Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maternity Dress: Beginnings

Yesterday I began work on my maternity dress!

The pattern is Hollywood 1366, from 1944.

As you all know, after cutting and marking your pattern, the first order of business is to take care of all darts.

Which made me curious--how do you like to prepare your darts?  
I am not exactly sure where I learned how to finish darts, although I know it was through one or two of my old dressmaking books.  And maybe a little trial and error. ;)  
Here is how I do darts.

First, I always stitch my darts from the wide end to the skinny end.

You never want to backstitch at the tip of a dart--it adds too much bulk.  However you don't want that end unraveling--it is pretty crucial to the form of your garment!  Thus I like to tie off my threads at the tip, clipping the excess threads to a little less that 1/4".

For darts that are going to get a lot of lovin', such as the bust darts, I stitch a line of reinforcement stitches about 1/16" away from the dart line and tie off the same.  The reinforcement does not need to stretch the length of the dart--only the last inch or so.


Ok, on to bigger things!
So this dress has side front panels that are rather triangle-shaped (they look like a vest here) and a front  panel that is straight and attached to the inner seams of the side fronts.  That sounds confusing, but it will make sense in a minute. :D

So I made darts in the bodice side fronts and back.  The bodice front didn't need any work done to it prior to joining.

Next I had to put together the waistline belt ties!  I decided to cut these on the bias to contrast with the rest of the dress, which is cut on the grain.  I personally like the belt/tie to stick out a little. :)  

BTW, isn't this great fabric?  I love it!  Bought it at a thrift store the other day.  Six yards for $3!  Oh yeah.

Once I turned the ties, I topstitched 1/8" around the outer edges to lend some solidarity, especially since they are cut on the bias and will be prone to stretch a bit.

Next I basted the ties onto the bodice front (forgot to take a picture of that one, sorry!) and then joined the bodice front to the bodice sides.  This is how the belt will be tied--it wraps around the back and then comes around to tie in the front.  Well, until you get more pregnant, that is!  

Here is a side view.  See how the front panel goes straight down and the sides are tucked underneath?  Snaps will hold this in place.  There will be several snaps on the bodice side panel for adjustments as your belly grows.

Here's what it looks like all the way out!

So I did make one foolish blunder.  Well, two.  First of all, I got overzealous and forgot to plan out what sort of seam finishing I was going to do.  I joined the front to the sides and was about to stitch the back to the front at the shoulder seams when it occurred to me that I was going to have to finish the front seams first (duh!).  This fabric is loosely woven, so it definitely needed some good finishing.

I decided to turn under my seam edges and hand stitch, like so.  I have completely forgotten what this particular finish is called, but I love the way it looks.

Which brings me to my second blunder.  I made inverted notches when cutting out the pattern.  Not a good idea on loosely woven fabrics!  I had to do some major stitching-down at every spot where there was a notch.  Just hoping that it holds up.  Oh Bessie.

Here is the end result!

Looks pretty nice!  Today, if I have time, I am going to finish finishing front seams and hopefully attach the bodice back to the bodice front.  I may do french seams in the skirt, just to save time.  Plus, french seams are pretty darn sturdy. :)

So what kinds of techniques do you like to use when making darts?  How about seam finishes?  Do you have a go-to favorite?

Have a great weekend!


P.S. Found a nice seam finishing tutorial here.  Check it out!


Clare Ryan said...

Yes, that fabric is really lovely. The dress looks great so far... I LOVE the pattern you chose. Hollywood patterns are always such fun.

God bless you!

andreak said...

Very nice. I hate how loosely woven fabric ravels so quickly. Hope you are feeling well.