Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2020 is a wonderful year of health and happiness. I made it to midnight, but just barely. I’m getting old!
I left off yesterday by basting, pinning, and sewing down the pleats on the upper drape. For stability, I’m going to sew the edges down, then attach a foundation to the back before sewing to the lower drape.
Trace off the pattern piece using waxed paper. Notice the shape of the dart here: I used a French dart that will curve with the shape of the wearer’s body. I also chose to use silk organza as the foundation’s fabric. I want something light that presses easily and won’t get in the way.
Sew down the dart using a slightly smaller stitch length. I used 2.2 and don’t worry about the thread, no one’s going to see it!
After sewing the dart, I slashed along the middle and pressed the seam open. Before trimming the seam allowances to about 1/2”, I ran a stitch around the parameter. It’ll make it much easier to keep track of and press the seam allowances down.
Here you can see what I mean. Much easier to keep track of thread tracing than the tiny white wax line that melts as you press!
Before attaching the foundation to the pleats, I quickly sewed some silk organza selvedge to the neckline to help keep it from stretching. A running stitch will do just fine here. Check the right side before you pull the needle through to make sure your stitches aren’t visible! Yes, it’s a lot of going back and forth, but you’ll be glad you did it later!
Trim away the drape seam allowances to about 1”. I just hacked away here and then immediately fooled over the basting stitch and pinned. Work one side at a time; if you cut both edges, you risk one side fraying and turning into a mess before you get a chance to sew it down! Catch stitch the fold down using chunky stitches. I make sure to catch a nice piece of lace in each upper stitch. These don’t need to be pretty, you can sew to the pleats and it will be invisible.
However, be careful. The upper length of the drape doesn’t attach to a drape. Here, you’ll need to take bites out of the silk organza only. You can see my needle picking up a few threads of it. Sew firmly, but don’t pull—you’ll end up with unsightly puckers or even tear the fabric. Just like before, check the right side to make sure you don’t sew through.
Now the fun part! See all those beads in the seam allowance? They need to go; they’re just adding bulk to the drape and it won’t lie as flat as we’d like if they stay. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to do the trick. It’s not difficult to pop the beads, but wear some kind of eye protection. Bits of beads will be flying everywhere!
Here’s what was left from one side. Give your fabric a good shake and they should fall out pretty easily. For anything pesky, I find a mild brushing gets rid of them. I don’t use any kind of glue to keep threads from raveling further. Stitching the foundation to the drape with a fell stitch takes care of that.
I’ve lined up the basting threads to my stay stitching on the foundation. I’m placing it just a hair in the seam allowance to ensure it’s not visible from the right side. Careful fell stitching attaches it firmly to the drape. Again, keep checking the right side to make sure you don’t sew through. Only sew the foundation on the long neckline and lower seams. Leave the shoulder, side, and waist seams open, in case you need to make adjustments during a fitting.
Meanwhile, trim the neckline seam of the lower drape to about 1”. I went to about 1 1/2” because turning the pleats will probably require more slack. Use wide catchstitches to hold it down.
Pin the two necklines together. Position in the lower drape just under the lace upper drape. You’d an see the two lines to stay stitching are just touching. Fell stitch the two together. As always, make sure you check your work on the right side to make sure you’re not sewing through! (Have I said that enough?)
And here’s our progress so far. Looking good! Next, we’ll attach the side seams to the back, make the shoulder strap, and begin work on the velvet skirt.