25 April 2011

Sew-Along Day 1, Cutting out the pattern pieces

Welcome, everyone, to the Portfolio Dress Sew-Along hosted by Gwenny Penny and Pickup Some Creativity.  I'm Chris, if you're new around here.  Nice to sew along with you!

I’m so excited to be collaborating with Gwen on this project. Our sew along was even mentioned on the Lisette blog! How cool is that?!? If you follow along with us, you will have a Portfolio Dress by the end of the week. We have a Flickr group set up so you can share your dresses with everyone. If you fall behind or don’t have time to keep up, don’t worry. We are going to wait until next Friday, May 6th to feature people’s dresses. This will give you some extra time to finish up. If you are playing along and haven't grabbed a button yet, there's a grab box in my sidebar.

Today I'm covering preparing all the pattern pieces we need, while Gwen will cover Steps 1-5.  Be sure to click over to her blog for the next installment.

So, you've purchased your pattern and fabric, and gathered all your sewing goodies!  Be sure to wash your fabric, treating it as you will the finished garment, and then iron it smooth.

Take out your pattern, read through all the directions, and then open up the large sheets with your pattern pieces.  I STRONGLY recommend you use tissue paper or freezer paper and trace all the pattern pieces you need to make the dress.  This way, you preserve all the sizes, and if it turns our you need a bigger size like I did, you can easily resize.  Be sure to include all the pattern markings.  They are critical in making sewing your dress a smooth process.

UPDATE!  For a great discussion on all the parts of your fabric, see Disney's blog HERE.
Ready to layout your pattern pieces?  First, let's begin with the contrast pieces.  You should have about half a yard or so of fabric for the cuffs and neckline.  The best part about tracing pattern pieces, is that you can make extras if you need to.  For example, we need a total of four back neck band pieces, and two front neck band pieces cut on the fold.  If you've made copies, it makes laying out everything so much easier.  Please also pay attention to those long arrows on your pattern pieces.  They indicate the direction of the grain of the fabric, and need to be laid out so the arrow is parallel with the grain of the fabric.

Here is how I got all the contrast pieces on my half yard of fabric:

Carefully cut each pattern piece out.  Where the triangles are, you can either cut a little mark in, or cut a triangle that is a mirror image.

After you cut out your pieces, you'll want to transfer the sewing marks to your fabric.  I use tracing paper and my great-grandma's Tack-It.  You can use a chopstick, too. Or a pencil.  Slip the tracing paper in-between the two pattern pieces.  Then make a small mark where each circle is.

Just be sure you have those marks on the WRONG side of your fabric.

It should look like this:

You're ready to move onto the dress pieces.  If you're doing view A, you should have five pattern pieces, #1,3,5,4, and 9.  I like to work on either the floor for this big piece of fabric, or my kitchen table if my back is sore.

Follow the diagram in the pattern as best you can.  I was able to use the space between piece #5 and the fold to cut out my sleeve pieces (#9). I just cut them one at a time.

I also found it easier to work on one half of the fabric at a time.  As you cut out the dress pieces, make sure you mark the triangles.  They are your registration marks for matching up the pattern as you go.  Carefully mark all the dots indicated on the pattern.

Finally, cut out the pieces that need interfacing.  This includes the contrast cuffs for the sleeves and the neck band pieces.  I like to cut the interfacing a teeny bit larger than the pattern piece.  It gives me a little wiggle room when I iron them together.

Now you're ready to start sewing!  Head on over to Gwen's blog, and she'll walk you through steps 1-5.  The cutting out and preparation are always the hardest part for me.  Congratulations...you're ready for the fun stuff!

10 happy thoughts:

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Thanks Chris!
I was having a great deal of difficulty with the sizing on this pattern because I am between sizes. I don't know if anyone else is, so I just thought I'd share this link about the sizing issue, in case anyone is interested!


Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Great advice on tracing the pattern first, Chris. I used freezer paper because I HATE pinning patterns, especially that ultra thin pattern paper. And thanks for leaving the sizing link for everyone, KJ!

A.Vang said...

Hi there! I am a brand new sewer and patterns like the one you are using scare me to death! I am so excited to see this amazing sew-a-long. I am coming a little late but I am going to see if I can find this pattern and catch up! Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!!

Aimee said...

I for the life of me can not find what pattern you are using.

Chris said...

@AimeeI'm so sorry for that! It's Simplicity 2245. You can see more information on the pattern here:
Portfolio Dress

Yan Hong Lowson said...

I've just found your and gwenny penny's blog and sewalong. I'm a new garment sewer, only ever made one dress, should we wash the interfacing too? Thank you.

Leamonteach said...

Hi. (Long after the sew along!) This is great, as I have sewed a lot of skirts and pj pants, but have had no luck with dresses. Hoping to break that curse! However, I did want to ask. . . isn't it pattern part 6 that should be on the fold? Just a labeling error if the dress turned out okay, but I thought I'd ask. Thanks again for doing all this work. I hate this step, and I bet it would be MORE of a pain if I had to write about it! So kind of you!

chris said...

@LeamonteachIf you'll look at the first photo, #6 is on the fold. In the second picture what you don't see is me folding the fabric over after cutting out the other pieces. Great question. :)

Mowki Fraggle said...

I'm looking to buy a copy of this pattern. If anyone is ready to part with theirs I'd be really grateful!

chris said...

@Mowki Fraggle Hi there. I just found out that Liesel has released an updated version of the dress. Here's the link: Cappuccino Dress

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