A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 1, The Bodice

DSCN0173As you know, I love to sew for kids. Not only have the dresses and bubble tops that I have made recently been a fun sew, I have learned so much while making them. I have used the sewing techniques and design details that I would never use on clothes made for myself or the husband. Now I would like to try another sewing technique, box pleats. So, I turned back to the little girl’s dress pattern that I have previously used. This time I would make box pleats to gather the skirt to the bodice. It would take a little math to figure out how many and what size of box pleats were needed, but I was willing to give it a try. A little math does not scare me since I am good at it and I use it at work all day long. As long as I was making another dress, I decided to add sleeves to the dress as well. So, I had a lot to learn from making this dress.

DSCN0162Now that I had the design of this little dress outlined, it was time to pick some fabric to use for it. The scraps, the ladybug print and green fabric, were still sitting on my cutting table from my shirt, so why not just use these scraps? I wanted to make the bodice of the dress from the ladybug fabric and the skirt from the green fabric, but there was not enough fabric to make it. So, I had to switch that around, making the sleeves and skirt from the ladybug fabric and the bodice from the green fabric. This meant that the bodice design would be very plain. I could fix that though with a nice embroidery design on it. Because this was the first time I would be sewing a box pleat skirt, and I was adding sleeves to this pattern, I decided not to add an embroidery design to the bodice. Since the ladybug fabric is thinner than the green fabric, I decided that I would need to line the skirt. I found a nice piece of white fabric to use for the lining of both the skirt and the bodice, but I decided not to line the sleeves. It wasn’t needed, and it would reduce the bulk.

DSCN0162The bodice was cut out per the written pattern, with the buttons down the back, but the back of the skirt was cut as one piece because of the pleats. With everything all cut out, it was time to sew. I started with the bodice and right away I realized that because I had decided not to line the sleeves that I could not follow the pattern instructions for inserting the sleeves. I had to figure out a different way to insert my unlined sleeves into the bodice instead.

After a great amount of thought, I started by sewing the shoulder seams of the bodice and lining and finishing the edges of the sleeves with some serging. Next I stitched the sleeves to the bodice except I started 2 inches from the side seam and stopped 2 inches before the side seam on the other side. I stitched the lining to the bodice/sleeve combo on the seam stitch line, starting and stopping at the same spots. The next step was to sew the sleeve together, and sew each side seam together. I then had three pieces to join together. Then the pieces were carefully pinned together and stitched together completing the joining of the sleeve to the bodice, but incasing the sleeve in the lining.

DSCN0170After going to this much work to encase the sleeves seams, I thought about a much simpler way of stitching on the unlined sleeves. I could have just held the bodice and lining together and sewed the sleeve on like I would have sewn in any sleeve. The seam would have been exposed this way though, and it would not have been encased between the bodice and the lining. Next, I would have sewn the sleeve/side seams together and finished the seams up with the serger. I don’t know why I made it so complicated but it was all sewn now and I certainly was not going to unpick it. The way I did it left a very clean finish with as many seams tucked inside the lining as there could be.

Up next, the box pleat skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and box on.

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