Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hemming Ball Gown With a Tulle Skirt

Hemming a big ball gown can be intimidating, but it's actually pretty easy if you take it one layer at a time!

Start by hemming the two fabric linings.  Use any method.  I like to use this type hem, but you could even serge the very bottom lining.

Next you need to hang the dress so that you have access to all sides.  I use a hook in the ceiling with a ribbon.  It looks like this:

Don't you love the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling!  A reminder that this was once a little boy's bedroom.

Clip all the layers you aren't working on out of the way using  chip clips.  Start with the innermost
netting layers and trim one at a time.

  If you have a sharp pair of scissors you can hold the bottom of the netting and slide the scissors right through.   Continue until all layers of the white netting are cut.

Now let down the top lining and make sure it's straight.  At this point I usually have to spray the top layers of netting with static spray.  If your dress has been in a plastic bag, it's probably got lots of static cling!
This is what I use:  smelly, but effective.

The top layers of tulle all get cut at the same time.  In order to cut them evenly, I make sure all the seams of tulle are lined up and then line them up with coordinating seams on the lining and pin together.  You will usually have pins holding the dress and tulle together in the back and on both sides.

Now you can do your final cut.  Make sure you leave the tulle a little longer than the lining.  Good luck!!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Modesty Panel

Corset back dresses often need a modesty panel in the back for a little extra coverage.  Here's how they are made.

  • Measure length and width of finished panel and add a minimum of 3" to the width and 2" to the length.

  • cut a panel the size of your measurements on the fold (the fold will be the top of the panel.
  • Apply Iron-on interfacing to entire panel

  •  Press the whole panel -- especially the fold

  • In order to add stability to the panel you will add several pieces of sew-through boning horizontally and vertically.  Cut each piece of boning about 1" shorter than the area it will be applied and angle edges to mimic the angle of the panel.  Here's a few pictures in case this is confusing!

The first piece will be applied right along the fold

Evenly space the rest of the stays

Now add the vertical stays --sew right over the top of the others
wrong side

right side

  • Fold in half with right sides together
  • Stitch down one side and across the bottom

  • Turn right side out, fold in the seam allowance on the open side and top stitch closed.

Here's what the front and back will look like:

Here's what a more narrow panel will look like ( this one only has one horizontal stay

  • Add snaps to one side of panel and dress

  • Hand stitch the panel to the dress about 1" from the edge and down about 2-3 inches.

Here is what it should look like all finished:

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Skinny Cording

Just a quick post on making skinny cording to use as loops for corset back dress.  Cut a 2" strip of fabric on the bias.  Fold in half lengthwise with right sides together.  You will sew with the fold toward the machine and the raw edges on the left.  It is very important to start sewing about 1/2' from the fold and then narrow to the width you want the finish cord.  Here's picture of what it will look like:

If you need to join two pieces together, seam on the diagonal, stitch close to the first stitching and then trim very close.

Thread a needle with some heavy duty thread and take a few stitches through both layers where you started sewing.  Replace the regular needle with a tapestry or other dull needle, tie a knot to hold the thread onto the needle, and slide the needle through the opening turning the cording right side out.

Press and you are finished!

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