Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles!!!

Okay, so I haven't updated you in a while of my progress on the Christmas outfit.  No, I have not given up!  Things moved along quickly with the coat and hat, there was a reason I did those first!  Don't get me wrong, they are not finished yet...  As a matter of fact, after looking at the coat and trying it on the girl, I have decided I will need to disassemble part of it and then put it back together to make it lay properly.  Not to mention the TONS of hand sewing I have left to do!  Both the coat hem and the hem for the lining are not only done by hand, but they are done separately!!!  (Rolling my eyes)
The reason for the delay in updates is all those silly ruffles on the dress!  Basically I work on the outfit when the girl is taking naps or in bed for the night.  On the weekend I do try to sneak away a little bit at a time to get some sewing in, but I try not to do that too much because I know I should be hanging out with the girl and hubby.  Plus, as we near my due date I am also giving in to smallish naps or quiet reading time to relax.
Anyway!  I got the bodice started but I am doing things a little differently than I "normally" do.  You see, when working with a pattern, "they" give you instructions.  Each step is done in a particular order and for a particular reason.  I have been known to skip around on steps and then I have to go back and remove stitches because I got too far ahead and missed something important!  For the most part though, I do pretty well following directions, if only when it comes to sewing.
In order to not have to keep going backwards I did what my first sewing teacher taught me...  I read the pattern before I started.  The whole pattern.  Some steps didn't really make a lot of sense, but I figure that they will make more sense when I have the fabric in front of me.  This time I am doing pretty much everything "in order" I am just "combining" some steps!  Generally the pattern will tell you to put together the whole bodice first, then go back and do the bodice lining, then the skirt, then the skirt lining.  I have been doing the main piece and lining at the same time.  It saves me a bit of time when it comes to pleats and folds, but also because it is fresh in my head the way things should fit together.  You know, like when you are working on a puzzle and you look for all the similar colored pieces to fit together first?  I am so glad I did it this way!!!  The dress is very cute, I just didn't really think ahead about all those silly ruffles!  There are three ruffles on the sleeves and three ruffles along the bottom of the skirt.  AND THEY ARE ALL SEWN INDIVIDUALLY!  Each ruffle has to be hemmed first, that's a 3/8" hem that gets pressed in and then you roll the raw edge of the fabric into the fold so there is no more raw edge.  Doesn't sound fun?  That's because it's not!  The sleeve hems weren't too bad, except there were six total, three for each side, it's the hem ruffles that have me slowing down!  Not only are there three, the ruffles consist of four pieces of 45" fabric that is sewn into one long piece!  For two of the ruffles I had enough yardage, I just cut them as one running piece.  The last ruffle I did as per the instructions, so the pieces had to be sewn together first, then the hem pressed in.  It ends up being a five-yard piece of fabric!  That I have to hand roll and pin a hem into!  I knew I wouldn't be getting that part done quickly, not to mention the fact that it hurts your hands and eyes, so I decided to break it up and do one length each night.  After those hems are sewn in, I get to sew two rows of loose stitching along the tops of each five yard piece, that is how I will gather the fabric to make it fit the bottom of the skirt.
I haven't even finished cutting out the skirt lining yet!  I also have to sew together the netting and gather that for a type of petticoat that makes the lining.  At least I don't have to hem the netting!  The pattern is merciful and the netting is cut wide enough that it is folded in half and then applied to the lining.  I am hoping that once this last ruffle is hemmed tonight that things will move along faster.  Of course, I plan to use some different sewing feet on this project, so I may be slowing myself down again.
The way some of the pieces are sewn together, there is no "finishing" of the raw edges.  If you are a non-sewer, what that means is...  I will end up with edges that have no "close" to them.  Imagine if you cut the end of your jeans and then just wear them...  That is a "raw" edge.  Every time you wear them, wash them or they even rub against something, threads in the fabric will come loose and then they look tattered.  I understand this is the style for the bottom of jeans for some people, but I don't want my girl wearing her dress with random threads hanging all about!  I bought a serger years ago and could never get it to work quite right.  After taking it apart I found that it was missing a piece and I just never felt like buying the replacement, so I sold the thing on ebay.  The new owner was happy to tell me that she got it working just fine so I must have been wrong...  Anyway, my new(er) machine came with a serger foot that I have yet to try out.  Partly this is due to the crazy directions that came with it.  I understand that instructions might me created where the part is made but let me tell you, the person that wrote this out didn't even speak English as a fifth language!  Another reason I haven't used it yet is simple laziness.  Plus I just haven't had anything I really wanted to use it on.  What is a serger?  Are you wearing a tee shirt?  Sweat shirt maybe?  Check the inside of your shirt, usually the best place is around the inside of the hem.  You see the criss-cross sewing?  That is serging.  It prevents your shirt from falling to bits without having to do that silly rolled hem I am doing on those ruffles!  But it's also for places that you wouldn't hem, like it's probably around the inside armhole of your sleeve.  It keeps the fabric from pulling apart after repeated use.
So anyway, that's my story...  I'm not procrastinating like usual!  I am taking my time, and taking it slowly, but I would really like for this to turn out nicely, since it is the first piece of clothing I am making my girl.

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