Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Converting a Simple Peasant into a Tiered Confection

Today we have a great tutorial for you from the creative and brilliant minds of Jennifer Paganelli and Carla, the Scientific Seamstress!

(the Leighanna dress/top pattern)

Instead of buying a whole new pattern for the tiered peasant dress look you can simply take your Leighanna pieces and make a few simple changes to the bodice and sleeves and do a little (simple) math for the tiers and have a completely different look!

Now to know what your 'desired finished length' is look at page 6 of the Leighanna pattern at the leg chart. 

For the tiers I cut even my first tier into half after I cut it out so I had a front and back tier piece, to make the construction easier. The tutorial will assume you did your tiers this way. So make sure you have 2 tier pieces for each tier layer. Also for my third tier I did mine just a little shorter than the math suggested to do since I didn't want to sew a 3 inch strip to each one, but the tiers were still longer than the previous so it all works.

I want to share my little trick here for keeping the tiers straight and not getting mixed up 1. I mark the letter of the first name for who's dress the tier is for (I made a dress for both girls) 2. I mark the tier number.

The basic assembly for this tiered dress is pretty much the same as the Leighanna so I'll be referring you back to the pattern a bit for this tutorial and showing you the differences in this post to get the tiered look. I will also be showing you two options, with ribbon and without. 

The oldest has the ribbon version and the youngest no ribbon.

To start you will do page 10- 11 (neckline opening) I did the opening and tie on the oldest's dress and I skipped it on the babes, I figured with her being at teething age it would just be another thing to chew on.

Now for the sleeves you have adjusted them with the curve and this makes the normal hemming a bit tricky - especially for double folding and making a casing. 

So what you need to do is finish the edges and fold over and iron. I serged my ends to finish them but you can zig zag or fancy stitch them to finish as well.

To make the casing you will need to get your bias tape out (not the narrow stuff) and pin it along the edge, hiding your finished edge. You will likely need many pins to keep it in place.

Sew along the bottom edge of the casing and the top edge - as close to the bias tape edge as you can get so you have room to get your safety pin and elastic through.

Now you will thread your elastic through. You will need a couple extra inches more than the pattern says since these sleeves will be around the upper arm. I suggest threading it through and then deciding how tight you want it before cutting the elastic. Once you have decided on your length, pin it in there and stitch it down (closing up the casing - be sure to catch your elastic in that stitching!) 

Now sew the sleeves to the bodice as indicated on page 15 and also do the neckline casing but do not thread elastic through yet. (you can, but I just find it easier to leave that until the end)

Now you are ready to gather the tiers. I kept mine laid out so as to help avoid confusion. Sew 2 parallel gathering lines along the top edge of each tier piece. 

Now I want to mention that you should 100% and absolutely gather your tiers from the bottom up! Trust me, it will save you plenty of time! Gather tier 3 front and back to the length of un-gathered tier 2 front and backs, and then gather tier 2 to the un-gathered length of tier 1 (front and back), and then gather tier 1 to the length of the bodice (front and back). 

Now you will sew the tiers together, again starting at the bottom and sewing up. You should finish the edges by way of serging or zig-zag stitching.

No Ribbon Version:

If you are doing the no ribbon version just finish off the dress now according to the pattern on page 17 and 18, be careful to line up your seams! (and please don't forget to do the neckline and hem - tip at the end of the post for threading the neckline elastic)

and then your un-ribboned dress is done! yay! 

Ribbon Version:

If you are doing the ribboned version you will want to sew up just one side seam from end to end. Leave that other side open for now! 

Iron your tier seams upwards, if you are like me, you tend to try and skip using the iron wherever possible... I just want to let you know that you will regret skipping the ironing on this step.

Now get our your trusty glue stick and give a good layer along the edge of the tier (along the bottom of the bodice is where I began, but the ribbon goes where you did not gather. and when you sew the ribbon on it should catch the seams that you pressed upwards) starting at one side of your open seam and going to the other, glue and press the ribbon down.

Here you can see the ribbon glued on. If you give it a minute to dry you probably won't need to pin before you sew the ribbon on.

I used narrow ribbon so I just gave one line down the center. If using a wider ribbon you may want to sew along the top and bottom edge. 

Once you have ribbon sewed onto all of your tiers, match up the side seam carefully so the tiers/ribbon matches and  then sew and finish according to page 17/18. Finish your bottom hem and neckline.  

and that is the ribboned version complete!

Neckline casing tip:

When threading the elastic in a neckline that has the notched facing I find the pin often wants to get lost in the neckline facing. This frustrates me greatly trying to get the safety pin out of the hole without it getting lost in there behind the casing ...So, I thought I would share with you my way of saving my sanity.  

I put a pen or pencil end into the casing hole past the neckline facing and then push it out with the safety pin, the pin never gets lost into the facing this way, just neatly threads through!

Ta-da! I am now done sewing Christmas dresses for the girls! YAY! will you be using one of our patterns for making your Christmas outfit/s?

Also does anyone else love how well the Sisboom fabric goes together from all the lines? I used Girls World (the green) and Circa (the stripe)!

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Danice said...

Oh how cute! Thank you so much for this tutorial :)

Me said...

I just read through this tutorial, and I love the tip about threading the elastic through the neckline casing. I'm definitely going to try it the next time I make this tip with a notched facing. I have always gotten very frustrated when I'm trying to do the elastic.