Saturday, September 3, 2011

Make Yourself a Dress, Part 3

In the last post in this series, I talked about trimming the pattern, pinning it to the fabric, and cutting the fabric. Now it's time to mark the fabric. Marking the fabric precisely as the pattern directs is the difference between a garment that fits, and one that looks like a hot mess. Mine may still wind up a hot mess, but not for lack of trying. So, onward!

Make Yourself a Dress, Part 3: Mark that Biotch

As I said before, I chose to go about this the old school way, so I can't share any wisdom on the process of using tracing carbon and a tracing wheel to mark the fabric. Instead, I used a combination of tailor's tacks and a pen. Both techniques have their headaches and advantages, and next time I suspect I'll give the tracing carbon a shot. So…

1. Tailor's tacks. The purpose of these are to temporarily mark the fabric with the various guides included on your pattern pieces. With a sewing needle and thread, you simply sew loose stitches through the pattern and the fabric, so that once you remove the pattern, your fabric will still show all the pertinent marks, such as where to hem, or join a dart, or sew one piece to the adjacent one. This gets a bit tricky when you're marking a doubled-up pair of pieces, and I recommend you Google "tailor's tacks" and get a more experienced dressmaker's take on the process. I think I know what I'm doing, but to be honest, I'm only about seventy-percent confident. Still, they worked!

You can see the tailor's tacks I've added here—the yellow thread sewn through the pattern and
the fabric beneath, marking important guide spots without damaging the fabric.
And once you unpin and gently remove the pattern, the temporary guide stitches remain.
2. Just use a damn pen. There were a couple of pattern pieces with which, I will admit, I totally lost patience with and couldn't bear to use tailor's tacks for every little guide. So instead, because my fabric is dark and also colorful, I just used a red roller-ball pen, marking the guide with tiny red dots. Saved me ton of time, so no regrets. But full disclosure.

In the next step, things finally start getting exciting, and I'll talk about the stage I'm currently in, sewing the bodice and finishing its seams.

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