The day has come! The sew along starts today! Usually I’ll post one day at a time, but this first step is basically cutting out the pattern and making variations to your size/taste, so it could take you anywhere from 1-4 days to do it. I’ll give you four days so you don’t feel pressured, and once we move to actual sewing, I’ll post things in shorter, day at a time posts.
Now, using regular paper scissors (not your good sewing scissors), but around each pattern piece. I like to leave a wide margin in case I need to use the pattern again later for a different size.
Cut out the pattern pieces, you don’t have to cut right on
the line, just separate them
This is not an actual pattern piece, it’s a guide
for the ruffle that you will copy to your dress later.
Don’t throw it away! Just set it aside for now.
|Click the picture to go to the article|
Fold the fabric along the grainline–I took this picture before
I ironed the fabric…
Sometimes the grain is skewed, meaning the threads don’t go straight. Here’s another GREAT link on fabric grain and how to fix a skewed grainline from American Doll Outfitters (haha, funny source, I know, but it’s useful). If, when you fold your fabric in half lengthwise along the grainline, you get puckering along the fold in order for your selvedges to line up, then you have a crooked fabric grain! The link above has a great picture illustrating this. This can happen because of the way the fabric is pulled on the bolt at the store or because of the way it was pulled in the washing machine. There are a number of ways to fix this. My favorite (what I think is easiest) is to pull on the diagonal (called the bias) in both directions. The bias is labeled on the picture from totallystitchin. This usually pulls the grainline into place. I usually pull along the length of the fabric in several different places. The link has other methods you can use as well. So, however you choose, straighten that grainline now.
|From American Girl Outfitters|
First, you need to decide whether you want a back or a side zipper. I think side zippers are more forgiving to mistakes, but back zippers allow you to make alterations to the finished product much easier. Since we’re doing this test run (making a muslin), you should solve all fitting issues ahead of time. So, I’ll leave the zipper choice to you. If you’re doing a side zipper, you should change the back pattern piece to say “cut on fold” at the center back like the front piece does. If you’re doing a back zipper, keep the pattern as it is.
You only need four pattern pieces right now for this fitting: the bodice front, bodice back, skirt front, and skirt back. If you’re doing a side zipper, then all four of these pieces will be cut on the fold. If you’re doing the back zipper, then you’ll want to cut the back pieces on folded fabric (so there are two copies of it after cutting), but you don’t have to line it up with the fold you made. If your fabric is wide enough, you might want to refold it so you have two folds along the grainline (Fold both sides in toward the middle so the selvedges are touching and you have two folds).
I’ll go through the rest of this with only one sample pattern piece. Place the pattern pieces on the fabric. Make sure all arrows that are labeled “grain line” are parallel to the grainline in your fabric. If you’re cutting all the pieces on a fold, then this should be simple. Pin down the pattern pieces. Now, using a marker (you can use a regular marker here, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t wash out because this is just a practice), mark the sewing lines for your appropriate size (if your bust is one size and your waist is another, just gradually go from one size at the bust to the other at the waist).
|Pin down your pattern piece on the fold of the fabric|
|Use a ruler to make sure the lines are straight. I like to press
the marker enough that some dots bleed through the paper,
then finish tracing with a ruler
|Add the seam allowance|
|Cut out, leaving a wide margin so you have space to alter|