Welcome, welcome everyone to day 1 of the Peter Pan Lennon SAL. This is going to be a super fun week where I will not only show you an alternate collar and skirt (for the dress) to put on your Lennon, but also how to make the dress and blouse sleeveless so that your little can wear her Lennon all year long!
Okay great. Let us begin! If you are just now joining in, check out this blog post that tells all about the sew along and info for a GIVEAWAY!! For the first day, I will go over collar construction and then the alteration needed to take your Lennon from having sleeves to not. It's like magic. Both of the items we discuss today will be used for both the dress and blouse construction, so I figured it best to start there!
First off, you need the collar pieces. Click here for a FREE download of all of the sizes of the Peter Pan collar for Lennon. *IMPORTANT!! The size 6 is on page 4 in blue, it says size 9 but the size got flipped upside down. There is no size 9 Lennon.*
A little word about interfacing and collars. It is kinda a necessity. For this sew along, I have used a lightweight fusible Pellon interfacing. It is probably one of my more favorite staples to keep in my sewing room. I use it for many things. I prefer to put the interfacing on the top of my collar, meaning if you are looking at the dress, the part of the collar you see is the top. The side underneath that faces the dress is the bottom side. Little vocab lesson for you there. I find it is so much easier to just iron a rectangle of interfacing to the WRONG side of your fabric you are using for your top collar and cut it out later than to try and cut shapes into your interfacing. So, as you will see in the photo below I have my interfacing on the wrong side of my top collar fabric. Make sure to line up the grain line on the pattern with your fabric or you might wind up with a hot mess. Also, take care to cut 2 sets mirror image. Since I am using a solid I can cheat in case I cut wrong, but if you have a printed piece of fabric your faux pas would be much more obvious!
Now, with all of that said...cut your 4 collar pieces along the pattern line.
Okay, so this step may seem a bit silly, but trust me when I say it helps to give your collar a very professional and finished look. Take the 2 BOTTOM collar pieces and cut about 1/8" off from the outer edges. Below, the dotted line shows where I will cut. This doesn't have to be rocket science, but you do want it fairly consistent. Make sure to not that you will NOT be cutting off from the inside of the collar.
This step helps to keep the seam of the collar on the bottom, so that it isn't seen. It is an old trick of the trade and it creates an almost "roll" quality to the edge of the collar so that your seam is hidden. Let me take a second to warn you though, if you are using piping or any other decorative touch along the seam of the collar, don't do this step. The roll effect doesn't work so well with decorative trims!
Now, place your top collar pieces on a flat surface right sides facing up. Then, place the bottom collar pieces on the top pieces RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER making sure to line them up along the inner collar (the side you didn't cut). Pin these in place and you will sew with a 3/8" seam allowance from the TOP collar all along the outer sides as shown below. The outer edge is shown in darker blue as it is the top collar which is 1/8" larger on the sides than the bottom. Sew from that edge. I also like to place a pin in the front of the collar (black line below to right in the photo) so that I don't get my collar mixed up and backwards down the road!
Repeat with the other half of the collar and then trim around the outer curves where you just stitched. In my personal opinion, pinking shears are the best for this part of the job. Get as close as you can to the stitching line without cutting into it. Notice how I have pins in the fronts of both? Paranoia maybe, but then again, I have been burned before making a dress and having the collar backwards and wonky.
Now, flip the collar right side out and head over to the ironing board and press and press and press. Your goal here is to make those collars be as crisp as they can be!
I am sure I took this picture for a reason, but right now I cannot remember it but it makes me giggle especially after I busted myself out about paranoia on marking the fronts of my collar. Ha!!
And with that, the collar construction is done. You can top-stitch along the outer edges if you want, but I prefer the look of a collar without the stitching. But you know, it takes every kind of people!!
Set your collars aside in a safe place (i.e. somewhere that they won't go missing, and if your sewing room looks like mine then you could easily hide a Yeti in there too!) and let's turn our attention to the alterations that we need to do to convert the dress/blouse from having sleeves to sleeveless.
To explain a little method behind the madness, most patterns with an inset sleeve will have a longer armscye (armhole or arm curve as I also will call it) to account for more movement when the sleeve is in place. Basically, dropping the underarm curve down will allow the person wearing the garment more room in the underarms to move around. Well, when you don't have sleeves, that extra space leaves a gap that gives a peek into a dress/blouse in an area that it isn't really wanted. So, the easiest way to fix that is by shortening the armscye which is what I am about to show you. I promise it is way easy!
Lay either the front or back (we will do it to both so it doesn't matter where you start) bodice piece for the dress OR blouse on a flat surface.
Measure up about 1/2" (or more or less, this is a good time to check the placement on your little one) from the bottom of the arm curve.
Now, with that higher point, you want to draw the new armscye to that point. The Lennon armscye is an easy one for this, basically trace the original curve down and then bring it over to meet your newer point as shown below in blue. The gray dotted line is the bottom of your OLD armscye.
Clear as mud, right? Honestly this is really an easy fix that you can use with about any pattern. Now, once your new curve is drawn, you want to mimic it on the other bodice piece. Lucky for us, the Lennon is drafted with the same armscye for the front and back. So, the easiest way to do this is to lay the other pattern piece over the one you just altered, lining up the shoulder seams and armscyes and trace out the new curve. I tried to take a picture of this but it was a big ole disaster with too many lines.
Enough work for today. Consider this our "light" day for the SAL. :) Starting tomorrow, I will be going over the dress. For the dress I will be showing you how to line the bodice completely (no facing) and we will be sandwiching an invisible zipper between the bodice fabric and lining. It will be gorgeous. And ladies...I can hear some of your hesitation already, and I beg....PLEASE don't fear the zipper! This year one of my goals for BG is to get everyone (myself included) out of their comfort zones in the sewing room. I tend to sew with the same methods over and again, but this year I am working to challenge myself to new (well, not really new since I learned them years ago...but just haven't taken them off the shelf and dusted them) things, and guess what - I am dragging y'all with me. :) Who's excited!?
At the end of the dress sew along, you will have something that resembles this in the front...(a little behind the scenes, Nash, my "photography assistant," which is basically what I tell him to keep him from photo-bombing every BG shoot, was making toot noises. I am afraid I was giggling too as I missed focus on most of these! Never too old for potty humor)
and this gorgeousness in the back.
And guess what? We will all pat ourselves on the backs and under our breath we will say, "Oh, the zipper was nothing to be afraid of!" Promise.
So, the first few days this week let us work on taking the sleeves off our dress, putting in a peter pan collar instead of our bias rolled collar and adding a gathered skirt to the bottom instead of the pleated version I show in the pattern.
How about a good night's sleep and I will see you back in the morning!
xoxo - Amy