A Frock by Friday™: Wednesday

April 28, 2010

About A Frock by Friday™

SLEEVE OPTION: If you want to add a sleeve follow the instructions but do not sew the armhole bodice and facings together. I've been searching for an online graded sleeve pattern for days and this is all I could find: Here is a sleeve pattern. It is for a plus size so if you are smaller, like me, take the pattern in by 3/8” at the underarm seam for every 2 sizes and follow lines accordingly. Tape pattern together, cut out. Pin to doubled fabric and cut out of fabric. Sew hem of sleeve 1/2". Sew underarm hems together, right sides facing.

1. Line up your facing with your top right sides together. My facings were a little off. Perhaps that’s because I had to cut the seam allowance myself. But I would suggest pinning your facing to your top rather than just sewing it. If it is a little to small try to center it in your bodice like I did in the photo to the left.

2. Sew the facing to the bodice with right sides together but leave each of the four shoulder seams open on top. See photo to left.

3. Clip the edges of the pattern that curve (basically everywhere you just stitched) See photo to left. This will help the fabric to lie flat when turned inside out. Remove Pins.

4. Now here comes the tricky part. Turn one of the front straps right side out. Tuck into back arm strap keeping the back arm strap wrong side out. Be sure not to twist the strap when you insert it. Just fold over and into.

5. Pin the straps together at the top with the front strap tucked into the back strap. Be sure that the pieces are all flat and not folded. Stitch across top.

6. Pull front strap out, also turning the back strap right side out as you pull.

7. Turn everything right side out.

Zigzag stitch or serge the opening in the back where the zipper will eventually go. Press all edges flat.

9. (optional) The facing around my ruffle was sticking up. Using interfacing on your facing helps to keep it down but personally I had skipped that step to make things go faster. So since the ruffle hides part of the front of the bodice I stitched the facing to the front of the bodice underneath the ruffle. If the bottom of your arm hole facings are also popping out (like mine) use a thread that matches your fabric and sew a little 1” line in the armpit to keep the facing and the bodice stuck together.

10. If you want to attach a sleeve do so now. Refer to this tutorial to attach to armholes.

11. Here’s the top so far. I just tried mine on and it is WAYYYY too small. It must be my ginormous lactating bosom that‘s throwing the measurements off. Or perhaps the pattern is off? In any case, if you try your’s on and have the same problem. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the worldJ It’s totally fixable.

(Optional if bodice is too small) Just measure the amount of extra inches you need between the openings in the back of the dress. Take that number and divide it by 2. Cut two pieces of fabric that width and the length of the bodice PLUS THE LENTH OF THE FACING (about an extra 1 ½ for the facing) adding ¼” seam allowance to all sides. Cut two pieces of fabric.

(Optional if bodice is too small) Sew those pieces to the two sides of the back opening of the bodice, right sides together. Zigzag or serge the edges of the new piece so that it doesn’t fray. Fold over at top. Iron flat. Done. It’s not as pretty as a seamless back but if you iron well, it can be virtually seamless.

Tip. When I wear a lifting bra, the top fits much better, so if you are going to be wearing a better bra with the dress be sure to be wearing it when you measure the amount of extra material you need to sew on.

12. Stitch skirt front to skirt back right sides together. For the skirt back, the straightest (shorter) side is the one that you stitch to the sides of the front skirt.

*Tip. Always start at the waist of the skirt and stitch down. I, very often, find that my pieces do not match up exactly. When this happens it is easier to fix at the hem than at the waist. Just trim the extra fabric and blend it into the curve of the skirt hem.


Tomorrow: Stitching bodice to skirt!

Pattern courtesy of The Selfish Seamstress.

26 {comments}:

Amanda said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, I'm so glad you added that info about adjusting the size of the bodice (I'm tiny on top and thought that the size would be too big). As I've been sewing I've been thinking "Thing looks tiny. I feel like I'm sewing for a doll." Glad to know there's a way to fix it if my feelings are correct.

That strap thing is giving my mind a bit of trouble, but - hopefully - it will all become clear once I get home from work and take a look at the actual garment.

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom! I'm a little behind (I didn't get home from work until 8:45 last night), but I feel like I might actually get this done, and it's all thanks to you!

Jaimie said... Best Blogger Tips

I am going to try and add sleeves to mine...will I still do that cool trick where I slide the front strap in the back strap?

Jaimie said... Best Blogger Tips

I am going to try and add sleeves to mine...will I still do that cool trick where I slide the front strap in the back strap?

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes, you still do that strap trick, just don't sew the arm holes. Just send me another comment if you get confused.

Corina said... Best Blogger Tips

Glad I'm not alone, Amanda - I'm behind, too! My excuse is three kids, 4 years old and under (youngest is 9mo). I'll catch up, though! It's fun watching this come together!

lajamison said... Best Blogger Tips

Is the zipper going to be tomorrow? Does it go on before or after the skirt?

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

The zipper is the next to the last step. That will be on Friday.

B @ Sweet Limes said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm starting a little behind because my kids have needed my undivided attention this week, but I hope to start on it tonight when they are down for the night. I'm ready to cut it out and sew! One question. Any idea how long it is finished?

Anna said... Best Blogger Tips

Mine was too small, also. Maybe I just think I'm one size when I'm really not :) Thanks for the tip about how to make it bigger--now it fits great! I do have one question, though. My darts in the front are a little too high--probably about 2 inches higher than I would like them to end. Is there way to fix that? Fortunately, it's not really noticeable by anybody but me, since the ruffle gets all the attention.

Shiloh Mae said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so excited to be doing this! I am sewing with linen, and it's working great except that the ruffle is kind of bulky. I will probably have to do what you said about pinning the facing to the inner bodice.

My question about the nifty strap trick is, do you perform it twice? I didn't see you say "repeat for other strap" but I am assuming that we are suppose to.


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I've seen this pattern floating around but it was rather intimidating. Your step by step tutorials are wonderfully helpful. I do have a question: How could I alter the pattern i wanted to make the skirt less of an a-line and more of a pencil dress, if i could at all?

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

If you want a pencil skirt and the top of this dress, I would just use the top pattern of this dress and a pencil skirt pattern of another dress and sew them together. The only thing to keep in mind is making sure the waist (bottom of bodice and top of skirt) length is the same for bodice and skirt.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Yes, sorry for the vagueness, do it for both straps:)

Alexandra said... Best Blogger Tips

I lightly outlined each pattern piece so that I could really see the seam allowance. I am not great at cutting an even 1/4". It has helped me with lining up pieces, especially the darts. I also cut small notches in my seam allowances to help lining things up. I'm a little behind (need to sew skirt) but so far this has all helped.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

Since we already cut the pattern out you won't be able to fix the darts to be lower.

If you want to be on the safe side the next time you sew a dress, don't cut the triangle darts out. Just mark where each point is on the pattern and connect the dots. Sew up the lines you just made. That way if it's not right for you, all you have to do is rip out the seam and change the placement of stitch.

When you have it right, then cut the fold.

redspool said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey my knit dress is actually working out! Hooray!

Even though I didn't have to use the facing it was nice to read up on it.

Thanks again - I am so loving this!

Emily Taylor said... Best Blogger Tips

I just wanted to offer a tip. I don't own a dress form, but I think it would be SOO nice for dress making. I found this tutorial for making a duct tape dress form and think it would be helpful. I hate trying to pin clothes on my own body, just doesn't work.


P.S. I love this tutorial. Especially because you have a set deadline. I'm determined to keep up and get it done.

Emily Heizer Photography said... Best Blogger Tips

Ok, I got the bodice assembled and done! I got one strap perfect the first time and the other I sewed the wrong way THREE times. LOL I was going to scream the last time I turned it inside out and realized I'd made the made mistake again.

My bodice is WAY too small. It looks like a tube top. It's not so much that it needs a ton of fabric added to the back, but it is majorly SHORT... it barely covers my breasts. Actually, it really doesn't... If I pull it taught against my skin it's just barely reaching my underwire. This dress is going to look empire waisted if I don't do something to change it... I'm not sure what to do... I know how to add the back panel in, I read that and I understand it, but I"m not sure how to fix my busty self. This dress doesn't make it to my waist because of my bust....???

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

When I tried mine one I had THE SAME problem. So I added a sash in between. But when I did that it looked just wrong. So I ripped it out and added the sash in between the bodice and skirt (like you can see in the Thursday post).

In the end, when I attached the skirt it looked just right.

In the end I made a lot of extra work for myself, adding the sash to lengthen the bodice and then having to rip it out and start over.

But if you are absolutely sure it will be too small then I would suggest adding the sash as sort of a way to lengthen the bodice.

Instead of sewing it into the seam line like I do on Thursday add it to the bottom of the bodice with a 1/4" allowance. Then sew the sash to the skirt in the same way.

I had you cut the sash 5.5" wide because on Thursday you double it up. But if you're going to be sewing it as an addition to the bodice you might want to cut it by 3 inches since it won't be folded in half.

But like I said before, I wouldn't do that unless you were sure it would be too small. When I did it I was too long and I have to emphasize that I really thought it was too small at first. Like you described, it barely covered my breasts.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

That's fantastic! Sometimes authors say that to save themselves from being blamed for a bad pattern:)

redspool said... Best Blogger Tips

Actually my bodice was really short too, but with the added weight of the skirt (I'm using a medium weight bamboo knit), it worked out. It all on my blog - if anyone is interested.

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

I think that's just what happened for me as well. The skirt pulls it down more than you'd think. Mine looks just right and I have a larger bosom for my waistline.

Material Lives said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't sewn anything in at least a year. I wish I wasn't writing my diss chapter so that I could hurriedly join! Your instructions and photos are amazing. I can't wait to join a future project.

Rochelle Barlow said... Best Blogger Tips

I am super confused with the arm holes! I want to add sleeves, but I don't get the whole "don't sew the armholes" what are you specifically talking about? how do I do the strap thing-a-ma-bob when I only have a half a strap? I would try to wing it a bit, but when I attempt it it doesn't make any sense. does my question even make sense?

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

In step 2, where you are sewing facing to the bodice, only sew the neckline pieces together. That's the neckline in the front and the neckline in the back.

Instead of sewing the armholes as you would if you were making it sleeveless, just pin the facing that goes around the armholes. Pin them in the same way you would if you had stitched them.

Then do step 4.

After you finish with step 4, take out the pins and attach the sleeve.

But before you attach the sleeve be sure to sew the hem of sleeve 1/2", it just makes things easier than after it's attached. Then sew underarm hems together, right sides facing.

Please refer to this reference to attach the sleeves. It's pretty good:

If that's still confusing don't hesitate to ask me something else!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I just finished adding my sleeves to the bodice! The pattern you provided actually isn't that big the smallest size is one size bigger than I needed so I just cut that size out without a seam allowance and it fit PERFECT! It is terribly long though (Originally it went to my elbow) so I turned it into a cap sleeve!
Thanks for all of your advice and pictures!!!

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