Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dress Ornaments Tutorial

Fancy Fabrics for Bodice & Skirt
Scrap of Cotton closely matching color of Bodice fabric
Lace overlay for skirt (optional)
Trim for waist, skirt hem and bodice top
ribbon for straps
~20g wire for hanger
buttons, beads, rosebuds or other decorations

Enlarge the pattern (see below)to the correct size (note the tape measure along the bottom of the skirt)
All pattern pieces include a quarter inch seam allowance (the seam allowances are roughly sketched in).
Cut one skirt from fancy fabric on the fold. If desired, cut 1 skirt from lace for an overlay (on the fold).
Cut 2 bodice pieces from fancy fabric. Cut 2 bodice facings from cotton fabric.

Bodice Assembly
Right sides together, pin bodice facing to top edge of bodice. Stitch together using a ¼ inch seam allowance and repeat for other bodice/facing pair.
Trim this seam to 1/8 inch. Turn right side out and press.
Place right sides of two bodices together and pin side seams. Stitch each side seams using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Clip curves; turn right side out and press. If your fabric ravels easily, zigzag bottom edge of bodice.

Skirt Assembly
Press under ¼ inch on one long edge of skirt for hem. Turn under again, press and stitch hem by machine. This stitching will be covered either by your trim or by your lace overlay.

Without a lace (skirt) overlay:
At this point, you need to decide if you will stitch your skirt trim into the seam allowance or if you will overlap the trim after the skirt's center back seam is sewn.
-If you are using a thick trim, attach trim to hem leaving trim un-attached an inch from the skirt's center back seam. Stitch center back seam in skirt; press seam open. Overlap the trim over this seam and secure to skirt by hand or machine.
-If you are using lace trim, or a thin trim, stitch the lace or trim along the bottom edge of the skirt. Then stitch the center back seam in the skirt (using ¼ inch seam allowance) and press the seam open.

With a lace (skirt) overlay:
Press under ¼ inch on one long edge of lace overlay for hem. If lace tends to ravel, turn under again and press. Stitch hem by machine. Typically a light trim is used on the lace overlay, one that can be stitched into the overlay's seam allowance. Stitch the trim along the bottom edge of the lace overlay.
Lay the skirt right side up on a flat surface. Place the overlay on top of it, right side up. Pin the bottom edge of the lace overlay to the bottom edge of your skirt, to keep them aligned as desired. If the top edges are uneven, trim them to match. Baste lace overlay to skirt along top edge. Pin the center back seam of the skirt, so all four layers of fabric are secure. Stitch the center back seam in the skirt (using ¼ inch seam allowance) and press the seam open.

Stitching Bodice to Skirt
Using pins or a disappearing marker, mark the center front and two sides of the skirt. Gather the top edge of the skirt by hand or machine. Right sides together, pin the gathered edge of the skirt to the bodice, centering the skirt back seam on one of the bodice pieces, centering the skirt front on the other bodice piece and matching the skirt sides to the bodice side seams. This is a tough seam to stitch, because it is so small. I typically began my stitching where there was the least amount of bulk, often stitching only 5 or 6 stitches at a time, stopping and bringing more fabric around the machine to the front.

Decoration & straps
Now comes the fun part. Trim can be hand-stitched around the waist or along the top edge of the bodice, or both. I sometimes added a flower button, ribbon rose or bead near the waist or at the center top of the bodice. I like to use organdy ribbon for the straps, but any type of narrow ribbon works fine. Cut two lengths of ribbon for the straps, each about 2 inches long. Eyeball their position so they are even and tack or glue them to the inside top of the bodice front and back. Once the straps are secure, I closed up the top bodice area - I have to admit, I used glue here. The type of hanger I made slips easily into the straps for hanging. If you wanted to get fancier, you could place beads on the wire before bending it into a hanger shape. Enjoy!

P.S. One of Susan’s friends suggested putting potpourri into the skirt and sewing it closed to make a dress sachet – this is a great idea.


Susan said...

Thank you for writing out the tutorial. I know there were many people who enjoyed looking at the ornaments. It took you a lot of time to put this together for us, and I appreciate it!

Lil said...

Lin! You are a dear! (And a creative one too!) Thanks so much for sharing this with us! So precious!!! =)