Friday, February 24, 2012

The 1938 Dress: Making the skirt

On we go, today, we are making and adding the skirt!

This is not a real tutorial post, but I wanted to show you how this pattern works. I find it quite interesting, as there is a bunch of gathering right in the center front of the skirt, which adds nice width, while keeping the silhouette narrow from front and back. I actually sewed a vintage pattern with this kind of skirt before, but I altered it back then, because I couldn't imagine that this bunching up right between my legs would work out... :-) This time, I went for it, and I like the result!

Looks elegant in the illustration, but then again, she's holding her hand right in front of it...:-)
The pattern pieces are interesting: The front skirt is not cut on the fold, instead it has a center seam and curves out. In turn, the side seams are pretty straight. You see the center part of the front skirt pattern piece in the picture below, with the gathering indicated along the top and a straight line down, which is not only the grainline, but also the sewing line for a nifty little hidden pattern piece, which is lying on top of it in this picture:

It's cut on the fold, so you only see half of it in the above picture. I'll call it the "helper piece". First you finish its edges and iron under the seam allowances. Then you sew the two halves of the front skirt together:

My scissors are pointing to one of the marks for the gathering - all the fabric between those two marks have to be gathered to match the width of the "helper piece":

Spread out the gathering evenly and use a lot of pins to attach it to the "helper piece". At this point I made sure the front center seam was hidden in one of the folds:

Now you sew the helper piece with the folded edges towards the wrong side of the front skirt - not only along the top, but also down that line that was indicated on the front skirt pattern piece:

This is what it looks like from the front now. Kind of strange, right? But it works, it keeps those gathers "in line". And if you use a very well matched thread, those two sewing lines are practically invisible on your finished garment:

Then I connected the front and back skirt as well as the front and back belt pieces. There was lots of easing between belt piece and bodice, as well as some easing between back belt piece and back skirt piece... I tried the easing just with pins, but then went back to using thread and stitches...

 Fraying hell...

I decided to line the belt and skirt parts of the dress, so I made inside belt pieces and lining skirt pieces and attached them just inside the seam allowance of the bodice/belt pieces from the outer fabrics - real close to that seam. In the picture below you see 1. the white skirt lining on top, followed by 2. the light blue belt lining fabric, followed by 3. the dark blue velvet belt outer fabric and at the very bottom 4. the outer skirt piece in light blue again:

Once hanging down, the lining pieces cover up all the raw edges. By the way, on the lining skirt I spread out the gathering throughout the whole width of the front skirt. Then I went around and zig-zagged the remaining raw edges from the belt pieces. You see me pinching them together in the picture below. Usually you'd iron the seam allowances to the inside of the belt pieces and hand stitch along the seam, but this is a nifty little short cut that works well with my fabrics here.

However, I didn't do that step until after I installed the snap button closure, which is coming up in my next post. So far so good! It's the last time I can put the dress on my dress form - the moment I close up the side seam, I won't be able to fit her in anymore.

This is the back, with all the easing and the left side seam still open:

And a sneak peak to the finished dress: I really think the gathering in the center front works well!

By the way, I am having a "vote and win" going on to help me decide which one should be my next vintage project - you can win the vintage pattern that I end up sewing! Get to the VOTE AND WIN POST HERE!

All the best to you,

1 comment:

  1. That is really interesting, the "helper piece". Thanks for posting how you constructed it all!