Happy Monday! It was an action packed weekend in our house: celebrating our anniversary, a big farm breakfast in the country, a strawberry festival downtown, and ending with attending a local music awards show with my husband’s family. The kiddos are well worn out, and I have to admit I am too. I had to keep myself from running into the quilt store downtown and buying some linen to make yet another version of this dress. Really digging into this pattern has made me anxious to test it out in a bunch of different fabrics and make all the versions I haven’t gotten to yet. I may be able to squeeze in time for one more by the end of the sew-along if the kiddos bless me with some sleep (haha, right?).
Highlight of the weekend for the kiddos: meeting the baby calves.
I hope everyone’s fabric shopping went well and you’re excited to cut! The cutting layout will differ depending on the size you’re cutting, so make sure to take a look at the specific size range for your suggested layout. For instance, at size 2 you stop being able to cut the body of the dress side by side and have to nest the pieces in the underarm curve, and by size 4 you have to completely stagger or cut under the first. Here’s how mine went!
Fabric considerations: Depending on which view you’re making, you’ll have a few different fabrics to work with. The dress I’m making is View A: Fabric A is used for the yoke, lower band, pocket bands, and button loop, and Fabric B is used for the body of the dress and the pockets. It’s hard to tell from the back of the envelope which is which, and it’s only spelled out on the cutting diagram, so take note. You’ll want to make sure you purchased enough fabric for the section you intend to use it for.
General cutting notes: Pay attention to the arrow pointing down each piece. This is the grainline, and you want to make sure it lays exactly parallel to your selvedge edges every time you cut. To do this, measure across from the selvedge to the arrow at both ends to make sure they measure the same before you pin your pattern down. The arrow also conveniently points downward on the garment, so if you have a directional print you know how to orient the piece.
Each size also has its own dash sequence to help you follow when the lines get close together. The sizes are indicated on each piece as well, but it’s nice to keep the key handy. Next to it is a key for various helpful markings as well.
Confession time, I cut this awhile ago. I wanted to use this fabric to be the piping on the puppet show shorts, so I quick block cut out the pieces to make sure I’d have what I wanted.
The yoke on this pattern is one piece where I trace off the specific size I’m using and don’t try to bend it back to my cut line. The lines are so close together, it’s all too easy to miscut. Either take the time to trace onto a separate paper or if you have a digital copy, print it out and tape together every time you make a new size.
On all other pieces, I cheat and just fold back the pattern to the size I’m cutting and go. You can take the time to trace off or reprint and tape if you want a version that’s easy to use for each size, I’m just lazy. The cutting layout is pretty straightforward for these pieces, just follow the diagram and line up your pieces on the fabric as indicated paying attention to the selvedge edges and the fold line. I have a small repeating pattern fabric for my fabric, which I took the time to center down every piece. I also really love the pink hearts in particular, and chose to center those top to bottom within the pieces as well as side to side. I lost a tiny bit of fabric doing this, but still well within the allowances.
Onto Fabric B:
If you have any questions about prints specifically, you can go back and read about cutting a directional print that I did for the pinwheel dress. I always like to start by cutting the large body pieces, and pick my print placement for the front center of the dress. If you’re making view A, the dress with pockets, your chest area above the pockets is where I like to center a motif. For my print, I wanted to make sure the colors would look balanced to the right and left of center, including houses and Lil’ Red figures also on either side. I test a placement by placing some pins down a center line and then putting my pattern piece over the top and looking through. I can move it around and adjust until I like the cut, remembering that you won’t see the print in the seam allowances. Make sure again that your grainline is running perfectly parallel to the selvedge of the fabric before you cut by measuring the arrow at the top and bottom. The grainline isn’t always marked on the center of each piece however, so if you want a reference point to center, fold the pattern in half and crease before you start moving it around.
When I cut pieces, I don’t always cut the triangle outwards like we were taught in HomeEc. Most of the time on a fairly tightly woven fabric or knit, I just snip a tiny cut inward, no more than 1/8″ to 1/4″. It’s enough for me to know where the mark should be and takes less awkward hand angling of the scissors than cutting outward triangles. I do take the time to cut them if I’m using a loosely woven linen or using very small seam allowances when I would want the seam allowance intact. You can always mark these with a marking pencil or chalk too if you’d like.
When cutting the second piece, most of the time I use the layout as specified. With a small print, a solid, or even a large yet random print, the placement of the back doesn’t bother me as much (although I do try to make sure that anything linear will run around the body and not have a jarring change at the side seam). This print is so specific, I really wanted it to be the same. I just picked up my piece and moved it down the yardage to the next pattern repeat, laying all the edges around so the print matched up, and cut. You shouldn’t need to align your grain perfectly if you did so the first time.
For this dress, sometimes I cut the pockets with a motif centered (like centering a character or a flower). This time I didn’t want a different pattern to interrupt the flow of the print, so I cut the pockets to match where they would end up on the dress. I placed the pocket piece on the dress body piece where it would be, accounting for seam allowances, and drew the print with my disappearing ink marker onto the pocket pattern piece (you can do this with pencil if you want to be able to erase and do it again next time).
Then I was easily able to find where to lay it on my fabric and cut. Since the pockets are slightly canted, they won’t be identical cuts. Repeat this process for both sides and label them right and left. I do this in the seam allowance at the top so I don’t have to worry about the marks coming out.
All done! Wasn’t too bad, right? As long as you don’t fret too much about all your patterns aligning like I do, it shouldn’t be too much of a brain twister. The nice part about this dress is that you don’t have to do any pre-finishing like serging of pieces now; that’s all done during the sewing process. So kick back and relax, and I’ll see you on Thursday to start the sewing!
Also in this series: Sew-along announcement