Saturday, November 22, 2008

Feliz ~ The Underdress

Various parts of this sew-along can be found here:

Feliz part 1: Yardage
Feliz part 2: Prep
Feliz part 3:Overdress
Feliz part 4: Underdress
Feliz part 5: Straps and final assembly

Ruffles Ruffles Ruffles - that's up next.

I am making 4" wide ruffles to put on the back center piece to create the bustle and to edge the hem of the dress. I'm alternating fabrics with all the prints in my dress, so I have alot to make. First I'm going to sew my 45" strips into one long strip ~ well one for each fabric print. Next I'm going to roll hem my edge to finish it off nicely - you can do a standard hem if you prefer, serge it with contrasting thread, or use a bias tape on the edge instead which also looks very nice ~ the options are endless, use your creativity.

On the raw edge of my ruffles, I'm going to run a line of serging just to finish off the raw edge. You can run a line of zigzag stitches in place of a serger if you like, or you can just omit this step as well.

Next, I take out my handy dandy ruffler attachment for my sewing machine.
You don't need to have one of these, you can just run a couple of lines of basting along the edge of the fabric and pull on those basting threads carefully to gather up the fabric. Another option is the zig zag or dental floss method which Sandi Henderson (Portabellopixie) did a great job of explaining. However, if you plan to sew alot of ruffles a ruffler is a worthwhile attachment. I use mine extensively ~ love that thing. I set my ruffler to a setting that will essentially give me a 2X gathering so the ruffle will end up being exactly 1/2 the length it was unruffled. This gives me the desired fullness but you can add more or less gathers depending on your tastes.

Ok ruffles done, I'm now going to cut them to fit the back panel of the dress, layering them and pinning in place. First i'm going to draw lines on my center panel piece to help in sewing on the ruffles. I use a disappearing ink marker and draw a line about 3.5" up from the hem, then 3 more lines, each about 3" up from the previous line. You can make them as far apart as you want to stack them more if you like.

I'm going to baste the serged edge of the ruffles in place on the back panel, attaching them upside down - ie they are facing up not down and I'm using the line I drew as a placement guide. Then I fold the ruffle down over the seam I just basted and topstitch them in place. Repeat for all your ruffles until you are done. NOTE: I didn't add any ruffles to the very bottom edge of the dress, we'll do that later when we finish off the hem.

You can space the ruffles as far apart as you want and add as many layers as you want ~ or leave them off entirely. My 7 year-old doesn't really like all those ruffles, so her Feliz dresses don't have the bustle at all.

Now to attach the center back facing to the back center panel of the dress. I finish off the straight edge of the facing piece with a serger, fold it over, press and stitch this down. Next i'm going to attach the facing to the center panel. Place the pieces right sides together, then stitch.
Turn the facing towards the back of the dress center panel, enclosing the seam you just made. Press and topstich the top edge.
Next i'm going to draw lines on my center back panel to mark the casing for the elastic. The pattern doesn't really specify how long to make the elastics or how far apart to sew the casings. In this case, i'm making the smallest size dress (86) so I'm going to use narrower elastic (1/4") and therefore make a narrower casing. In this example, I place my lines 3/4" apart and started them at the top of the facing piece as shown. On the larger (134) size dress I have sewn before I was able to use a wider elastic (1/2") because the back panel is much larger. In that case I made my lines 1" apart and started them a bit lower down the facing panel. It's really up to you. I have done 3 lines of elastic, you can do more or less, it's really just a matter of preference. Now sew lines of stiching along the lines you drew on the panel pieces to create an elastic casing.

Next cut your elastic. The length of the elastic will just depend upon the size of your child. Measure the chest of your child and allow at least and inch or two for give and a comfortable fit. I cut my elastic about 1.5" shorter than the width of my center panel. You might want to add more or less.

Now using a safety pin on one end of the elastic, I inserted the elastic into the casing and secured the end with a pin. Repeat for the remaining casings.

Next I will run a line of stitching over the ends of the elastic to secure them in the casing. Do this about a 1/4" in from the raw edge of the fabric so it doesn't rip out.

Next draw the elastics through to the other edge of the casing and expose a bit of the elastic end so that you can tack it down. I use pins to hold the elastics in place until they are sewn down.

Now we are ready to assemble the pieces of our underdress. Sew the front center and side panels together as you did for the overdress.

Then sew the back center panel to the side panels but leave the back center panel down about 1/2" from the side panels.

This will provide the extra seam allowance we will need to attach the over- and underdress pieces together at the last step. Be careful when you sew the center back panel that you don't catch in too much of the ruffle in your seam, and similarly you do want to catch at least the raw edge of the ruffle in the seam. You might want to baste the raw ruffle edges to the side of the back center piece before you sew the seam. Ok now sew the center front panel to the side pieces as you did for the overdress. Top stitch along the seams.

Whew - ok that's enough for today.
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