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!
- 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!