Welcome to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! I’m Sarah and I’m so happy to be leading you in sewing your own adorable Family Reunion Dress! You are absolutely going to want to join in! If you don’t have your pattern and fabric ready, order it now and you will have time to catch up with the steps and still be eligible for the $20 gift certificate drawing from AboveAllFabric.com! If you are just joining in, go back and take a peek at the Introduction too!
Be sure to join the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr Group! That’s where everyone will be sharing their progress photos as well as their finished projects! The Flickr group where your finished photo will need to be by July 15th in order to be eligible for the drawing, so you don’t want to miss out!
In today’s post I’ll guide you in tracing out your pattern pieces and cutting your fabric and interfacing, and getting ready to sew!
Before going any further, be sure to prewash your fabric! When you sewing a quilt it’s not necessary to prewash, but for garments, if your fabrics are going to shrink even the tiniest bit, you want that to happen before you put all the work getting the proper fit!
You don’t want to destroy your pattern by cutting out directly on the pattern line you are using today, so I’m going to show you how I trace out pieces. There are several ways to do this, but I like to use freezer paper from the grocery store.
My pattern tracing supplies:
- Freezer paper
- Fine-tipped marker
- Transfer paper
- Fabric pencil
- Lightweight fusible interfacing
Unfold the pattern sheet and locate the pattern size key. If you have trouble seeing the dotted/dashed line through your freezer or tracing paper, you can trace your line on the pattern sheet with a highlighter. Trace pattern outlines and all the markings for your chosen size onto the freezer paper. Note the name of the piece and how many should be cut. I also mark each piece with the pattern name and size for future reference. I mark all the notches to the inside, so they don’t accidentally get cut off.
Continue tracing all the pieces needed for the dress (pieces 1 – 8 for View A) on your freezer paper.
When you’ve taken the time and expense to select beautiful fabric, you should always take the extra few minutes to fussy cut! Before we cut, you need to press your prewashed fabric. Once it’s nice and smooth, you will want to recreate a center fold line, but rather than folding in the exact center, take a look at your fabric’s pattern and choose what motifs fall close to the center of the fabric that you would like to have for front of the Family Reunion Dress. Press, exactly centering that motif all the way down the length of your fabric. For fabrics like gingham or plaid, use a stripe as a pressing guide.
Locate the cutting diagram in the corner the pattern paper.
Roughly cut out each traced freezer paper pattern piece. Refer to the cutting diagram, and begin arranging your pieces on the fabric. The reason I love using freezer paper to trace pattern pieces is because it eliminates the need to pin! Use a warm dry iron and the pattern piece will stick to your fabric, but still be able to easily pull away, leaving no residue!
Be sure to carefully align the fold line with the folded edge of your fabric.
With a sharp pair of scissors, cut exactly on your drawn line. I cut all notches to the outside so I don’t cut into the seam allowance.
Continue on, following the cutting placement diagram, until all your pieces are cut. I leave the freezer paper pattern pieces on until I am ready to use each piece because they act as labels and as stabilizers, to minimize the fabric edges from fraying.
We transferred all the pattern markings on to the freezer paper, so let’s go ahead and transfer to the fabric now. For dots, I like to use a fabric marking pencil. Simply lift up the freezer paper until you can see the dot through the paper, then mark that spot on the fabric. (Here you can also see my double notch cut to the outside.)
For the pintuck marks I use transfer paper with a transfer wheel. I have found that I get a better mark when I place sandpaper underneath. I used white transfer paper this time so it’s a bit hard to see in this photo, but the paper is placed transfer-side-up facing the bottom layer of fabric, then I fold the transfer paper and place the other end transfer-side facing the right side of the other side of the fabric, then place the freezer paper on top of the transfer paper.
Your lines will be visible, but not too bold.
The neck facing pieces need interfacing, but since the pattern calls for fusible interfacing, you can’t use the iron-on method of affixing the freezer paper patterns. I usually just hold the pattern in place and cut around, but you may pin if you like. After cutting, you need to trim 1/2” from the outer curve. To do this, I use my fabric marking pencil, the sandpaper and a ruler. Simply use the ruler to measure 1/2″ from the edge of the outer curve and mark with the pencil. The sandpaper will help you write on the interfacing. After marking all the pieces, trim the excess 1/2” away along the line you just marked.
Fuse the interfacing to the fabric neck facing pieces according the interfacing manufacturer’s directions. Align the interfacing with the inner curve.
The back center of the dress, where buttons and buttonholes will be, also needs interfacing. Cut 2 strips of interfacing 1 1/2″ wide and the length of dress back. Fuse them to the dress back according the interfacing manufacturer’s directions, aligned to the center edge.
After applying the interfacing, fold and press the edge in 1/2″, and then again 1”, as below.
That’s it for today! I’ll be back on Wednesday, June 15th and we will get started sewing! Take a quick picture of your progress and post it in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group! If you have any questions, feel free to ask here or in the discussion over in the Flickr group.