Couture Dress: cutting the lining

Marking.
Then cutting with a wide seam allowance.
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After this I’m using the pieces of the lining to cut the fashion fabric, again with wide seam allowance.

Then comes basting them together. By hand.

But first I’ve got to lay down again. Such a drag.

here’s the picture of what you see on the right side once you rip the seam after you’ve marked it:
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Wriggle Dress: 2D versus 3D

huh?
the back is much smaller than the front:
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must have occurred when I had to take in the darts in the back so much. I think the sideseam was still in the middle though…
but now I am sitting here, with the front pinned to the back, and I’m not so sure anymore.

I’m sitting in my halfmade dress because, as I was pinning the seam allowance for the side seams, I felt the desire for pockets well up inside. I hunger for pockets!
So here I am, surfing instead of sewing. Sewaholic has a nice tutorial: sew the pockets close as you sew the side seam. One seam. With a nice roll over to hide the inside of the pocket.

But what fabric to chose for my pockets? My cotton lining fabric is mighty flimsy. Won’t hold more than a hankie and I don’t plan on doing any crying in this dress.

The interliningfacing fabric a.k.a. the sheet is very sturdy. It might distort the soupleness of the dress. And/or show through the fabric and the lining.

Using the fashion fabric for the pockets will surely show…

Perhaps I need to excavate the room where all my fabrics live…to search for something appropriate in weight and colour. A fun pocket, hiding.

Wriggle Dress: lining it

For the lining I have a thrifted cotton shirt. Very long and very soft:
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It fits the dress
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after pressing the shirt and the now unbasted dress this is how my ‘template’ for the front looks:
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Start cutting. Remember to put the right sides to the right side.

(yes, you eagle eyed sewers, I didn’t unpick the bust darts in the dress in this picture! I thought I could get away with it. Not away from you but from sewing. They were in the perfect spot you see, following good lines. And I was afraid I would wither from too much work. So I cut the lining while the darts were still in the dress. This will distort the side seam of the lining. I will be sorry. I convinced myself that the soft cotton will forgive. It probably won’t.
This is why I wrote down the tip to myself to use a screamingly different colour thread for basting next time. So I won’t be tempted again to leave darts in if I am going to use a piece as a template.

After this picture I took out the darts because I had to resew them at a better stitch width anyway. It took al of 7 minutes to rip out 4 long darts… 7 minutes I can afford and could have spend easily before cutting the lining.

What convinced me to take them out was that the 2mm stitch width of the basting was tearing at the linen, which is a fairly loosen weave. It was the wrong width for the fabric.
But by then the lining was already cut. And I am already sorry.)

By the way, the reason that I am lining this dress, even though the pattern says not to, is because of this book:

Linen and Cotton by Susan Khalje

and because of this project:

May Challenge Panel Dress by Marina von Koenig on which Khalje advised.
I cannot stop mentioning these two, sorry.

I learned very much from what Marina is showing us about this dress and it really prompted me to use linen and dabble in couture techniques. I hope to repeat this experience, in different designs, as her project and her approach is very inspiring!

The lining makes the white linen I’m using less see-through; it will reduce wrinkling and enhance wearing comfortability. But putting in a lining in this dress which has interfacing and facing is a bit of a puzzle: which layer goes where?

At least I did know about grading the seams where the interfacing/interlining is concerned:
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For attaching the rest of the lining I basically use the instructions for the facings.

I’m doing the back now. I’ll need to attach the lining to the zipper-part. This seemed a logical solution: two openings on layers that go together.

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Logic, yes?

It would work better if the opening of the lining was as long as the zipper is…
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It needs to open all the way to where the pins are. Besides: it has buttons.

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There we go. Now I have a piece of fabric instead of the front of an old shirt.

 

 

 

 

Summer Dress: altering the neckline

I raised the neckline without tapering it down and now the dress stood agape at my front. So I inserted two darts. They are pretty long but it’s what my fitting told me:
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When I was satisfied with them I inserted them into the lining as well. Now I had to remake the neckline into a coherent line and restitch the lining to the fashion fabric and finish it with understitching.

Stitching lining and fabric together, securing the darts and creating a new fluent neckline:
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Trim the bits and nick the fabric before turning it over:
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turn dress so that I can redo the top stitching: stitch very close to the existing seam securing together the lining and the seam allowance of both lining and fashion fabric:
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result! No picture of it but it looks good. All it needs is a bit of pressing but the new neckline on this half is good.

now the other one: stitch lining and fabric together creating a new fluent line. Looks good from where I was stitching.
but when I flipped it over:
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Unacceptable. For one: it missed one of the nicks that were already in the lining. This would fray with wear, I fear.

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Second: on one side the stitching doesn’t end in the little trench of the existing stitching line. It misses it by a mm:
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This will give a nasty fold. Which will show on the good side as this stitching involves both the lining and the fashion fabric. Unacceptable.
Take it out, please.

Redone:
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Much better!

Perfection even. Look how nice it runs into the existing stitching line:
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Let’s have a look to the other side:
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Merde.
it missed the ‘ear’ of the dart.
Take it out please.

your wish is my command:
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I folded the ‘ear’ the other way and restitched that part:
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Good!

let’s look at the other side:
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Poep.
It messed with the lining, creating a fold. It won’t be visible while wearing but still…

time for some chocolate and a little lay down. This needs to come out and be redone.

started sewing my dress

I forgot that metal thing that makes for easy seam allowance at the cabin. Electric tape to the rescue:
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seam allowance = 1,5cm

Because I also forgot how smartly structured I wanted to do it and I cannot find it back on this blog -which lacks in both smartness and structure- I am following the Butterick instructions instead.
first off: sew and press darts in the top
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Here’s where I started doubting already. When I folded the dart along its centre line, the under sides didn’t line up as you can see here. To the left, one side peeps from under the other one. I was worried that the bottom line that will eventually be attached to the skirt will not have one continious curve.

So I fudged it a bit… made the lines lie more together. By doing this I changed the vertical angle of the bustdart, it now points a bit to the side instead of the apex. Looking back at the picture I see the bottom line would be continious, had I sewn it the way it was intended and is folded here. We’ll see what I’ll end up with instead….

I then sewed the bodice both in fabric and in lining. Of course I sewed the shoulder parts of the lining from the wrong sides. The neat part of the seam is now on the wrong side.
As I also forgot my darning tool at the cabin I decided to view this mistake as a chance to practice a flat fell seam.

trim one side shorter:
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fold over and over again. Sew close from the right side.
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on the second shoulder I discovered my top thread had escaped the needle. So I threaded it and sewed the seam again. Which is when I discovered the bottom thread had not been carried along.
Which is when I knew I was too tired to go on. Time for chocolate, tea, lying on the couch and doing some simple knitting.

Tomorrow I’ll pick it up again. I’ll include a little trip into town to get a new darning tool. I’m sure I’m going to need it.
(Hey, while I’m there I can buy that seam allowance tool)

study: a gala dress my mum made

as I still await the arrival of the two patterns I studie clothes I own. I have one handmade dress, my mum made it for me exactly 20 years ago. (ok, 19 years and 50 weeks ago)

It still fits!
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It has prinsess lines, flaring skirt. It is made of silk (real silk, very flowing) and lined with synthetic shiny fabric, alsof very light and flowing)

You see some characteristics my body has: broad shoulders but not a big frame. A big bust (in relation to that frame) and neither a small waist nor big hips. I am a goblet. Or a reverted triangle.

V shaped necklines, 3/4 sleeves and garments that hug the hips and flare out at knee length look good on me. A wriggle dress will look smashing, as long as it suggests a waist rather than enforces it. (girl likes to breath)

There are a few issues with fit with this dress. The neck line gapes…
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and so does the side bust.

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It could do with a tuck but I do not yet know how to do this. I have read up on altering horizontal and vertical bust darts but with princess lines I take it the lines have to be unpicked. This dress is fully lined so that would mean unpicking the whole dress. Also, I may not want to because of sentimental value.

The gaping in the back might have been less 20 years ago, I am 41 now and my posture may have changed.

I love looking at the details. I start to see more and more things, the more I read about sewing.

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The princess line in the back runs all the way up to the shoulder seam.(but it isn’t centered)
The lining in the armhole is attached to the silk with minute little hand stitches.The lining doesn’t run to the very edge of the arm hole, it stops just short and it doesn’t peak out.

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there’s a zipper that is hidden, the silk has little overlaps to hide it.
A row of vertical little hand stitches runs next to the zipper, on both sides.

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I don’t know why those stitches are there. Perhaps to keep the silk lay flat over the zipper? No flaring upwards? I take it on the inside it keeps the pieces neat.
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from the inside it now shows me that the little stitches keep the lining nicely in place against the outer fabric. And out of the way when working that zipper, you wouldn’t want it to be caught in the zipper teeth.

Also in this picture you can see how the front neck was done. The lining and silk were sewed right in the ditch with the right sides facing. The piece was turned right side out and the seam was pressed.
I can see that the result is not as tidy as it was in the armhole, here the lining is visible from the outside. I do not know yet if this has to do with pressing, with bulk of the seam allowance in that part or with the used technique. I have read about other techniques but they take more time. This is a “good enough” fast technique.

It is fun to see some of my mothers thinking in this dress. She must have ran out of time or out of fun or it had to be finished sóón. She whipped open her bag of sewing skills and chose whatever got the job done.

This is what I love in all handmades, to see something personal of the creator come through. This is also why I do not care for perfect projects. (I aim for near perfection. Showing you my only sewing experiences in all their frumpiness (the skirt and the shirt) really put a dent in my self image.)

next: reinforcements
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The front of the neck is reinforced with white fusible ….eh… interfacing! that’s it!

  • interfacing reinforces parts of a pattern piece that need it. (front neck line, arm hole)
  • underlining reinforces a whole pattern piece. Basically you sew two pieces of cloth together and treat them as one. Good for shear fabrics (white linen, chiffon, organza) or very light fabrics (chiffon, silk).
  • interlining is the same as underlining but has the purpose of adding an extra layer for warmth.
  • lining is an extra layer between the outer fabric and the body. It serves ease of putting on and ease of wearing. It reduces sweat getting to the outer fabric (handy for linen as it will wrinkle when confronted with body moisture) or for warmth. Or for the sheer fun of it (” Care for a bright bold pattern inside your very mature jacket, sir?”). Lining hides the seams (and protects them somewhat I think).
  • a slip is a separated piece of undergarment, a little dress, to be worn under a dress. It has the same functions as lining.

In my dress the interfacing is fused to the lining. Very clever as it would have shown up miserably were it to be fused to the silk outer fabric.

The ‘ragged’ seam you see in the right side of the white interface is where the seam is that is pressed and that shows a little bit on the outside in the picture above this one. It has little cuts in it to allow it to follow the curve. Perhaps if it was trimmed smaller, the excess fabric cut away, it would have been pressed more out of sight.

But this would probably demand more measures to prevent that seam from fraying. No wait, fused interface won’t fray and neither will the lining it is fused to. It may be more difficult to press in its proper shape, a seam with a short seam allowance. This then would benefit from a small row of stitches that keeps it into place. But those stitches would be visible from the outside, as they would be through the silk, and that is not desirable on this dress.

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Inside I found three different kind of seams. One was pressed open, one was pressed to the side and one was pressed open and its sides handsewed. To prevent fraying I think. It also has little cuts, to allow for movement (?). I’ve seen this kind of seams online on a couture dress:

Marina von Koenig explains in a wonderful article over at Burdastyle.com

Here are two curves sewn together and the round cuts are for allowing that shape. The article also adresses working with linen and using both an interlining and a lining to get excellent results.

This is the kind of level I want to be at, intellectually. These are the sort of things I want to know, want to be able to do. Marina von Koenig has some wonderful reviews of dresses she made online.

Sparring partner in this yellow white dress was Susan Khalje who really knows a lot!

Years ago she wrote a wonderful book about using linen and cotton. It focuses on the fabric, not on patterns. It is no longer in print but it’s one I’d love to have. I’m thinking about buying the ebook even though I prefer paper books….

if only I lived in the USA…I’d take her class!

UPDATE: I purchased the ebook Linen and Cotton  by Susan Khalje with the publisher of Threadsmagazine. It was on sale and only cost $12,79.