Since I was feeling confident about box pleats, I decided that my next project would be another little girl’s dress but this time with knife pleats. I also picked shoulder cap sleeves instead of full sleeves for this dress.
Selecting the fabric was both easy and difficult. The easy part was that I had just purchased a lining fabric with cats on it for $1 per yard at Walmart. The difficult part was picking the dress fabric. After looking in the stash I found this beige and blue star piece which seemed like it might work. The colors matched ok, but did stars and cats go together? It looked ok to me. Once again, the idea for this dress was to try out some knife pleats.
After selecting the fabric, I cut out the pattern. Because of the pleats, I cut the back of the skirt on the fold with no back slit. This time though I remembered the troubles that I had previously when attaching the bodice when the skirt had no back slit. To get around this problem, instead of a row of buttons down the back, I would make a keyhole button loop and button at the top of the back of the bodice. The back of the bodice would be one piece at the bottom making it easier to attach to the skirt.
Wishing I had embroidered something on the plain green cotton bodice of the last dress, I picked an embroidery design for this bodice. Of course, it had to be a cat to match the lining. Embroidering the design was the first step in sewing this dress.
The next step was to sew the bodice together. Normally, to do a keyhole button loop, the front and back of the bodice are cut on the fold, then you would add a v-shape in the neck line, sew around the neck line, and finally cut the “v” open and turn. There would be no seam in the bodice back, but then the armscye would have to be sewn differently so the neck could be turned. With a back seam, the armscye could be sewn as usual. I did not want to rethink sewing the armscye, so I did not cut the back of the bodice on the fold. Instead I added a back seam, but I did not add the extra inch for the buttons. I would change the sewing of the keyhole button loop and button so that a back seam was involved.
How did I do this you might ask? I will tell you. Step one, I serged the edges of the back seams. Next, I sewed around the neck line, then sewed the back seam of the bodice and lining separately, stopping 3 inches from the top on each seam. I pressed the seams open, then placing wrong sides together and adding the keyhole loop, I top stitched a box to complete the back seams and attach the loop, then I sewed on the button. This is basically the way the pattern said to finish the back seam of the skirt when you have one. It worked out great. The bottom of the back bodice was one piece, but it still had an opening to get the dress on and off.
Because I did not change how the armscye’s were sewn, attaching the cap sleeves went smoothly, especially since they did not extend to the bottom of the armscye. I then sewed the side seams together and with that the bodice was complete.
Up next, the knife pleated skirt.
Until next time, sew forth and cat on.