I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Today Sarai from Colette Patterns is here on the second stop of her blog tour for her new book--and she has an awesome tutorial to share. Welcome, Sarai! --Gertie
As a big fan of Gertie's blog, I'm happy to be joining you all here on the tour for my first book, The Colette Sewing Handbook! It's really wonderful how supportive the whole community of sewing bloggers has become, and Gertie is an especially wonderful example of that. Isn't it nice to see women supporting each other?
Today I'm going to share a tutorial for a decorative detail that didn't fit into my new book, but be sure to take a look at the link at the bottom as well to see a link to the giveaway I'm doing for the book plus five sewing patterns!
First, a little bit about the book. I wrote The Colette Sewing Handbook as a guide to the five fundamental areas of sewing that I think are so often confusing or challenging for the beginner (and even intermediate) sewist: planning your projects, working with patterns, getting a good fit, understanding fabric, and finishing techniques.
The book is designed to be a hands-on tool for learning these concepts, so each of those five sections has a project to go with it. The final project is the lined dress above, called Licorice.
Personally, I am a big fan of little details that you can add to just about any sewing project to change the look. After I've made a pattern once and spent some time getting the fit right and familiarizing myself with the design, I like to make it up in different ways, using different fabrics and switching up some of the construction details and embellishment.
Today, I thought I'd show you one of those details that didn't quite fit into the book. It's an easy way to add a simple lace insertion, using the Licorice dress. It involves just a teensy bit of pattern manipulation, and it's a great way to work through your stash of lace (I have a ton).
* Dress or skirt pattern. I'm using the Licorice dress from The Colette Sewing Handbook, sewn in a lovely woven mint green silk.
* Lace (about a yard to a yard and a half)
First, decide how far from the bottom of the skirt you'd like to place the insertion. I like the way they look a few inches above the hem, but I think multiple insertions around the skirt would also look pretty amazing. Or a really wide one further up. It's up to you.
On your pattern pieces, start by marking the seam allowance on the lower hem. For this dress, the seam allowance is 5/8".
Draw a line parallel to the hem, whatever distance you've decided for the insertion, on both the front and back pieces. Drawing in the seam allowance on the previous step lets you position the insertion just where you want it. Cut your pattern pieces along this line.
Now you have a choice:
(a) If you're using lace that's wider than 1/2", you'll be adding a little length to your skirt. If you don't mind that, you can go ahead and proceed to the next step.
(b) If you want to avoid adding any length, that's easy too. Just take the width of your lace and subtract 1/2". Trim that amount off the bottom of the dress front and back. So, for example, if your lace is 2", trim 1 1/2" off the bottom of the dress front and back pattern pieces at this point.
Mark the pieces so they don't get mixed up.
Cut out all the fabric pieces and sew the dress as instructed. Stop before sewing the center back seam.
With right sides together, stitch the front lower hem to the back lower hem at the side seams, finish the seams and press.
Now that you have the dress sewn together, measure around the bottom of the dress and cut a piece of lace long enough to fit. Add a couple inches to make sure you've cut it long enough.
Fold the bottom hem of the dress under 1/4" and press. Fold another 1/4" and press.
Do the same on the lower hem piece, along the top. Fold the top under 1/4", press, fold again 1/4" and press.
Pin the lace to the bottom of the dress, placing the right side of the lace onto the wrong side of the dress. Align the edge of the lace with the hem crease.
Stitch the lace in place on the dress.
Flip the dress to the right side and edgestitch the bottom of the hem to the dress. The two rows of stitching will keep the edges of the dress neat on both the inside and outside.
Repeat the last two steps for the lower hem pieces.
We used a slightly scalloped lace for this insertion, which worked fine. You may just need to adjust the position of the lace a little if your lace has a shaped edge like this.
Finish sewing the dress, putting in the back zipper, sewing the back seam, and hemming. You may want to shorten the lining on the dress, unless you're using a natural color that won't be obvious through the lace.
And there you are, a simple insertion that you can use on just about any skirt, dress, sleeve… you name it.
For a totally different take on this dress using an insertion, check out this daisy insertion I did during my Spring Palette Challenge project earlier this year. I used a silk-linen blend fabric for that dress, removed the sleeves, added basically a big ruffle for a cape neckline, and did an insertion using vintage daisy trim.
Thanks for joining me today for this stop on the tour! To see the other blogs that are participating and enter the giveaway to win a copy of the book plus five sewing patterns of your own choice, visit my post about the blog tour.