Hey dear readers!
How you guys doin’ this Saturday night? I’m great because I’ve made some super progress on my Project Blossom Cambie!
I received my fabric from Tessuti about a week ago and couldn’t wait to dig in! So I did!
Here’s the plan to refresh your memory:
I’ve changed a few things since we last chatted.
1. I used the lining piece for the sleeve instead of the fashion fabric pattern piece with the gathering. The fabric is fairly heavy and I wanted a cleaner look.
2. I’m using the A-line skirt provided and will peg it in (take it in) if I need to later since it fits really well. Amazeballs!
Close inspection of my fabric confirmed TRUE LOVE, and I also noticed it was quite stretchy.
“Back it, Kat, back it!” my sewing voices said.
“But, with what?” I replied. ”I want to start my Cambie NOW, I don’t want to wait to get more fabric!”.
Off to the stash…that *is* what it’s there for right?
My considerations were these. Fabric is stretchy, fabric is heavy, fabric is cotton. Cotton lawn! I had a beautiful light cotton lawn (borders on a voile) in my stash, but it’s white. No biggie – this fabric is opaque as…no worries about underlining showing through and changing the colour of my fashion fabric. It was perfect because it’s light (I don’t want to make my fabric heavier) and it’s cotton and non stretchy. I was worried that the elastane in the fabric would affect the fit, so this needs to be controlled with underlining.
So, I cut out my pattern (Size 12) in my underlining and attached it to my fashion fabric. To see how, see last week’s “Technique of the Week”. Handy dandy.
One thing I wanted to make sure of, was to match the pattern on the centre back seam where the zip goes. I think I managed that pretty well!
The great thing about a backing (or underlining/interlining) is that you have a place to anchor hand stitches. Beauty since I love hand stitching. I love the process and the results. Form and function, as Susan Khalje says.
I sewed the bodice together as per usual but paid special attention that lovely sweetheart neckline. Issue here is stretchy fabric + sweetheart neckline = potential gaping.
The first thing I did (and always do) is stay stitched the curvy bits of the bodice and ANY seam on the bias. It’s really vital to do this right away because curvy bits and bias seams can stretch from handling/sewing faster than you can imagine.
But it needed more.
In order to ensure the sweetheart neckline turned slightly towards my body and not out the other way and to ensure it didn’t stretch *at all* I inserted a stay. This is super easy to do and can be done for any folded edge.
You just cut a small strip of silk organza (about 3cm) and fold in half. Mark where the organza meets the middle of the V and then mark 1cm less than that. Pin the organza so your second marking lines up with the V. This creates a small buckle in the fabric, but that’s good!
Now ease the fabric into the length of the organza strip by sewing small running stitches. This does not create gathers, but just eases the fabric into a slightly smaller length, thus ensuring the sweetheart neckline curves towards the body. Claire Shaeffer in her book Couture Sewing Techniques also uses elastic as a stay, but I didn’t do that here…that’s for another project! I only stayed half the sweetheart neckline because the straps attach to the other half.
That’s not going anywhere!
Next I was looking for a way to stabilize the V, since you have to clip right to the stay stitching, and I hate doing that.
Susan Khalje to the rescue!
Susan uses a mini facing of silk organza to stabilize V’s like this one.
Check out her tutorial on Threads here. This is going into “Technique of the Week” for sure, since it’s so useful!
Essentially you sew a piece of silk organza on the right side of the fashion fabric right on the stay stitching line
Now do the all important snip right to the stitching line
You can now turn the facing to the inside and press so that the stay stitching is just to the inside
Catch stitch the facing and the folded over fashion fabric
There..satisfaction with that.
I then went on to clip and catch stitch the rest of the bodice. In the last pic, you can see how the top of the bodice curves into the desk…it really works!
Another tip of Susan’s is to not clip your armscye/necklines before you press them. Press them first (this can be quite difficult) and then clip. Thus, the memory of the curve is built into the fabric before you clip, avoiding the octagonal type curves and making them nice and rounded. Works like a treat, but it is fiddly.
Phew! Well that’s the bodice done! Why put it in all this effort for a day dress, you might say? Well….
1. I can’t help myself. I love sewing this way!
2. Form and function. These techniques make your garment look fabulous and they make your garment work with your body and last longer without loosing shape. Catch stitching the seam allowances adds a huge amount of structure…kinda like a facing does.
3. I can practice techniques and invent/try new ones
4. It’s just plain old relaxing and fun!
5. I can share my experience and what I’ve learned with you all!
Well, that’s good enough reason for me.
I hope you enjoyed my bodice construction! I’ve made more progress and have now attached the skirt to the bodice, but that’s for another day.
Relax and Enjoy,
I’m lining the whole thing with a light cotton voile…but haven’t got that yet. I’ll do this when the whole dress is constructed. Burke over at My Sew Called Life had a great comment asking about using facings instead of lining. I could have totally done that and debated it. In haute couture, often lining isn’t used because it interfears with the design/drape of the garment. Instead, facings are used. When the edge is straight, the facing is simply an extension of the fashion fabric. When curved, the facing is separate (whether it be a bias strip of a separately cut fabric). This is fell stitched to the wrong side of the garment much like a lining would be. I could have done this, but opted to line instead.