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Today I'm going to walk you through cutting out your underlining, which I'll remind you is an optional step. First, a couple distinctions in terms:
Lining: this is a separate layer of fabric, usually of a slippery texture, that hangs freely within your garment to keep it from riding up or clinging to you. I won't be going over lining this pattern.
Underlining: This is a second layer of fabric, cut from your main pattern pieces, that gets basted to your fashion fabric and then the two layers function as one piece of fabric, rather than hanging separately. Underlining is most commonly silk organza or cotton bastiste. It adds body and opacity to your fashion fabric. As well, the color of your underlining can influence your fashion fabric, and you can use this to your advantage. I'm using a bright white cotton batiste underlining to add opacity (and keep the facings from showing through to the outside of the dress) and to brighten the ivory background of my fabric. I'll be showing you how to underline your dress today. (This is also sometimes called interlining, and it's one of those terms that people use differently and everyone is sure that their way is the best! I won't get involved in that heated debate; we'll just call it underlining for the purpose of this sew-along.)
Interfacing: This is a special material, either fusible or sew-in, that gets attached to crucial parts of your garment to add stability and structure. We'll be adding fusible interfacing to our dress facings in a later step to add structure to the neckline of the dress.
So, are you ready to underline? I'm going to get you started on the bodice pieces. I'll try to cover lots of step-by-step cutting instructions since this is a beginner's sew-along. Don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions!
First, lay out your underlining fabric on a fold. Your cut edge of your fabric should be on-grain. The easiest way to do this is to cut a snip into the selvage and tear, letting it rip on grain. It will do this naturally if you just rip.
Robin let me in on her secrets of labeling photos like this. Thanks, Robin! You can double-click the labeled photos to see the text easier.)
Make sure that your pattern pieces are on grain. This is the back piece; it has a "floating grainline" (an arrow marked in the middle of the piece) that you'll need to measure to make sure it's parallel to the fold of the fabric.
Now that you've got your underlining pieces cut out and marked, you'll want to lay out your fashion fabric, wrong side up. Straighten the grain on the cut edge, as you did with your underlining. You will be using a single layer layout for your fashion fabric.
Homework: repeat this for the back bodice pieces. Move on to the skirt pieces next. (Important: if you made your bodice wider or narrower, remember to compensate for this on the skirt pieces by adding or removing width from the skirt side seams. You'll want them to match up easily to your bodice pieces.)
You only need to underline the front bodice, back bodice, skirt front, and skirt back pieces. Lay your underlined pieces neatly aside (be careful of stretching out the neckline or skirt waistline edges as you're handling them).
The next step will be stabilizing the neckline. I'll show you a couple methods, one with silk organza, and another with bias cut strips of fusible interfacing. (I know some people couldn't find silk organza.) I'm unsure if I will get to this before or after Christmas right now. The holidays are creeping up rapidly and I know lots of us are looking forward to some family time and celebrations. More to come!