Thursday, January 16, 2014

pepper dress to coat sew along - day 2, pocket, skirt and trim construction

just a warning - it is late and my brain has already gone to bed so excuse any nonsense that may occur after this sentence. i was supposed to do this while nash was at school today but i got too focused on the sleepy jean upsize. oops. so now with 2 large helpings of macaroni and cheese and the kids in bed i am trying my very bestest to focus. ;)

so, day 2. here we go! if you are just now joining us, check out the info on the sew along here, and day 1 progress here.

without delay, let's get started! now that we have our bodices and sleeves constructed, let's turn our attention to the skirt and pocket portion of our coat. first up - cutting of the skirt pieces. you see, in the dress pattern we gather the skirt in the round to fit the circumference of the bodice. here, we will basically think of it as 3 sides: the front right, back and the front left. so, first things first, let's separate our skirts into 3's. take ONE of your skirt rectangles and cut it in half width-wise. the easiest way to do this is to fold it in half width-wise and cut up the fold.

to bring math into it, maybe to help out, i am working on a size 4. (let's just focus on the outer fabric right now.) i have 2 rectangles that are 12.5" long (remember i took 2" off) by 34" wide. i am going to take ONE of these rectangles and cut it in half so that i now have 2 that are 12.5" tall by 17" wide and then i also have my original rectangle that is 12.5" tall by 34" wide. this is where you will see what i mean by 3's. the widest is the back,  and the 2 i just cut are the front left and front right. clear as mud? good. now do the same thing with your inner fabric. once finished you should have 6 rectangles total. 

now that is out of the way, set your inner skirt pieces aside and grab you outer skirt pieces and pockets. let's start with your front 2 pieces. lay them right sides up on a flat surface and grab 2 of your pockets and place them about 1.5-2" down from the top as shown below. i have used 1.5". pin these in place and then take over to the sewing machine and with a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the pocket to the skirt as shown by the dotted line. using a smaller seam allowance helps the pocket to remain hidden inseam. that is our fancy pants for today. :) if you do not want to do pockets - skip on down a few steps and continue with the construction of the skirt panels.

now, do the same with the other 2 pockets and the back panel of your skirt. make sure that you use the same distance to place your pockets from the top as you did on the front 2 pieces, in my case, the 1.5". also, don't forget that 1/4" seam allowance!

take all 3 skirt panels to the ironing board and with right sides facing up, iron those pockets out to the side as shown below. now, if you are doing inseam pockets for your inner fabric as well, repeat these previous steps for the inner.

construction of skirt panels: (if you are not doing pockets, this is where you will pick up and instead of sewing around the pocket, just sew a straight side seam) place your back skirt panel right sides up on a flat surface. then, place your front panels on top right sides together matching up the sides and pockets and pin. then, sew with a 3/8" seam down the side seam and around the pocket as shown below. repeat with other side.

once again, no need to finish these seams as they will be enclosed. take over to the iron and press the seam and pockets toward the front panel.

you have now constructed the outer skirt for your coat. repeat all of the steps above with your inner fabric. it was at this point when i started to have flash backs of my assembly-line sewing in the earlier days of BG. :)

okie. now let's focus on finishing the bodice construction so we can get that skirt attached. lay one of the bodices you completed yesterday (i have now photographed the inner fabric for mine, don't let that throw you off) on a flat surface right sides together. match up the underarm, sleeves and sides and pin in place. sew from the sleeve opening to the underarm and down the side with a 3/8" seam allowance. now, remember how we went ahead and "hemmed" the sleeves? to sew around that hem, we will open the pressed fold and sew through it - see below.

see how i pinch open the fold here?

 and again, pinching it open while i sew. this will all make sense later, pinky promise!

again, no need to finish seams but do take over the iron and press them out. when finished, one of your bodices should look like this. from left, front panel, back and then front panel. repeat these same steps with your other bodice. it is now time to work on gathering that skirt to attach. eeeeeeks!

lay one of your skirt panels on a flat surface. you are going to sew a gathering stitch along the top of the skirt panel. make sure you have the top and not the bottom. someone i know was too busy harmonizing with the indigo girls and gathered the wrong edge only to have to rip later. oops. just as sweet brown said, "aint nobody got time for that." start about 1/2" in from one of the front panels, run the stitch all the way across that one, through the back panel and then across the other front panel ending about 1/2" from the raw edge. if you are unfamiliar with gathering, please see the glossary at the end of the pattern for more instructions.

now, remember how i told you earlier that i would rather poke eyeballs than gather in the round? well, 'tis true and if you feel the same you are about to get excited. we are about to gather to an open panel. yay, the clouds just split and i heard the singing too. :)

this is the best way i have found to do this. place your bodice right sides up on a flat surface opening it as much as it allows (since the side seams are sewn up). now, place your skirt panel right sides together with the top (where you made your gathering stitch) matching up with the bottom raw edge of the bodice. match up the 2 sides seams of the bodice with the side seams of the skirt panel and pin in place.

okay, work that gathering stitch (you may have to remove the pins to gather it beyond) so that your skirt panel fits the bodice. make sure to keep all of your side seams aligned. it would be tragic to have a wonky side seam after all of your hard work! as you gather, pin in place. then take over to the machine and sew along that edge. i will usually use a 1/2" seam allowance here. you are welcome to do the same, i just find that it makes the gathers look a bit neater. however, you are certainly allowed to do a 3/8" as well. either will work fine!

now, for good measures, once your skirt panel is sewn to your bodice, remove that gathering stitch. i know, moan and groan, but yall this is one of those steps that i find really helpful although not seen. methods to my madness. and speaking of methods, although this seam will never be seen, i like to finish it. it gets quite bulky if not, so just run a finishing along this seam however you prefer. then, take over to the iron and press that seam up towards the bodice. this is personally one of my fave steps. there is something about seeing all those pretty gathers all lined up that makes me giddy! now, totally up to you here about top-stitching that seam. i am a top-stitcher at heart, but i chose not to in this instance. so, your choice! now, repeat all of those steps with your other bodice and skirt.

 time to turn our attention to the beautiful piece of trim that goes around the bodice. oh i swoon! on the dress the trim is only on the bodice portion. however, i found on the coat since the front panel opens that it would be fantabulous to make it extend all the way to the bottom. so, measure one of the finished coats from the bottom of the skirt portion, up along the curved bodice, around the neck and down the other front bodice as shown by the dotted line below.

now, reference page 9 in the pattern tutorial for further instruction on your trim. since this coat is reversible, the trim you choose will show on both sides. because of this, i decided to use a piece of cream knit to ruffle. since knit wont fray, i left the edge raw and it gives a nice, soft detail to the coat. plus, it was easy. let's be honest here. ;) since i am ruffling my trim, i took my measurement from above and multiplied it by 1.5 just as in the pattern. thankfully i was lucky enough that it fell into the fabric width of my knit so i just cut a long strip that was about 1" (since it is knit, there is no need for me to fold over lengthwise as shown with a woven in the pattern) wide and then ran a gathering stitch along the edge. i didn't go into much detail here because it is all laid out in the pattern and i didn't want to be too redundant.

now, you can start your trim either at the bottom of the skirt or at the top of your squared bodice (what i chose), but make sure to taper your trim just as i discussed on page 10. see below how i taper it off just a bit? this is important in reducing the bulk of your seams.

note - i added this later as i woke in the middle of the night afraid that someone may put the trim on the wrong part of the bodice. the trim goes on the front bodice piece that has the curved edge. okay, back to bed.

tapering along the bottom skirt edge as well.

 pin that trim in place and then baste to your coat panel with a 1/4" seam allowance so it stays in place but we wont have to worry about that seam being exposed later. :)

if you want to do button tabs, now is the time to do so. reference page 22 in the pattern tutorial and follow the same steps. however, since we will sew the 2 coat panels together, go ahead and sew your buttons to the tabs (page 29) now since it is crazy easier to go ahead and do so before we get it all stitched up. trust me said the girl who didn't.

okay ladies - enough work for today. but if you are like me you are like, "NO lady! let's keep going!!" i am not a fan of interrupted time in my sewing room. i am also the mother of young children, so we all know how well that works. haha. 

tomorrow we are going to come back and actually finish up our coats! i cannot WAIT to see what you ladies have cooking in your sewing rooms - share some pics on the brownie-goose lovers page! also, if you get stuck - holler on this page as we can hopefully all help each other out.

off to bed i go. sooooo sleepy!

xoxo - amy

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