seams sewn. So, let's start from there!

First, grab the elastic. You want to cut the elastic 1" less than your child's waist measurement. In my case, Lou's waist is 21". So, I cut my piece of elastic at 20". As with my patterns, when I am using measurements please don't confuse mine with yours. I just find it is easier to instruct with actual numbers.


Then, you want to divide the elastic into 4ths and make marks. All those allergic to math, don't stress out. This is the hardest it gets. So, for me I am going to make a mark at 5", 10" and 15".


 Those quarter marks will be our very best friends when we go to sew the elastic to the dress. Promise. You will love them so much you will forgive me for making you think fractions. :)

Okay, put your elastic aside and bring your dress over to a flat surface with wrong sides facing out. Here you will see the white line that I made yesterday for the waist. Now, for the last of the division. You want to measure along the waist line you drew and divide it in half. Mine measured at 14", 


 so I will make a mark on my waist line at 7.5". Flip the dress over and do this for the other side of the dress as well. 


All of these marks are about to make sense. I promise. What you will do is start your elastic along a side seam. Then, you will stretch the elastic along the waist line you made so that the first mark  on your elastic lines up with the center of your dress (front or back). Then, still stretching, the halfway mark on your elastic should line up with the other side seam and then the last mark on your elastic should hit the halfway mark on your waistline on the other side of your dress. I don't know if it is because I am up late with the Crickets (heeeeee, I couldn't help myself) or what, but that sounds way more confusing than it is. Trust me.

 Okay, now it is go time! Take your elastic and your dress over to the sewing machine. You will be sewing on the WRONG side of the dress, and make sure that you are not sewing the front to the back of your dress. That would not be fun. Start your elastic on one of the side seams. Stitch it in place with just a few stitches so that it stays in place. I recommend using a zig-zag stitch to sew the elastic so that the stitch has some stretch with the elastic.

THIS IS WHEN YOU NEED TO HOLD YOUR MOUTH JUST RIGHT. Trust me.

Once the beginning of your elastic is secured to the dress at a side seam, you want to pull the elastic so that the first mark on your elastic matches with the halfway of your dress front or back. In my case, my 5" mark on the elastic will be stretched to meet the 7.5" mark on the waistband of my dress.


Then, you want to stitch the elastic as you stretch it to the dress using a zig-zag stitch. As I said, hold your mouth just right and take your time. You are so close to being done but trust me when I tell you that you don't want to have to use the seam ripper on zig-zag and elastic. What I usually do is hold the elastic behind my presser foot to give it some tension with my left hand. Then I hold my elastic stretched to the correct point with my right hand and sort of sandwich the dress between my fingers so that I know I only have one layer being sewn. Clearly my left hand is taking the photo here, but this gives you an idea of how I roll. 


Once you get to the first mark on your elastic, place your needle in the down position and then reconfigure the fabric so that the halfway mark of your elastic will now be stretched to meet the other side seam. Remember to keep the elastic on the line you drew for the waist. Once there, again drop your needle down and regroup to stretch and sew to the next mark and so on. You will do this until your elastic comes back around to where you began. Continue to stitch the elastic down with the zig-zag stitch until it is all in place.


Guess what ladies...you have so done it. It is almost time to turn that dress right side out and admire your new creation. But first, let's get that hem done. Sadly for me (with this fabric) the hem was the part that made me say the most bad words. But honestly, if you have a thinner fabric, do yourself a favor and grab the interfacing to line the hem with as shown on page 23 of the pattern. I would not have survived had it not been for interfacing on this dress!

Once hemmed, you are at your last and final step! This step also happens to be my fave, the button! You will place your button the same way you would in the pattern, so I won't go in to too much detail here. However, I was thinking about something as I looked at this picture.


That button came from one of my many trips to my fave antique store. Since I bought the buttons while I was there and used them for my business - I can write off the rest of my purchases there, right? I mean all the furniture and pieces I come home with, they are accessories to the purchase crime right? Haaaaaa. Gosh, don't I wish!

Okay girls - you are done. And I cannot wait to see what you create! I will be back here tomorrow to go over the Second Look of the Cricket with elastic waistband. I would love to see you back! And remember, keep watching for the album to show up in the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook so that you can upload your photos for a chance to win some BG patterns and a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads! The album will be created on Friday and you have until the following Sunday 10/12 to enter your photos!

Peace out ladies - see you tomorrow to start on this one right here!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Cricket Sew Along - Day 1, First Look

Welcome, welcome, welcome ladies to the Cricket Sew Along. Here I will show you 2 ways to add an elastic waistband to your Cricket dress to give it an added bit of style and versatility! If you are just now joining us, check out this post to give you all the details you ever wanted on the sew along, well at least I hope so...I've been feeling a bit disorganized lately in my attempts to be less Type A. Hehe.

If you are here today and ready to sew - let's get started!

Today we are here for the First Look (excuse the promotional hoopla on my photos).


The First Look - elastic waist Cricket with elastic sewn to the actual dress. Ideal for voile, knit, lightweight cotton, polyester and rayon challis. This would probably work with a quilter's cotton as well, but it may not cinch at the waist as well as a fabric with a little more "give" to it would. A little something I learned along the way...the harder a fabric is to deal with (meaning the more it slips, slides, moves, pokes your eyeballs, stretches, rolls, etc) the better it will drape for Cricket. Seriously, so it will be worth it in the end. Promise.

Main difference from pattern - there is no lining to be cut. Instead we will be using a facing. This gives the bodice a bit more give for when you attach the elastic to the fabric. If you did this method with a lining it wouldn't gather as much and lay right. Clear as mud, right?

The other difference - I recommend adding a few inches to the bottom hem of the dress since you are now going to be pulling it in at the waist. There is a tutorial included in the pattern on how to add length to a curved hem. It is on page 28. Go ahead and mark it down in history that the girl behind BG is actually adding length to a dress. I have quite the reputation for my shorter dresses. ;) I think I added 3 or 4 inches for the 2 I did Lou, but the next one I make I may only add 2 since I prefer a dress above the knee. 

Extra materials needed: elastic. I prefer to use 3/8" to 1/2" elastic and as I said before I am a slave to Stretch Rite. It really is the best elastic out there in my opinion. You will be cutting this about an inch less than your child's waist measurement.

Now, let us get down to business on this Monday morning. Hope you've got your coffee and good tunes ready!


Cutting:
  • Dress front and back - same as you would with pattern but add a few inches to the hem as the cinched waist will pull it up a bit.
  • Sleeves - same, unless you want to do a 3/4 sleeve and the tutorial for that is in the back of the pattern.
  • Ignore the lining pieces, and instead use the interfacing piece to cut 2 of each for front and back. One will be cut for the front and back out of the fabric (this is what I will refer to as the facing), and one will be cut for the front and back from the interfacing material. For the facing, go ahead and cut on the dotted line for the keyhole. I promise this makes sense if you are looking at the tutorial as well, if not - you may think I am speaking tongues. It is late...and that is possible. :)

First things first - let's attach the interfacing to the facing. All of the rules of interfacing from page 7 of the tutorial apply. I have found with interfacing that you have to have a DRY iron. I have the most wonderful steam iron, but it leaks (guessing she has pelvic floor issues as well, us mommas can relate!) so I have another iron that I use for a dry iron. Iron the interfacing (the bumpy side is usually the fusible side) to the WRONG side of your facing.

Once the interfacing is fused to your facing pieces, finish the outer edges of the facing. Even though I waited to do this once my interfacing was here to help bulk my material, I still cheated and used pinking shears. Yall, this fabric and my serger are NOT friends. In fact, I must keep them on opposite sides of the lunchroom or else all you know what breaks loose. But finish those outer edges (outlined in white) however you please. 


Now, run a basting stitch (yellow line below) to attach the interfacing to the facing. Although it is fusible, it will eventually come undone. And I have had it come undone while I was sewing before and it wasn't a whole belly of fun, so run that stitch. And please sew better than this girl draws with a mouse. Oops!


Once basted, place your facings right sides together matching up the shoulder seams. Then stitch the shoulder seams as shown by the yellow lines below.


 Then, take over to your iron and press those seams out flat. 


Now, set your facing aside for just a bit. Grab your front and back dress pieces. Before we sew them together we are going to work on marking the waist for the elastic.

Now, the best thing to do is to measure your child to determine where the waist should be. I had totally planned on doing this, but my child was in school and I was sewing away and not in the mood to stop, so I ended up winging this measurement. The odds were totally in my favor, which never happens, but I was so thankful. But what you want to measure is from the underarm to where the waist should be. If you find yourself in my same predicament, you can also grab something out of their closet that has a dropped waist to determine best placement.

I went with the lucky number 5". I will refer to my measurement here but please don't get it mixed up with your own! So, what you want to do is to lay either your front dress piece wrong sides up on a flat surface. Measure from the bottom of the arm curve down the dress however much you need and make a mark on the side. In my case, I measured down 5". Do this on both sides.


Now, connect the two marks on each side to form a line across the dress front. For this, use a fabric marker or whatever you use to mark your fabrics. You want to be able to see it later when you go to add the elastic. So, if your fabric marker fades - you may want to grab a backup marker.


Once you have marked your waist line, repeat the previous steps for the back piece. Measure carefully and please, please, please make sure your waist lines line up on both the front and back.

Now, place your front and back dress pieces right sides together, matching the arms and the shoulder seams and stitch across the top at the shoulders as shown below in yellow (note my waist line is still there).


Once stitched, take to the iron and press those seams open. Before we go any further, we must stay stitch. Especially if you are using a fabric that moves and shakes as much as mine. I didn't stay stitch the first time and i actually had to re-cut pieces to make them all fit together. It was a disaster. So, just like on page 10 of the tutorial, stay stitch the necks of both your dress and facing pieces.

Once those necks are stay stitched, it is now time to place the facing and dress right sides together matching up the shoulder seams and neck lines. Pin like your life depends on it. As I stated in the tutorial, this step is much easier if you have a dress form or sleeve ham to drape it over to work. Once you have it all lined up and pinned, take over to the machine and stitch a circle along the neckline, following the yellow lines.


Just as in the tutorial, we are only sewing the neckline right now. Once you have the neckline stitched together, let us turn our focus to the keyhole and elastic button loop. It is no secret that the girl behind BG is a nut for a button. I put them on almost every pattern I can. And one of my fave ways is to use an elastic loop for closure for the button. Now, let me tell you something else the girl behind BG is a nut for. Shoes. I love shoes. And thankfully one brilliant blogger (I wish I could remember who it was so I can give her credit) showed me that my love for shoes and love for elastic button loops can totally be made purposeful. You know when you buy shoes at Target they come tied together with elastic, well ladies with a shoe habit...let that work in your favor. I now save that elastic (I am such a hoarder when it comes to my sewing room) to use for button loops. I haven't bought skinny elastic in years. Granted, I would probably come out cheaper just buying elastic, but that clearly is not the point here. I have also found that things go much smoother if I tie my piece of elastic in knot on one end as shown below. 


Methods to the madness. For me, it helps the elastic loop stay in place better when going to sew the keyhole. Running right alongside the tutorial on page 12 (meaning I won't put too many details here since it is the same as the pattern) place your elastic loop between the facing and dress. The main difference here is that we don't have a lining layer to contend with. See how the knot keeps the loop in place, and makes it easier to hold? I drew the shadow of the loop in grey just to help give a visual of where it is between the layers.


Now, sew along the keyhole opening (yellow line) just as you would on page 13. I should be fired due to my poor mouse-drawing skills. Wowsers.


Once the keyhole is sewn, clip your curves and keyhole like a madwoman would as shown on page 14. Flip the neckline right sides out and head over to the iron and steam the snot out of it all. Can you tell I was working with a fabric that made me angry? Haha.


Now, something a little different to do to get your facing to lie down flat. I did not want to top-stitch this fabric along the neck as I would have done with any other fabric. I saw the potential for a major temper tantrum and steered myself far away. So if you decide to forgo the top-stitch as well, this is a great trick to keep that facing in place. Once the neckline is turned right sides out and pressed, line up the shoulder seams of the dress and facing. Pin them in place.


Once pinned, take to the machine and stitch the facing to the dress by stitching in the ditch along the top of the dress shoulder seam as shown by the yellow dotted line below.


Now that the facing and dress are stitched together (you can still top-stitch all around the neck and keyhole if you like, totally up to you!) let's get those sleeves ready. Sleeve construction is no different here than in the pattern, so I will let you roll with the pattern on that one. I will admit with no problem I totally used the cheater method for this fabric. I don't think my eyeballs would have survived the poking from the other method. Haaaa! Go ahead and attach the sleeves and sew up the bottom of the sleeves and side seams of the dress. If you are using the real method of sleeve cuffs, stop at the bottom of page 22. If you used the cheater method, come sit by me and then stop after you have sewn the sleeve and side seams. :)

We did a lot today. So, I think it is a good time to stick a fork in ourselves for the day and come back fresh-faced and wide-eyed tomorrow for finishing this Cricket!

Have questions, want to share pics or get opinions? Post to the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook. I cannot wait to stalk it later today to see what all we have going on!

Same place, same time tomorrow ladies to finish up the First Look of the elastic waist Cricket!