Friday, March 20, 2015

Peter Pan Lennon SAL - day 4

Okay ladies - welcome to the last day of the sew along! We have already gotten our dresses done, gotten over our fear of zippers and are now ready to conquer the blouse version! PS - a special shout out to my talented friend Sarah of Cali Faye Collection for the Tulip Shorts. My Lou loves these in the summer!

If you are just now joining in, check out these links from the week:

Today we are working on the blouse. I will be showing you how to attach the collar and also make your blouse sleeveless by adding a lining instead of a facing. If you want to do the blouse version with sleeves as the traditional Lennon, all you need to do is to swap out the rolled collar of the pattern with the peter pan style (construction details on day 1) and go from there. So, on this post I will be focusing only on the construction of the sleeveless version.  

Let's get started! First things first, since we are making this blouse sleeveless we need to construct a lining for it. This is simple, and just a matter of making a few different marks on the pattern pieces that you altered the armscyes on day 1. 

I know I just said this, but here we go again. MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING THE ALTERED ARMSCYE from the first day so that you don't wind up with a gapping underarm. Phew, now I feel better. Lay one of your blouse pieces (it doesn't matter front or back) on a flat surface. From the bottom of the arm curve, measure down 3" and make a mark as shown below.  

 We are going to use this 3" mark as a guide to draft our lining piece. Using a french curve or whatever you use to draw curves with, make a curved line from the side of the bodice to either the fold (if you are on the front) or the back center (if you are using the back piece) from that 3" mark. Below I am using one of my french curves.

 See how I made a curved line from the 3" mark. You want the lining to curve across at the bottom like this because it helps it to stay in place better than if it was just straight across.

 Now, place the other blouse pattern piece over the one you just drafted the lining piece for, making sure to match up shoulder seams and armscyes and trace the lining for that piece as well. See, that was way easy, right?

Now, to cut our fabric. For the sleeveless blouse you want to make these cuts:
  • front - one on fold
  • back - one set of mirror images
  • front lining - one on fold
  • back lining - one set of mirror images

On to construction. Place the front blouse on a flat surface and place the back pieces right sides together matching up the shoulder seams. Sew across at the shoulders (the seam allowance for this SAL is the same as the pattern, 3/8" unless otherwise noted) and then take to the iron and press those seams out.

 Now, do the same for the lining pieces. Also, with the lining pieces, finish off the bottom curved edges of both the front and back.

Set the lining aside for the moment and fold your blouse in half in the front so that you can find the center of the front piece. I usually will just do a finger press for this mark, but you can also mark the center with a pin. For the SAL, I have it marked with a blue line as shown below. This center will help us with our collar placement.

 Now, grab your collar pieces you constructed on day 1. You are going to place them on the neckline, with the front overlapping the center of your blouse by about 1/8". I have more photos of this process on day 2 if you need to reference that. I just didn't want to be too repetitive. This overlap in the collar will not show once our neck seam is sewn, but it will give the collar a nice finished look with it just matching up. Since the collar halves will overlap the center, they will also overlap each other just a bit as shown below. Make sure you have the right side of your collar facing up (meaning the underside or wrong side of the collar is facing the right side of the blouse) and that the front of your collar is truly in the front. Remember on day 1 when I was all paranoid about marking collars and putting them on the right way? Well, guess who put one of her collar halves on backwards when making this blouse? Ugh. And I didn't realize it until it was too late. See, my paranoia is for a reason. Once you are happy with collar placement, pin along the neckline and take to your machine and baste in place along the neck with a 1/4" seam.

 Now, place your lining pieces right sides together with the blouse matching up the shoulder seams, back centers and sides as shown below. Sew together along the neckline as shown by the black dotted line.

Once your neck is stitched, clip the curves. I am sorry to swap out photos on you, but I apparently forgot to photograph these next few steps with the blouse. Be careful clipping your curves and make sure you don't clip through the seam. This helps to decrease the bulk in the seam and also helps give the fabric ease so the neckline can curve gracefully.

Now that the curve is clipped, flip the blouse right sides out along the neck. Head over to the iron and press the seam you just stitched toward the lining. Just as on page 15 in the pattern, we are going to understitch the seam to the lining. Again, I have more photos on day 2 of this step if you need extra reference. Understitching the seam to the lining helps to keep the lining on the inside and also pulls down on the collar so that it creates a beautiful roll around the neckline. Stitch the seam to the lining with a 1/4" seam allowance all along the neckline as shown by the red dotted line below.

Once you have understitched, flip the blouse wrong sides out again and this time match up the arm curves of each side. This gets a bit tricky since you have the neck stitched, but you can do it! Once you have the arm curves pinned together, take over to the machine and stitch as shown in the photo below.

 Now, clip the curves on your arm curves making sure not to clip through the seam.

 Bring your blouse over to the ironing board, flip it right sides out and press along the arm curves and also the collar. I do not like to press my collar down onto the blouse personally, I like to flip the collar up and press the under side as shown below. In my opinion you worked too hard for that collar roll to press it down!!

 Okay. Head back over to a flat surface where we will now begin work on the back. You are going to finish your back center seams on the blouse and the lining. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT sew the lining pieces to the bodice. It doesn't work that way. So, thankfully I took 3,219 pictures for you. :)

 The easiest way to explain it is that for finishing, I am going to serge the back center starting at the bottom of my blouse, heading up along the blouse back, over the neckline seam and then down the lining. Instead of finishing these two together, you are finishing them as one large piece. Does that make sense?

 Here I am at my serger. I have already gone up the back part of the blouse and am about to serge over the neckline seam and down the lining. 

I will be honest, this makes more sense when you are sewing than with me telling you. Promise. Once you have finished one side, it will look like this.

 Here is a close-up of the blouse and lining separate with the neckline seam finished as well.

Once you have done one side, head over and do the same for the other back center of the blouse and lining.

Okay, now we are going to close up the backs, leaving a slit opening at the top just as we did in the pattern. Lay your blouse on a flat surface matching the back centers (the ones you just finished) for the blouse only. We are not including the lining right now, so make sure to flip that up to the side. 

With the blouse backs facing right sides together, you want to measure down from the neckline seam according to the chart on page 21 of the pattern. I am doing a size 4, so I am going to measure down 5" from the neckline seam. Using a sewing marker or a pin, make a mark according to the measurements. Once you have your mark, you are going to sew the back blouse pieces together from that mark down to the bottom of your blouse as shown by the gray dotted line below. I like to reinforce the stitch where it begins at the mark. Since this will be the main area that may get abuse going over your little one's head, you want it strong. My kids have big heads, we need all the reinforcements we can get!

 Now, do the same exact thing with the back lining pieces as shown below.

 Head over to the ironing board and press those seams out.

 As you get to the part of the back seam that wasn't sewn (above your mark) continue to press that fabric just as you did with the seam as shown below. Now sometimes this is tricky, and we are about to revisit this area, so just do the best you can.

 Now, flip your blouse right sides out and make sure to match up the center back seams of the blouse as shown below. You may want to have some pins handy as I like to pin along the center back seam to make sure the lining and blouse stay put and lined up while I am pressing the opening at the top.

 As I said, it sometimes gets tricky trying to press around the neckline seam and you may wind up with this when you flip it all right sides out. This is totally fine because now we are going to spend more time on this part in just a second anyways.

This slit  is going to be the part that remains open and will house our button and elastic loop for closure. So, you want it to look pretty. What I usually do is use the tip of my finger to help the fabric of the neckline seam tuck into the slit as shown below.

 Once you have the fabric all tucked in nice, press the snot out of this area. Seriously, you want it to look so nice and crisp.

Now, take your blouse over to a flat surface and place the back facing up. Do you see what I see?

 Gargamels. Ugh. This should not be what you see, but I sure see it here. Remember that paranoid lady from day 1 that went crazy marking the fronts of her collars so she didn't put them on backwards? Yeah, I remember her too. I can actually hear her tisk-tisking me right now. And I obviously didn't pay enough attention as I sewed one half on my collar on upside down and backwards. Ugh. But guess what ladies, I am here to show you that you can make lemonade in the sewing room. And that lemonade will be so sweet especially if you are not in the mood to rip seams. :) So, for my case, I will just have my button showing for the closure. You, however will not have this problem and your button placement will be under the collar. So, bear with me as I go squeeze my lemons.

 Okay, now for our elastic loop as we do on page 22 of the pattern. I am a hoarder of the black skinny elastic that kids shoes and sandals at Target come attached together with. Some people toss this, I hoard it because it comes in nice and handy at times like this!

Now, it doesn't matter if you put your elastic loop on the right or left side of your silt opening. I usually put my elastic on the left side for no other reason than that is just what I do, but today as I am making lemonade I am going for the right. You want to place your elastic loop between the blouse and lining in the slit you just so meticulously pressed. I will not go into detailed directions on the loop as it is already explained in the pattern.

 Once you have your loop placed, you want to take the blouse to the machine and top-stitch the slit opening as shown below with the black dotted lines.

Personally, I like to run another line of stitches beside the top-stitch at the top to secure the elastic one more time (see the second line of stitching below). This will be hidden by your collar anyways, and it is always good to know that elastic isn't going anywhere.

Okay, one last task for the back and then it is on to the sides. With your blouse back on a flat surface, feel around to determine where your lining is. I have shown the outline of the lining below in the yellow dashed line. I like to secure the bottom of the lining to the dress just as an extra measure to keep it in place. I don't know about you but it is a huge pet peeve of mine when I got to put a dress or shirt on and my head goes between the lining and the dress/shirt. It seems silly, but this step will take 2 seconds to get rid of that pet peeve. :)

Pin the lining to the blouse and go and run a short line of stitching along the back seam line of the blouse (this is called stitching in the ditch) to tack the lining and blouse together. Take your time for this stitch so that it isn't noticeable. I find printed fabrics are more forgiving, but you can also run a hand-tack stitch for this too.

Alrighty then. We are so close to being done! It is now time to focus on the side seams. This that infamous step I talked about in day 2, that is so much easier to do than for me to photograph and explain. Lay your blouse on a flat surface, lining up the sides with right sides together. In a nutshell, what you are going to do is open the sides up so that the lining pieces are right sides together and the blouse pieces are right sides together. The arrows below show how the lining piece will be lifted up and the bottom lining piece will then be lifted up the meet the other. Clear as mud, I'm sure.

Once it is all opened up, you should have something that looks like this. Your blouse pieces will be right sides together along the side as will your lining pieces, with the armhole seam between the two. Once you have this, pin the pieces together and take over to your sewing machine and stitch all the way along the blouse, through the armhole seam and down the lining. Finish that seam and then repeat with the other side of the blouse and lining.

 Once done, take over to the ironing board and press out the sides that you just joined. You should have a beautiful, finished arm seam. Notice the tub of Legos on the sewing room floor. Why my children prefer to play Legos on my big, chunky jute rug (the pieces get lost all the time) is beyond me! Another reason not to enter the sewing room without shoes on!

Okay - remember how we tacked down the lining in the back? Well, we are going to do the same thing for the sides. The yellow dotted line represents where the lining is under the blouse. Run a stitch along your side seam (the white line) to secure the lining to the blouse. This way we have it tacked in 3 places to hopefully avoid a head getting stuck in the middle. :)

You ladies are rocking. Head over to the pattern at the bottom of page 25 and follow the remaining instructions for the hem and back button placement and guess what!!??


This has been a busy week. I put a lot of information out there for you (and as I said...almost an entirely different pattern) with a lot of work and steps but I cannot wait to see what you do. I hope if nothing else you learned something this week. Maybe you stepped out of your comfort zone just a smidgen? How did that feel??

I will be starting an album in the brownie-goose lovers group on facebook later today for you to put pictures of your creations in for a chance to win some prizes! You have until 3/29 to enter your photos, and if you make more than one, PLEASE enter all of them! The more you enter, the better your chance at winning! I will pick 2 winners on 3/30 and each winner will receive 2 BG patterns of choice and a $25 gift card to Etsy. :)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such awesome customers and friends. I have been an absolute slave to BG for the last 3 weeks with this sew along and a new pattern release so I am going to take a little bit of time for R&R and to fix my house that exploded over the last few weeks and most enjoy some sunshine with these 2 hooligans.

Remember ladies, just keep sewing!!

xoxo - Amy

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Peter Pan Lennon SAL - day 3

Hello again to all my geese! Welcome back for day 3 where we will finish up our beautiful dress! If you are just now joining me, click these links to catch up:
Yesterday we got the bodice put together and ready for the skirt and zipper, which are the tasks ahead for the day!

First let's measure out our bodice to cut the skirt pieces. Place your bodice on a flat surface and have it where both side seams are on the side (duh). Since the zipper has not been installed, the back pieces will overlap just a smidgen. Measure across the front bodice from one side seam to the other. In my case, I get 12". Jot down this number somewhere where you won't forget it.

Now flip the bodice over and measure from the side seam to the edge of the back. For me, I have 6.5". Again, jot this number down in a safe place.

Now for some math, but don't panic. It's elementary my dear Watson. ;) While I love pleats and how perfect they look, let me just confess...there is NOTHING easier than working with gathers. The beauty of a gather is in the ease. (That sounds like it should be a song, doesn't it?) Just like a sleeve with a gathered cap, good is almost fool-proof. Almost. Depends on the amount of wine you drink while sewing how much you pay attention when sewing. ;) Speaking of drinking, on to the math.

My favorite gather is a double. However, sometimes I will go up or down, depending a lot on how much fabric I have, whether the fabric has a print or not and how thick the fabric is. But, the skirt in this photo is a double gather.

So, let's start there. Beginning with the front piece, take the measurement of the front of your bodice and multiply it by 2. Then add .75. Seriously. That's all. So, here it is all formal.

(front bodice measurement x 2) + 0.75 = width to cut your front skirt piece

For me, I had (12 x 2) + 0.75, so I knew the width of my front piece should be 24.75", but since I am a rebel I cut it at 25" because honestly, with the gathers that 1/4" is not even noticeable. Now, write down the width measurement for your front skirt piece and let's work on the back pieces now.

Same thing, different numbers. For the back pieces - here is your formula.

(back bodice measurement x 2) + 0.75 = width to cut your back skirt pieces

So, mine was (6.5 x 2) + 0.75 =13.75, and you guessed it...again I was a rebel and noted 14" instead.

Now, reference the cutting chart for the skirt on page 6 of the pattern. ONLY PAY ATTENTION TO THE LENGTH dimension as you just did the math for the widths. For me, I am making a size 4, so this is how I will cut my skirt pieces:
  • front - cut one 24.75" wide by 13" long
  • back - cut 2 that are 13.75" wide by 13" long
See how easy that was? Now, if you want more gathers, multiply by more than 2 and if you want less gathers, drop it down to 1.5. :)

Cut your 3 skirt pieces and then lay the front piece on a flat surface. Place the back pieces on it right sides together like shown below and sew down the sides as shown by the black dotted line. Finish those seams and press them out. 

Now, finish the 2 back center seams as shown below.

 Once finished, make a mark with either a sewing marker or pin 3/8" away from the edges of the back center seams. This will guide us when we place our gathering stitch.

Run a gathering stitch along the top edge of the skirt. Now, for a little behind the brain of Amy. When I have a large skirt to gather like this one, I like to run 3 different gathering stitches. I run one along the front and then the other two along the two back pieces. This just makes gathering SO much easier in my opinion. While running the gathering stitch, make sure to stop it before you get to the 3/8" mark you made on your back center seams as shown below. 

 Okay, now grab your bodice piece and lay it on a flat surface with the right sides facing up. Now, we only want to sew the skirt to the outer bodice, NOT the lining, so make sure to flip the lining piece up and back as I did below.

 Now, place your skirt piece on top of the bodice making sure that the top of your skirt (where you ran your gathering stitch) matches up with the bottom of the bodice. Your skirt piece will go right sides together with the outer bodice. Match up and pin the side seams of the skirt with the side seams of the bodice as shown below.

Begin pulling in your gathers on the skirt to match up with the bodice width. You see below how I start with the front piece? Make sure to space your gathers evenly and pin until the cows come home.

 On the back center seams, you see how the skirt will have no gather where it meets up with the back seam of the bodice. This is totally intentional and why we left that 3/8" space. We will be placing the zipper in this void and a zipper is not a fan of being placed on gathers. Trust me.

 Once your entire skirt is gathered and pinned, head over to the sewing machine and stitch the skirt to the bodice. MAKE SURE you are only stitching to the outer bodice and not the lining. Although this seam will be enclosed, I encourage you to finish it anyways to help decrease the bulk.

Now, head over to the ironing board and press that seam up towards the bodice.

Guess what my dear ladies? We have a zipper to insert, a back seam to close and we are DONE. Can you even believe it?

Okay, zipper construction starts in the pattern on page 29. Please, please please reference that as well if you need to! If this is your first zipper, read over the first few pages first so that you can familiarize yourself with the basic idea.

Press out the teeth of your zipper just as shown on page 29. Now, for this tutorial I am using Wonder Tape to hold my zipper in place. My dear friend Alexis of My Sweet Sunshine showed me this trick and I hardly ever do a zipper anymore without it! I place it on the left side on the right side of the zipper. These next 2 pictures are mostly just terminology and again, I took them and hated to leave them out in case they help someone!

 Grab your dress and place the left side of the back (if you are looking at the dress back, the left side) on a flat surface. We are going to be attaching the zipper to this center back seam first. But we are only attaching to the outer bodice, NOT the lining so make sure to keep that flipped up.

 Okay - now for just a smidgen of seam clipping. You want to clip away 3/8" from the seam in which you stitched for the neckline construction. This will free the bodice outer and lining from each other at this point. You want this since you want to put your zipper in that spot.

 See how once those stitches are removed the lining and outer are separated? The fold of the fabric where they were joined is what I will refer to as the seam line. 

Now place the zipper right sides together on the bodice outer lining the edge of the zipper (not the side with the teeth) with the center back seam. You want your zipper stop to sit right below the seam line as I have shown below.

 Now, continue to line the zipper up along the back center seam of the left side of the dress. If you are using Wonder Tape, keep pressing it down in place. If you do not have Wonder Tape, pin like there is no tomorrow. Zippers are no fun when they don't stay in place! Once pinned, take over to the sewing machine and stitch as close to the teeth as you can with your zipper foot as shown below by the black line.

 Santa Claus was so sweet and brought me an invisible zipper foot. I highly recommend this. I, ahem he, found it on Amazon. :)

 Once you get to where the skirt joins the bodice, make sure that the seam stays flipped up towards the bodice. As you get further down the zipper, at one point you will need to stop with your needle down and zip the zipper up just a bit so that you can continue to sew without the pull in your way.

 Once you get close to the bottom of the zipper, stop your stitching just below the bottom zipper stop as shown below.

Pat yourselves on the back. You put a zipper in one side - rock on ladies, now let us work on the other side. I prefer to work from the bottom up in placing the zipper when it comes to the second side. And when I do this I like to add the Wonder Tape to the bodice instead of the zipper. Methods to my madness I assure you. But first, rip the first 3/8" of the neckline seam just as you did on the other side so that we can make way for the top of our zipper.

 The way I find easiest to match up the zipper is to first match up the seam from where the skirt meets the bodice as shown below. The side that I have already sewn the zipper to is to the right. The bodice on the left is the one we want to sew.

See how I make sure that the skirt seam matches on both sides? Once that is determined, that is when I can ho ahead and start adhering (or pinning) the other side of the zipper to the other center back seam of the dress. Again, you want to place the zipper right sides together on the dress with the edge furthest from the teeth matching up with the center back seam.

 Continue to match the zipper up along the side and pin/adhere like your life depends on it. Now, a little rule I learned of zippers years ago is to sew the second side in the same direction as the first. So, on the first side I went from top to bottom, so you will do the same for the other side of the zipper. If you matched up your zipper properly, the stop at the top should fall just below the seam line as it did on the other side. Sew from the top to the bottom, again making sure that your skirt seam stays flipped up toward the bodice, and stopping with needle down to move the zipper pull as needed. Stop just below the bottom zipper stop just as you did on the other side. Now, if your planning and adhering and pinning worked well, once you have it zipped, you should have something that appears like this. Oh the beauty of a matching skirt seam. If you don't, do NOT stress. I cannot tell you how often I rip the second side of my zipper and try again. You can do this! Promise.

Guess what? The hardest part of the zipper is over. That wasn't so bad was it? Now it is time to attach the lining to the bodice, therefore sandwiching the zipper between the two.

Head back over to a flat surface (is it as hard for you to find a clean, flat surface in your sewing room as it is in mine?) and place your dress with the back left bodice facing up (this is the side you put the zipper in first). Now, what you are going to do is grab your lining for the back left side and flip it down so that it is facing the right side of the outer bodice with the edge lining up with the edge of the zipper. The next few photos show me flipping it down.

Now, once you have it flipped down, the hem that you pressed up on the lining yesterday should fall right around where the skirt seam is on the outer bodice.

 Okay, bring your attention back to the top. Remember when we had to take a few stitches out at the neckline? This is where it will all make sense. When you flip the lining around, the zipper will be in the middle of the bodice outer and lining right where the neck seam used to be.

 Take the lining and make sure to line it up along the center back seam and stitch along the seam (the one you ripped earlier) as shown by the black dotted line below. Stitch slowly as you don't want to break a needle on the zipper stop!!!

 Now that you have closed that neck seam up again, pin the lining to the bodice lining up the center back seams as shown below. Then, you are going to stitch down along the lining as shown by the black dotted line below.

 This is where I switch back to my regular zipper foot.

 When you get to the bottom where your hem is pressed, make sure it remains pressed up to the wrong side and reinforce your stitch along the bottom of the lining as shown below.

Once you have this stitched, do the same exact thing with the other side of the bodice and lining. Once you have both sides stitched, clip the top of your zipper (the excess) and the edge of the seam where the center back meets the neck as shown by the red dotted lines below. This picture is a hot mess. Thank goodness this will be on the inside!!

Moving right along - let's finish up the rest of the back center seam along the skirt. Lay your dress right sides together matching up the center back seams of the skirt. You are going to sew with a 3/8" seam allowance along the edge closing up the back of the skirt. I usually start at the bottom and work my way up because the zipper is going to get in your way. See below where my black dotted line stops? That's where the zipper is.

 What you will have to do is to push the zipper out of the way to finish up the seam.

 However, you don't have to stitch it all the way. I usually stitch about 3/8" up past where I stopped on my zipper. Basically, sew from the bottom of your skirt up to the zipper bottom and then 3/8" past where you stopped the stitching when you attached the zipper to the skirt. Clear as mud, right?

 Here I am at the machine. See I am getting close to the zipper.

 So, what I do is push it out of the way of my stitch.

 When you get 3/8" past your zipper stitching, reinforce that seam as shown below.

Guess what ladies? I have the best news ever. The hard part is OVER. You have some ironing and stitching left and you are ALL DONE!!

Take your dress over to the ironing board and press out the center back seam of the skirt that you just sewed. This is what you should be looking at.

Now, flip the bodice right side out and press it out along the zipper. It never ceases to amaze me how much I love an enclosed zipper. :)

Now, on the wrong side of the dress (which by the way looks gorgeous) work about the bottom of the lining making sure it is pressed down and encloses the skirt seam. This is again another place I like to use Wonder Tape to hold the lining down. Now, you can either whip stitch this part closed (sorry to all the hand-stitch haters out there) OR you can flip it over on the right side and stitch in the ditch OR top-stitch to keep the lining in place. Honestly, whatever is your preferred method will be awesome. Me, I will be plopping myself on the couch with a cold bevo, some Mad Men and needle and thread. :)

 The only thing left is the hem! Finish the edge of your skirt however you please and take it over to the ironing board and press up a 1/2" hem and then stitch it down. 

And you ladies are DONE with your sleeveless Lennon dress with Peter Pan collar. And you deserve a big-ole pat on the back because honestly, this construction was so different that it should have been a separate pattern (right Elizabeth?). Ha. Too bad I didn't realize that until I already had my feet in. :)

Remember, I will be posting an album in the brownie-goose lovers group on Friday 3/20 for you to put your photographs of the Lennons you constructed during the sew along for a chance to win some BG patterns and an Etsy gift card. SOOOOO exciting!!

And now...if you are up for more, come back same place tomorrow so I can show you how to make this one...the blouse version. You know you want to!!

Xoxo - Amy