I decided to do a Vida sew along this week. Hopefully I will get it done before we leave town tomorrow to pick the kids up. What’s the sewing equivalent of your eyes being larger than your stomach? Cause I have that, bad. I want to finish this sew along, make a dress for my mother and make some pj pants for Jacob. By tomorrow, of course. What? Quit chattering about it and get started? Ok!
The first step is to decide what fabrics you want and how many different ones. Look at some vidas to get some ideas. I’ll wait:
As Megan has so helpfully modeled here, you need fabric for the top front piece, top back piece, the top and back middle pieces, four side pieces, two bottom pieces, straps, lining and any ruffles you want to add.
Ok, now that you’ve collected your fabric, spread out the directions and start tracing. I traced everything onto tissue paper and then add a seam allowance. Tom has a really great technique of putting two pencils together with a rubber band and tracing the pattern. I trace the pattern, then take my ruler and draw dots 1/4 inch out and then connect the dots. Do NOT add extra seam allowance at the fold markings. Whatever way you choose to add the seam allowance, remember how much you added and sew that amount! The only pieces I don’t add seam allowances to are the straps. They are wide enough without adding anything. Do yourself a favor, and copy all markings: grainlines, fold markings, numbers and descriptions. That will save yourself from wondering, what size did I make last time? Oh, a 7/8! Here are all my pattern pieces all cut out:
Now that I am all spread out on the floor, I always find my helper comes running. This is not my relunctant helper who grumbles while running errands, but my ball fetching helper, who will put his squeaky ball right on my delicate tissue paper pattern pieces until I throw it for him:
Shoo away any helpers and let’s get started cutting. Start with your cutting list. You need (1) front upper bodice cut one time on a fold. Next is (2) back upper bodice, also cut one time on a fold. I used the same fabric for both these pieces so it’s pretty easy:
Next is (3) front and back middle section, cut two of these on a fold. Some people like to do big appliques on this section. I like to cheat and use a pillowcase!
Next is (4) front and back lower section, cut two of these on a fold.
Now the sides (5). Let’s talk about the grainline first. On this piece the grainline is running diagonal across the pattern piece. What does this mean? How do you place it?
When you place a pattern piece straight up and down you are following the grainline. When you run a piece diagonal you are following the bias. The bias has more give and stretches a little, while the grainline does not. That is why more patterns follow the grainline; you don’t want your garment to stretch in a weird way and hang funny. Conversely, that is how we get bias tape. We want a little stretchiness in bias tape so we can curve it around sleeve holes and other curves. Bias tape and other bindings is cut on the bias, diagonally across the fabric. You are going to pin piece (5) so that the grainline marking is straight up and down with the fabric, like this:
Now I am doing the same fabric for the front and back so I left the fabric folded. If you are doing different fabric for the front and back side pieces you will want to unfold, cut one piece and then turn upside down (so your markings are facing the fabric) and pin and cut out. Then repeat for the second fabric. I am using the same dots so here is my second set of (5) pieces:
Last are the straps (6) and front and back lining pieces (7) and (8). Cut out 2 straps and one lining piece each on the fold.
Hey you are almost done! You just need to cut out any ruffles if you want them. Most people put ruffles on the top and bottom of the middle piece, so measure the width of the top and bottom and double for the ruffle. I am going to do one regular ruffle on the bottom so I cut strips to equal 24 x 5 inches and one “Euro” ruffle on the top so I cut a strip 22 x 3.5 inches. I double over my ruffles so I take my desired finished ruffle length (2 for the regular ruffle and 1.5 for the Euro ruffle), double it and add 1/2 inch seam allowance. It’s totally a personal preference though. Instead of ruffles, you can also add ric rac or other trim.
Time to take a break! Stay tuned for Part Two!