Hurray! It was time again for some fun sewing. I remembered many months ago that I had purchased some girl’s dress patterns from an etsy seller. One of the patterns, the Izzy tunic, was more of a top than a dress, but it was constructed like the dresses that I had just previously made. The big difference is in the skirt. Instead of a typical gathered skirt, this skirt bubbles at the hem due to a short lining to give it a full and bouncy look. I was super excited to make this top at the time I purchased the pattern but it got pushed out of mind by other projects at the time. Now that I wanted something fun to sew, the bubble top was at the top of my to sew list.
It was not hard to pick a fabric from the stash to make this top. I had purchased this fabric many years ago at a thrift store and it has lived in the stash since then. This fabric is thin and sheer but in this case that’s a good thing. This top is fully lined and the light weight would add to the bubble effect. The only problem with this fabric was that I forgot it was just scraps and not actual yardage. Because of that, this piece of fabric would not be wide enough for the the skirt. So I debated about picking another fabric instead, but then I decided to add a center and back seam to the skirt. The print of the fabric and the gathers of the skirt would hid these seams. Besides this was just a muslin of a new pattern, and the fabric was really going to be cute made up in this pattern. Because of the lack of fabric, I had to pick a different piece for the lining of the skirt. I found a sheer white that was the same feel and weight to use for the lining.
With the cutting complete, I started to sew. Following the pattern guide, the bodice stitched together nicely. One thing I did notice though was that the front and back of the bodice matched exactly. There was no overlap in the back for the buttons. To apply the buttons, I would need to pull the back pieces across each other, pulling the side seam away from the true sides where they needed to be. I picked smaller size buttons to help minimize the amount that needed to be crossed over to make the buttons and buttonholes. When I make another one of these bubble tops, I will add 1 inch to the back bodice pieces so there is overlap for the buttons. Note to self- make a notation on the pattern to add this inch to the back pieces of the bodice. Jumping ahead, after sewing the buttonholes and buttons, I learned that a little interfacing in these spots would have been nice. Although the buttons and buttonholes stitched fine and look good, a little interfacing there to support this shear fabric through wear and tear is needed. Next note to self, add 1 inch of interfacing to the add 1 inch of fabric where the buttons and buttonholes are being sewn.
The hem was next. To get the bubble hem, the skirt fabric was simply gathered to match the lining. Another note to self -remember to iron this hem seam before sewing the skirt to the bodice. I did not and trying to iron this seam and hem later and not ruin the bubble is difficult to say the least.
When it came to the skirt. I did not like the way the pattern finished the back seam. The pattern called for a scrap of fabric to be placed on the back of the skirt, a dart stitched, cut and the scrap turned inside to complete the seam. This step reminded me of sewing slit tab front shirts. Since I already had a back seam due to the lack of fabric in the skirt, I decided to complete the back seam like the other dress I had made. I cut the lining fabric down the center back, then stitched it back together, stopping two inches before the top. I then stitched the back seam of the skirt fabric together stopping two inches before the top. After pressing and completing the hem, I matched the top of the back seams, and stitched around the open two inches to complete the back seam.
To attach the skirt to the bodice, the skirt fabric is first gathered to match the lining and then both skirt and lining are gathered to match the bodice. I used the floss method for all the gathers on this top. It works well for me. Unlike the previous dresses with the stitch in the ditch seam to complete the bodice, this pattern instructed that the both the fabric and lining of the bodice should be sewn to the skirt at the same time. This seam was then finished with the serger, pressed towards the bodice and then top stitched in place. I could have done the stitch in the ditch seam, only sewing the fabric of the bodice to the skirt, pressing the lining up to finish its edge, and then stitching in the ditch from the front catching the lining underneath, for what some would call a cleaner finish but I wanted to see how this way would turn out. It is a far simpler way of attaching the skirt and bodice and was how I was going to finish the previous dress except I thought I needed to perfect the stitch in the ditch seam. Yes, this method of attaching the skirt to the bodice was much simpler and faster and yes, has a much uglier view from the inside but I don’t believe with have any affect on the wearing of this top. I feel that this top will wear just as well with an ugly inside seam as finished stitch in the ditch seam.
With all my notes to self that I made, you know I want to make this top again. My desire to make this top again is helped by the fact that top turned out to be absolutely adorable. I can’t wait for some little girl to wear it. Even with my changes to the pattern, I know the next top will sew up much quicker and easier and will be great fun to make. I am so excited to get sewing on the next one!
Until next time, sew forth and sew on!