Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Announcing My Australia Trip!

Readers, this trip has been in the works for a while and now it's coming up FAST! In just two weeks I will be flying to the land down under to promote my new fabric line at Spotlight Stores and to do a series of dressmaking workshops.

Here is a breakdown of my workshops and other events! (Please note that some details still need to be posted in places; I will update as necessary.)


Tuesday, May 2nd, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: Everton Park Spotlight Store, Meet & Greet and Book Signing.

Tuesday May 2nd, 3:30 to 5:30 pm: Mount Gravatt Spotlight Store, Meet & Greet and Book Signing.

SOLD OUT! Wednesday and Thursday, May 3rd and 4th: Two Day Dressmaking Workshop at Needlefruit. Please click here for all the details and to register! Two full fabulous days of fitting and sewing technique.

Thursday, May 4th, 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Drinks and Meet & Greet at Needlefruit. Register here.


Friday, May 5th, 6:00 to 7:00 pm: Bayswater Spotlight StoreMeet & Greet and Book Signing.

SOLD OUT! Saturday and Sunday, May 6th and 7th, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm: Two Day Dressmaking Workshop at Bayswater Spotlight Store. Two full fabulous days of fitting and sewing technique. Registration details will be posted in the next day or so. In the meantime, you can email me at if you are interested in this class; I will be handling the registrations.

Saturday, May 6th, 7:00 to 9:00 pm: Thread Den Q&A Evening. A fun evening of drinks, "Sew & Tell" and, chatting about my dresses, sewing patterns, books, blog and more!


Wednesday May 10th, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: Lidcombe Spotlight Store, Meet and Greet and Book Signing

Thursday May 11th, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm: Castle Hill Spotlight Store, Meet and Greet and Book Signing

Friday, May 12th, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm: Q&A Evening at Bobbin and Ink. The event will be live on this page at 10 am 4/19.

SOLD OUT! Saturday and Sunday, May 13th and 14th, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm: Two Day Dressmaking Workshop at Bobbin and Ink. Please contact the store for details.

I look forward to meeting all of you!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Melbourne Two-Day Dressmaking Course

Update: Oh my goodness, the class filled up in minutes! Please stay tuned for details of the Spotlight competition (there will be two spaces given away in this class) and see this post for all my other Melbourne events. I want to meet you all! xoxo

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be offering a two-day dressmaking course in Melbourne, Australia, at the Bayswater Spotlight Store. Spotlight is sponsoring this class at a special rate and space is extremely limited. 

Here are the details!

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 6th and 7th. 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day.

Where: Bayswater Spotlight Store

Cost: $240 AUD. You will be invoiced via Paypal once your registration is accepted; please make your payment within 24 hours to keep your space. 

Class Description: Using Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book, students will learn fit a basic bodice pattern and walk away with your own custom variation of a sleeveless dress. There will be a strong focus on fit, with everyone being custom-fitted by me. You will spend the rest of the class learning my tested techniques for sewing and pressing darts, creating perfectly neat all-in-one facing, a vintage-style lapped zipper and much more.
Your finished dress will come together using a choice of the basic jewel neckline, V-neck, or elegant narrow shoulder. Students will choose to pair with this with one of three skirts (A-Line, Three-Quarter, or Pencil) to make the dress your own.
Skill Level: This class is not suited to absolute beginners. It is for people who are confident with using their sewing machine, reading patterns, and who have completed several garments before, including at least one dress. 
Supplies: Machines are provided by Spotlight. Students must bring their own copy of Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book (copies will be available to buy on the first day of the workshop), basic sewing supplies, fabric, thread, interfacing, and a zipper. (Detailed supply list will be provided upon registration.)
How to Register
Fill out the form hereOnce your registration is accepted, I will send you a Paypal invoice via email. Please pay the invoice within 24 hours, or your space will be given to the next person on the list. 
Space is very limited, but please keep in mind that I will be doing other events in Melbourne. Also, Spotlight will be a running a competition for two more spaces in this workshop (details to come). So if you miss out, you may still win a spot!

I hope to meet you soon!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

B6453 Sew Along: Hemming the Dress!

This is the last post on sewing your dress, everyone! Time to hem. 

Let's start with View A. Press the entire hem to the inside of the dress 3/4".
Then turn in the upper edge of the fabric by 1/4" and press. I had serged my fabric so I had an easy edge to turn in (I confess this was sort of unintentional; sometimes I serge the lower edge of the fabric as a matter of course before I construct the seams). Another option would have been to leave the serged edge exposed on the inside, without doing another fold.
Stitch along the edge of the hem fold all around the dress. I like to use my edgestitch foot for this.
Give the whole thing a final press and you're done!

For view B, start by finishing the lower edges of the slit opening. Turn the 1" slit to the outside of the dress and pin at the lower edge.
Stitch along the lower edge, using a 1" seam allowance.
Trim diagonally into the corner fold to reduce bulk.
Turn the corner right side out and press. Turn up and press the rest of the hem 1" to the inside of the dress.
 Turn the upper raw edge of the hem in 1/4". You can kind of open out the hem and use the tip of your iron to do this.

Turn the entire hem to the inside of the dress again (it's now 3/4" wide). Pin in place.

Edge stitch along the fold of the hem all the way around. Done!

Two finished dresses!
I hope you all have enjoyed the sew along! The Facebook Group is still growing like crazy and is very active. I've loved doing this one. I'll be running more in the future, and have some exciting news about what's next, so please stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

B6453 Sew Along: The Facing

We're so close! Today I'm going to show you the steps for attaching the facing, so you'll finally have a nice finished neckline edge.

Start by ironing your interfacing on to your facing pieces. I make sure to always use a press cloth and a spritz of water for this step, and hold the iron in place until the glue fuses (don't rub!).

Next, sew the front facing to the back facings at the side seams. The pieces look a little funny, so just remember that there are notches to help you match everything up. You can always refer back to your tissue pattern pieces if you're unsure as well. 

Press the seams open. 

Finish the lower edges of the facing unit by serging, pinking, or zigzagging. 

With the interfaced side up, turn in the left back seam allowance 3/4". This is where the overlap side of the zipper goes. 

Next, I highly recommend drawing in your stitching lines on your facing at the strap connection points. These points are a little tricky to sew because of all the pivoting. I used a mechanical pencil and my clear gridded ruler to draw in the stitching lines, which are 5/8" from the edges. 

With the straps down and out of the way, pin the facing unit to the dress all the way around the neckline, taking special care that the straps are positioned between the pivot points you marked in above. I put a pin on either side of the strap to keep it from slipping, like so:
Continue to pin all the way around the neckline, matching underarms and notches. 
At the overlap side of your zipper, the overlap will extend 1/8" past the facing.
And remember that you turned in the upper edge so they won't match there either. They'll look like this.
On the underlap side, the facing will extend 5/8" past the underlap.
Stitch all the way around the neckline, carefully pivoting at the strap connection points. You'll need to keep repositioning the straps as you stitch. Go slowly!
Check your stitching at these points; it's still easy to correct things if anything looks funny. 

I want you to promise me that you will now take lots of time and care trimming, grading, and clipping your seam allowances! Start by cutting diagonally across any corners. 

Then trim the facing seam allowances down to about 1/8", and the dress seam allowances to about 1/4" (this is called grading and it reduces bulk in your seam allowances.)

Clip carefully into your seam allowances around the neckline and armhole curves. These clips should be about 1/2" apart. They will help your curves lay flat rather than bunching. 

Pull the straps to the outside. 

Next, you'll understitch your facings. Stitch about 1/8" away from the seamline on the facing, keeping the seam allowances pressed toward the facing so you catch them in your stitching. Keep the seam very smooth and taut as you sew. 
The straps are going to interfere with your understitching because it gets too tight and small to continue. Go as far as you can near each strap, and then back stitch and break your stitching. Start again on the other side of the strap. 

Press your facing to the inside. Doesn't it look lovely! 

You'll need to pin the facings in place on either side of the zipper tape and then slip stitch them in place. 

At the underarm seams, tack the facings in place used a doubled up strand of thread and taking several stitches on top of each other. 

All that's left now is the hem!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

B6453 Sew Along: The Zipper!

Okay, it's time to sew the lapped zipper. I almost always use lapped zippers in my dresses because it gives them that vintage look. Lapped zippers aren't difficult, but they do take practice. The more you do, the easier they are! I don't mark or baste my zippers. If this method doesn't work for you, there are many tutorials out there showing other methods.

Start by turning in and stitching the excess tape at the top of the zipper. You can stitch this by machine if you use a zipper foot.

Next we'll finish off the back neckline on the left side of the zipper opening. Turn the seam allowance to the outside of the dress and pin.

Now stitch across the seam allowance at the upper back neckline.

Clip into the stitching and trim the rest down so it looks like this.

Turn the seam allowance to the inside of the dress, forming a finished corner at the upper edge. Press this side of the seam allowance in 5/8" all the way down the zipper opening.

On the other side of the zipper opening (the right side as you're looking at the outside of the dress), press in the seam allowance 1/2" all the way down.

Because the seam allowance isn't pressed in the full amount, you'll have a tiny 1/8" underlap at the base of the zipper opening.

Now that your seam allowances are prepped, it's time to install the zipper. Start on the right side (as you're looking at the garment). This is the underlap side of the lapped zipper. Place the zipper behind the pressed seam allowance, so that the fold of fabric is right next to the zipper teeth. The zipper should start 5/8" down from the raw edge of fabric at the neckline.

Pin all the way down and then stitch the zipper in place using a zipper foot on your machine. Open the zipper and stitch as close to the fold of fabric as you can.

Now pin the overlap side of the zipper. Start at the waist. Close the zipper again and pin the seam allowance in place so that it just covers the line of stitching you did in the last step.

Your pins go the to left of the zipper teeth. Pin all the way down to the base of the zipper, and then al the way up to the neckline.

Here's a video to help you understand this step.

Once you've pinned, open the zipper again and top stitch the overlap side of the zipper at 3/8", using a mark on your needle plate to guide your seam allowance as usual (keep in mind that you may have needed to change your needle position for your zipper foot, so this will change the distance of your needle from the marks on your plate. Measure if you're unsure!).

When you get to the point you see below, that means you need to close the zipper again (with the needle all the way down!).

Close the zipper and finish off the topstitching in as straight a line as you can (align your presser foot with your previous stitching to guide you). When you get to the base of the zipper opening, pivot and stitch straight across the bottom of the zipper (beware any metal stops that may break your needle).

Your zipper is in! I know that's a lot to process, so please let me know if you have any questions!

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