A Proper Party Dress. Part 3: assembling!

We are only one day away from Wee Bear’s big party: we are all in a haze of sleep-deprivation and excitement but at least I won’t be up sewing her dress at 1am (as usual: no, this time I am sewing dresses to match her Tulipe doll!).

Once we had adjusted the pattern of the Chloe Dress it was a dream to assemble the bodice. The simple round necked, sleeveless, lined bodice (I used a super soft acetate type fabric) is self finishing, so the only exposed seam was at the waist:

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I was sewing too fast to take many photographs and the instructions are super clearly illustrated. I have to comment again on how much I enjoy working from their patterns! However, cutting out the yards of net and tulle would have been easier if I had used a roller cutter and mat, as I do for my quilt projects.

20130630-121311.jpg I somehow vastly over ordered, so have enough left for at least one more dress in the same colour – if I changed the under net & lining colour, it could be an adorable blush pink, or maybe a winter ice blue?

However, as it is so fine, the tulle squishes when sewing: my Janome 6500 goes through just about anything (although it hates buttonholes) and it wasn’t long before I had assembled the layers. I chose to gather them separately and it added a bit of bulk (and time) – the matching doll dress was gathered all together and is much neater around the waist.

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It’s a lot of fabric. I think I would find a different way to gather it – I struggled slightly to keep the gathers from stretching out again. When it has been gathered incredibly small, it is simply sewn onto the bodice. I would imagine it is possible to leave the lining a little unattached at the bottom 1cm of the bodice and it could be folded up & sewn to enclose the skirt seam: it is of course quite bulky.

I got around it this time by adding a skirt lining with a rolled hem. I made a skirt>dress>lining sandwich

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So that when the lining was folded down, it covered the exposed skirt edges:

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I attempted to neaten it up & stitched below the seam but It was immediately unpicked. Don’t try at home!

By this time, it was past midnight – so apologies for the shocking pictures! I fluffed the sash assembly but it worked out in the end: a few hand stitches to hold it in place and I was done! I really wish I had bought proper nylon chiffon & tulle from the USA but I am working on my favourite online fabric supplier Plush Addict to import it on rolls for awesome pettiskirts!

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20130630-122814.jpg the sash ties in a large bow: a silk bodice & tie would look beautiful for a bridesmaid or flowergirl.

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The finished dress front. Photos of it being worn to follow!

3 thoughts on “A Proper Party Dress. Part 3: assembling!

  1. I am a novice sewer and am taking on this project for my friend’s April wedding. I am also hoping to enclose the exposed skirt edges. I have always hated texture in clothing and can only imagine this would feel so uncomfortable, esp. to a little one. In any case, when you talk about attaching the lining with a rolled hem. Do you mean that you rolled the hem before attaching all skirt pieces & gathering? Then I am confused about “when the lining is folded over…” part. Does the rolled lining get sewed down? These may be silly questions, but as I said, I am so new to sewing and this is probably way over my head, but I am up to the challenge. Any help or any tips would be wonderful!!! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Emily! You’ve picked a good pattern to start with – apart from gathering all the tulle, which is probably going to be your biggest challenge. Here are my top tips!
      1. Roll the hem before you put it near the finished frock: you don’t want to be doing that with all the foofy skirtness at your machine needle.
      2. Now (tries to visualise how I did it many months ago): make sure your lining is hemmed and then gathered at the waist – you don’t need to have it completely finished, just gathered to the waist size of your dress, ok? 😀
      3. imagine you have your dress all done, apart from the lining. You are going to turn ONLY THE BODICE outwards, from the waist, so that you can see the lining of the bodice and the tulle is all kind of inside it. You should see the waist seam at the top, with all the tulle held inside. Now, take your hemmed lining and put it over the top of the bodice, with the SEAM OUTWARDS so you are hiding the bodice and the tulle. You still with me?
      4. Now: your sandwich should be, from the outside in: hemmed & gathered lining – bodice (lining side out) – tulle (the jam in the centre).
      5. Stitch carefully, maybe after basting – there are lots of layers & a ton of fabric so basting – if you’ve the patience – is worth it. When you fold the lining down, it will be inside your dress and will hide the pesky gathers of all that tulle.
      Let me know if that’s as clear as mud and I will take a picture for you! x

      1. Thanks so much for your tips. I have read several times, but I think a picture would help me a great deal if you don’t mind. :o) Thanks so much.

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