Friday, May 14, 2010

Lots of Little Victories :)

The First Regency Dress; Cornwall Bathe

My mom and dad bought me a sewing machine for my graduation, and I was chomping at the bit to use it.  My old sewing machine, given to me by my Mother-in-law Betty, nearly ten years ago, would not create buttonholes and didn't have many of the necessary feet for the different types of stitches the machine offered, but it served me well for creating straight stitches which is the only stitch I had ever used.  I was so excited to try new things like a blind hem stitch, buttonholes and even some hand stitching. 

My New Friend :)

All the lovely stitches, and the appropriate feet were included!

I have longed to make my own Regency Era Dress, so I figure that it would be a perfect test for my new machine.  What I didn't realize is that it was also the perfect test for me.  Learning a new machine is a pain, but very well worth it. I found my fabric (inexpensive fabric to make a muslin).  I choose Simplicity 4055 as my pattern because it was on sale for $1.99 at JoAnn's.  I would have purchase my pattern from otherwise.  Jennie Chancey designed the pattern and licenced it to Simplicity.  I used her website for assistance with certain details, and it was a life saver. 
The first thing I always do with a new pattern is to trace it onto parchment paper.  I learned to do this after ruining several expensive patterns.  I use my sun room coffee table as a make shift light box. 
Makeshift Light Box for Tracing Patterns

All the traced Pieces

After the pieces were traced, I cut them from the fabric and started to work. By far the most difficult part was getting the bodice together and to fit right.  I reworked the pinning of the sideback to the back bodice several times before I read somewhere on the web that they will not line up evenly.  Whew!  That was good to hear, and I surrendered the struggle.  Additionally, when it was time to sew the bodice to the skirt, I could not get the proper fit.  I pinned, sewed and ripped that bodice more times than I care to count, but when I did stop counting, I was at round five! Here are a few pictures of the bodice fiasco. 

Finally, the bodice is constructed, but I had no clue about the challenge to come; fitting it to my bosoms!

This was bodice try #3!  I thought it was okay, but not good enough :)

Still just not right at bodice attempt #5! :(

I decided to sleep on it and try again fresh tomorrow.  The next day, I only had to pin, sew and rip the bodice twice! YAY!  I finally got a good fit :) All that was left to do was a blind hem stitch on the bottom, buttons and buttonholes and whip stitching the armbands.  After the bodice trouble, I was sure the rest would be a breeze.  HA!  The blind hem was a dream, and I was so happy because now I can hem my own pants.  Whip stitching the armbands was also easy, but buttonholes were beasts!  I read the manual, looked on the Internet, did some machine troubleshooting and still could not get the automatic buttonholer to work.  What the Buttonhole!  I was getting upset!!  I finally decided to try the plastic buttonhole foot instead of the metal one, and yahoo it worked.  I Made Buttonholes.  BLIND HEM & BUTTONHOLES all in one day, I felt like a million bucks. 
Finally, after four days of solid work, the dress was done, but I had a little time before my husband got home, so I decided to make a sash or hair tie as it turns out.  This required another new technique; Bias tape making.  Thanks to this was a breeze!I usthemethod describe in her tutorial and had no problems.  Pics Below!I tried blind hem stitching it, but that didn't work out so well.  I whipped stitched it instead.  It took me awhile, but easy to do while watching t.v.

The Finished Dress :o)

The Back, Buttonholes and All

A Few more pics.....Amber in the dress...
Thanks Amber for all your help today :o)

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georgiaann said...

Love,Love,Love it ! Great job,its beautiful.

barefootsewingandcrafting said...

Thanks :) It was a big scary project at first, but breaking it down into managable tasks made it a lot less intimadating.