not a doll (ardentcurse) wrote in blythedoll,
not a doll

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Empire Waist Dress..

it seems I'm not the only one that's had troubles trying to figure out how to put this pattern together!?
This is a tutorial on how I put it together. Not neccesarily how it's supposed to go together!

Dress is sewn from this pattern:
I'm not saying the directions are bad! I'm just saying that I don't entirely understand them! =P

please try to look past the bad light! It's the camera! It's new and I've yet to figure out the tricks of all of the settings! And they're going to be BIG as lj is pixelating them! =E

First I cut out my pattern. Skirt on fold and TWO tops (1 for lining) on fold, reversing one
Both tops shown here are cut from the same fabric but I will often use satin if I have it in a coordinating color.

I then turn over bottom hem (about 1/2") on skirt and stitch in an 1/8" from the edge. 
I sew right over those pins!

I sew gathering stitch on the widest stitch my machine will allow (next photo) and in an 1/8" from the edge.
Making sure to leave long gathering 'tails' on both sides to pull later.

I sew gathering stitches on 5 (widest stitch) and all other stitches on 3.

I place the 2 tops right sides together and pin neck and under arms.

I sew around the back, neck and underarms only. Then I clip all curves and turn right side out.

This next step is the most important step in sewing and it doesn't involve a stitch! I press the skirt hem and the top! This gives it the nice finished look. I know, it's a pain to get out the iron but it really makes a HUGE difference!

turn over shoulders and pin at waist. In this case inside/outside does not matter but if I use a different colored lining I would want it on the outside!

So what you're looking at here is the front of the dress but for now it is on the inside. 
The pins here are only for *control. I will be removing them and re-positioning them later!

this is the side I see during sewing. Pin this to gathered edge...

I pull in the skirt gathers making sure to not cut the tails yet!

I line the top up along the gathers with front on the inside for now.

I pin the ends first! leaving about 1/4" of skirt at each end. Adjust gathers so they are the same length as the top.. making sure to pull some gathers over to the side pieces. I ususally have to adjust again.. pulling some more in.

Here is the tricky part! I very carefully remove that 'control' pin and stick it back in after laying down the inner back side of dress at the waist.. place another pin in the other side right next to it! Quick!

So you're NOT left with the two pices pinned to each other but the two pieces pinned to the skirt right side-by-side. The gathers always come loose here (between the pins) and this is why it is important to keep the tails! in case I have to pull in the gathers again! It is also helpful to hold these pins tight when adjusting again for front of skirt/top. 

Do this ^^^ on the other side before you adjust gathers for the front of the skirt (the long part of the top that gets pinned to the skirt). Adjust gather again to make sure there are NO GAPS (between the pins) in the underarms. AND that there are gathers along front and side pieces of top!

Pin, pin, pin! and now it's ok to cut the tails off.

I sew the two pieces together with the skirt side up! This way I can see the gathering stitch and sew *just* below (toward skirt) it! Again, I sew over the pins! Sure some get bent but I've lots more! This is how I keep the pin companies in business!

Sometimes I have to pull on the skirt or use my seam ripper as a tool to get the gather under the foot just right (always make sure your needle is THROUGH the fabric or you might pull it out from under the foot) but don't ever sew over the seam ripper! it's too wide! You could splinter your machine needle and that's dangerous!

The top seam here is the old gathering stitch. 
the bottom seam is the one I just made. 
I remove the pins and trim (close, but not cutting either stitch!) from this side
Some people remove the gathering stitch but it is not neccesary as you will not see it if you sew *just below as described above! 
If you DO want to remove it (it's difficult!) do so before cutting your tails but AFTER pinning the two pieces together!

here is the front so far! Looks like octopus eyes! =E

pin skirt back right sides together. I stitch up from the bottom stopping about 1/2" before I reach the bodice. Back stitch to tack.

Yours should look like this.. I sew on one snap in the back..

and then there is this! =)
Maybe add some coordinating buttons! or a ribbon!

Here is Welsley in the new Empire Waist Dress! It's actually a nice sea foam green but I have to figure out the white balance in my new cam! =P


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