Tag Archive | pleat

The French Box Top

DSCN0651Having successfully completes the box pleat skirt for the little girls dress that I recently made, I wanted to continue practicing by making more box pleats. With that, I picked this box pleated top as my next project. It only had one box pleat so it would be a fast sew, but I would still be practicing another box pleat. Because I felt comfortable with sewing the box pleat, I decided to finish the seams off with French seams. This top would then give me practice on two sewing techniques that I had already tried, but that I could still use some practice in making.

DSCN0661The pattern for this top was a free one that I found online. I had just enough ladybugs and green cotton scraps left over to make this top with. So I printed out the pattern, taped it together and cut it out. As I cut out the paper pattern, I noticed that the facing and the front pieces of the top did not match up. I knew that if I cut the pattern out based on the pattern pieces, I would have a mess with mismatched facings, and I would get flustered while sewing this together and not get good results. Knowing this, I discarded the facings pieces from the pattern and just used the top pieces to cut a facing instead.

Sewing the top started with the French seams to piece the ladybug fabric and green cotton fabrics together. The French seams came out great! They are clean and finished. Since the green cotton is heavier than the ladybug fabric, I sewed the French seams to the green cotton rather than the other way around.

DSCN0212Next came sewing the box pleat. This time, I sewed the seam down the back of the pleat, flattened the pleat and then stitched across the top of the pleat to secure it. I did not top stitch the box onto the pleat like I did for the skirt. I wanted the pleat to open up if needed on this top.

DSCN0250Next up, I sewed the shoulder seams and then it was time to apply the facings. After reading the pattern guide for how to sew the facings, I decided the pattern guides instructions would not work for me. So I threw the pattern guide away along with the facings pieces from the pattern. I decided to sew the facing to the top as I had learned from making the bodices of the dresses that I had made before. I sewed around the neck and down the back, and then around the arms. Next, I stitched the side seams together. Because the side seams were exposed after the facing ended, I did a French seam for the side seams. But, as I tried to sew the French side seam down, I ran into trouble. The French side seam on top of the French piecing seams was just too thick. I broke 3 needles before I gave up and decided not to stitch down the French side seams. I don’t believe that having the side seams not stitched down will affect the wearing of this top. Next, I hemmed the facing.

DSCN0653Once again because the facing did not extend to the bottom of the top and because I had abandoned the pattern guides instructions, half of the back seams were left exposed. So to finish off the edge, I folded the edge over on each side of the back. This gave me four layers of fabric at the top where the facings are and two layers down below the facings. I did not apply any interfacing to the button placket because of the 4 layers, but as I sewed the buttonholes and buttons to the top, I wished that I had added some interfacing below the facing where the top was only two layers thick, especially on the thinner ladybug fabric. The buttons and buttonholes came out fine even without the interfacing. There was no way my buttonholer would sew over the French seams, so I had to carefully measure and place the buttonholes so that I would not have an issue making them or sewing on the buttons. The last steps were to hem the bottom of the top and topstitch around the arms and neck.

DSCN0655I am pleased with the end results of this top. It was great to practice with the box pleats and French seams, but what I am most proud of is that I was able to identify the pitfalls of the pattern and the construction early on in the project. And that I was able to use my sewing knowledge to circumvent them instead of suffering through them, and to find a better way for me to complete the project. Usually if there is a hard way to do something, that’s my way of doing it, but this time that was not true. I hope I can keep up this forethought momentum as I move on to my next project.

Until next time, sew forth and box top on.

A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 3, The Attaching

DSCN0691DSCN0693The bodice looked great with the sleeves attached, and the skirt was just adorable with the box pleats done. It was now time to sew the two parts together. This presented an unforeseen problem though. Because I have a pleat at the center back ok the skirt, instead of a slit, I had no way to attach the overlap of the buttons to the skirt and still keep the lining separate for the stitch in the ditch seam.

I had several options I could use at this point. One was to sew the overlap of the buttons together, making them one piece and skip the stitch in the ditch seam, sew the bodice and skirt together and finish the seam off with the serger. This would have been the simplest way to complete the dress. But you know me, I always have to do it the hard way first. Instead of the easy finish, I sewed the overlap of the buttons as one piece, and cut a slit in the lining by the overlap. This left the lining loose so I could do the stitch in the ditch seam later. I just had to make sure that the slit was folded up in to this seams before I started.

DSCN0696DSCN0697The stitch in the ditch seam did not go well. Even with an application of some seam to seam adhesive, spots were missed and the slit became unfolded. The seam was all over the place on the inside of the lining. The back part by the button overlap was a mess. But, on the outside everything still looked great! Having learned enough from the attaching of the bodice to the skirt, I patched up the stitch in the ditch seam and called it done. And I know what to do next time to get a better seam. I then hemmed the skirt and the lining together to complete this dress. I still do not know which is best, hemming the lining and skirt as one or hemming them separately.

From the outside, this dress was a total success and I really should have embroidered a cute design on the blank front of the bodice. From the inside though this dress is a total mess, but that will not affect the wearing of this dress. I think this dress will look cute on any little girl and I hope that she will enjoy wearing it.

Until next time, sew forth and box on.

A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 2, The Skirt

DSCN0175I started making the skirt with lots of thought and some calculations. After I had sewed the side seams of the lining and skirt together I sewed the lining and skirt together, holding it as one piece. Then I measured, folded and pinned the box pleats. At first, I made a big one inch pleat and separated them by one inch. This was too large, so I cut it back to 1/2 inch. After much fiddling with it, I finally decided to put one pleat in the center front, center back, and each side of the skirt. Then I placed pleats in-between those. Amazingly the pleats just worked out evenly, and what was even more amazing was that the measurement of the skirt with the pleats matched the bodice. I don’t know if I could be this lucky again if I made another skirt or a different sized skirt. Probably not, but with the pleats pinned in place, I moved to the sewing machine.

DSCN0191I first sewed down one side of the pinned pleat, across the pleat and then back up the other side of the pleat to the top of the skirt. I sewed carefully to keep the pleats as even and straight as possible on both the front and back sides. The pleats are not sewn perfectly, but they still looked good. After I completed the sewing, I read that it would have been easier to have held the pleat together, stitched down the back of the pleat, flattened the fold in the back of the pleat and then sewed the box on top of the skirt. Making the seam down the back would have held the pleat even. Oh well! If there is a hard way to do it, that is how I will usually do it. If I do it again I will try the easier way of sewing the pleats.

Regardless of the methods I used, the pleated skirt was now all done and it was just adorable! If I had not already made the bodice, I could have just attached a waistband to the skirt and had a cute little skirt all done. As I thought about that, cute little pleated skirts of various fabrics danced around my creative mind, but I decided to finish this dress first.

Next up, the challenge, attaching the bodice to the skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and box on.

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.