Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sally Dress with Circle Skirt - Dressing it up

Can I just start with saying how incredibly antsy I've been, having to wait almost two weeks to share this dress? With my computer at the techs, and my back up crashing, my only option was to wait until I got my desktop back before I could post.
This dress began when I decided two days before my oldest daughters grade transition ceremony to make her a new dress for the celebration. My youngest had a new dress for her Pre-K graduation, and I had this darling idea in my head for a Sis Boom Sally party dress. So I got to it!
This dress has a couple of firsts in it. First time using a lace overlay, first time ruffling tulle with my serger (saved me at least two hours work, since the tulle was 4 meters long, two meters long ruffled, only took me 15 min, cutting included!!), and first time doing a rolled hem with my serger! None of these will be the last either.
I began with a cotton broadcloth for the base of the bodice, as well as the bias tape (note to self, I should really invest in some bias tape makers). I then basted the lace overlay pieces to the cotton broadcloth pieces, and treated them as one piece. Then followed pattern instructions until I came to the skirt.
For the skirt, I cut one half of a large circle skirt from this cute waffle knit that I had been hoarding. It has very minimum stretch, so I just treated it like a woven. I cut the waist circle wider than the bodice waist, so I could add two box pleats.
The back was trickier, since I did a hi-low skirt. I began with sketching out the circle skirt same as the front, then I simply marked how much longer I wanted the back at the bottom along the fold. Then I freehand re-drew the circle, blending it from the the first circle to the second, if that makes any sense at all? The back circle has two pleats, just like the front.
I finished the skirt with a rolled hem, which isn't perfect, but good enough for me, and definitely better than I thought I'd do for the first time! 
For the tulle, I cut four inch wide strips of tulle, as long as the piece that I had, which was about 1 meter wide. I then set my serger settings to the following: Differential feed at 2, stitch length at the usual 3, stitch width (cutting blade width) at the usual 6, knife on. For the dials, I had them set at 7, 5, 4, 4. On my serger, that ruffled tulle down to half of the cut size. It would be different for different sergers, or fabrics. I just played with settings, until the practice strips became half the length that I cut them.
Then, I drew a line about 2 inches from the edge of the skirt on the wrong side. I lined up the serged edge of the first tulle piece, and sewed it on along the line. When I got to the end of the first tulle piece (I had three for the front, and four for the back), I took the next piece, overlapped the end of it with the end of the first piece, and continued sewing it on along the line. Easiest tulle ruffle I've ever done!! Obviously, if it was fabric, I would first sew the ends right sides together to make one long ruffle, so that the seams were finished and hidden, but with tulle there was no need, since the type of tulle I was using doesn't fray.
As a final touch, I used bias tape on the bodice to make a design instead of having a sash. It's not perfectly symmetrical, but again, I'm happy with it.
I'm so pleased with my results!! My daughter loves the dress, and my youngest has been begging for a similar dress ever since! The Sis Boom Sally is the perfect pattern for this. With an elastic back, but still full coverage bodice, it is an easy and quick sew. You'd think without closures and it being woven you wouldn't get a good fit, but the way the elastic pulls it in gives it a nice and fitted look, while still allowing little girls to dress themselves.
I'd love to get right back to sewing, but we've decided to redo my daughters' bedroom, so some of their stuff has taken over my sewing room. I'm hoping it won't take too long, as I'd like to write my next post about it. There'll be some sewing projects involved, such as curtains, cushions and hopefully some wall art! I guess we'll see! I've always wanted to design a room for them, and I've finally got an opportunity. Unfortunately, I also have a small budget. Oh well, better some than nothing!

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