Monday, September 16, 2013

Sew Simple A1636, Tutorial Part 1

Today I wanted to share a pattern that I thought would make a good "Go To" dress for just about any size, shape, or age.  I found this pattern at my local Walmart a few weeks back and after reviewing it a few times, I decided I would share this sewing experience with you.

The first thing we will need to do is gather all the items that will be needed to begin/complete our project.
1. The pattern Sew Simple A1636 (A Simplicity line pattern).
2.  Size 10/12 will need 2 3/8 yds of fabric and Size 14 thru 18 will need 2 1/2 yds.

3.  1 package of 1/2" wide single fold bias tape.
4.  1 package of 1/4" wide elastic.
5.  Matching colored thread.
6.  Pins/weights to secure your pattern to your fabric.
7.  A trusty pair of scissors.
8. Lightweight  fusible interfacing.

I am showing hem tape for this dress, but I possibly will not be using it, so feel free to leave it off if you would like or do not know how to apply it.

The pattern gives a kind of vague fabric options list, but I believe that there are many different options for this type of dress, so I chose 3 yds. of 100% cotton that I already had in my stash.  When I look at this pattern, I see it as casual wear, but if it is made out of a more luxurious fabric, it would become something different.  Satin, charmeuse, silk, linen, gauze, crepe de chine, all of these fabrics have different properties and I believe they would serve this pattern well, even a nice chambrey would make this dress something special.

Before you begin this project, please read over the directions several times.  It is better to read the directions and look at the illustrations, so that you will have a clear understanding of what you are going to be doing, than to run blind and mess up.  This project is going to be simple with no frustration and the end result will be a beautiful dress that you can be proud of.  Now, let's get started with our new adventure in sewing something nice for ourselves.

To begin, I did not check my sizing because I knew I would be using 3 yds, which is more than what is called for even on the largest size.  On the back of your pattern there is a size chart for sizes 10 - 18.  The bust, waist, and hip measurements are given in approximation to this particular pattern.  If you have not taken your measurements lately for yourself, let's take a few minutes and jot those down so that we can get figured out which size we will be making.  

On the average, I measure myself almost every time  I make something for myself, but the measurements never seem to change,,,hmmm, maybe I should be exercising if I want the numbers to change.  Any who, my bust measures at 41 1/2", my waist is 36", and my hips are 41".  If I go by the chart on the back of the envelope, my size would be 18, if not 20.  You would think that this is all you need for your correct sizing, but you are not done calculating your size just yet.  The chart that is at the bottom gives you the Finished Garment Measurements.  If I go by the finished garment sizing, my size would be a 12.  So, I have to think rationally and combine the 2 measurements so that they make sense according to the measurements that I just took. 

The finished garment measurements measure the final garment at 48", but my tape measure says I am 41 1/2", so that means that if I want more room in the bust, I will use the size 18.  If  I want the top part of the dress to be a little more fitted, I should cut the 16, which has a finished bust of 46".  I want my dress to be blousy, but not excessively, so I chose the size 16.

Now that we have chosen our size for this project we can begin by laying out our fabric (pattern pieces should already be cut) and placing the pattern pieces according to the cutting layout on the instruction sheet.  

You will notice that I had weights in the first picture, but I decided to forgo the weights and use pins instead because there are pockets that were doubled, the sash belt is long and I wanted to cut everything out at one time.  You may also notice that I have not completely trimmed my pattern down to a size 16.  The reason being is that if I choose to grade the pattern from an 18 to a 16, I can mark my pattern for changes, but I actually cut everything to a size 16 as not to confuse myself or you.

So, once you have all your pieces laid out onto your fabric and pinned down, check it.  Make sure your lines are all even with the center fold line and even on the ends and outside edges.  Remember to old adage of measure twice and cut once.  If all of your pieces are coming up to par, you can begin your first cut.  

Once you have all the pieces cut out, go over each piece and make sure that all of you tabs are cut and markings are marked.
The notches and markings are important to the process of making any garment.  They help you keep an eye on the positioning and placement of your fabric pieces
When all of your pieces are clearly marked you can proceed with what I call a dry assembly (pinning).  I began with the skirt and the pockets.  Here is something that is a little tricky if you are not paying attention.  If you are planning on setting in matching pattern pockets, instead of a solid coordinate pockets, be sure to turn the patterned side to the the patterned side of the skirt (put right sides together).

This is what the dry assembly should look like.  Pin both sets of pockets the skirt front and skirt back.  After you pin the pockets take note of the dots that you marked earlier.  The dots are a line for the pocket opening.  I drew a line to remind myself how far down I should sew once I begin to join my skirt pieces together.  
Ok, this much takes care of the bottom half of the dress, so now it's on to the top part.  The top has facing pieces and those 2 pieces need to be infused with interfacing.  I used a lightweight interfacing and I believe the lighter the weight on this dress the better it will be for the garment as a whole.  I took the pattern piece from the fabric piece so that I could cut an accurate interfacing.  Once I was done with the interfacing it was time to attach it to the fabric.  

TIP:  When using interfacing, you may wonder which side is the correct side use against the wrong side of your fabric.  The rough, bumpy side is the side that has the fusing on it and this is the side that should face the wrong side of your fabric.  The opposite side should be fairly smooth to the touch.  This side is the side that faces outward.
When applying your interfacing to your fabric you want to use the correct heat settings for both your fabric and the interfacing.  I set my iron to cotton, but I used very little steam.
Most of the time I use a cotton towel as my drop cloth.  It helps to absorb extra moisture.  If you use a towel be sure that the bumps from the nap doesn't leave an imprint on your fabric.  You want this process to be smooth and go smooth.

Begin adhering your interfacing (after you have completely aligned the hole fabric area) at one side (end) and very slowly press downward until you have pressed the whole facing piece.  Don't move your iron back and forth the way you would as if you were ironing clothes.  You want to give the sticky side and opportunity to actually stick to the fabric. 
Once you have finished applying the interfacing, you may notice that your markings have disappeared.  My advice is to simply remark(invisible ink pen) them so that you will be able to see them once you begin the construction process,  

Well, with all the work that we have done today, we are finished with a lot of the preparation work.  Tomorrow we will continue with anything that I have left off and we will begin construction.  Until tomorrow, LOLPOH,  Dellia