SarahB

Jul 202011
 

Thank you so much to all of you who sewed along! It has been such fun to see all the beautiful Oliver + S Family Reunion Dresses (and blouses) pop up in the Flickr group!

Now it’s time for the drawing of the $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric! I looked though the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group and marked everyone’s name down who had uploaded a photo of a completed dress or blouse. I dressed my girls up in their Family Reunion finest for the drawing. :)

And the lucky winner is wendyls1!

Wendy, send Melanie an email to aboveallfabric @ gmail.com and she’ll set your gift certificate up once she gets to a computer. :) In the meanwhile, why don’t do you a little window-shopping at http://www.aboveallfabric.com/ !

Jun 212011
 

Welcome back to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! On our final day of the sew-along we will attach the hem facing, sew buttonholes and add the buttons! If you are just joining in, that’s fine! Order your pattern and fabric now, and you can catch up! :)

If you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction, Day 1Day 2Day 3 and Day 4 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group, and one person will be randomly drawn to receive a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric!

Attach the two back hem facing pieces to the front hem facing at the sides, matching the notches. Press seams open. Sew a basting stitch 1/2″ from the top edge (the inner curve). Use the basting stitch as a guide, fold towards the wrong side and press.

Unfold the button plackets. Align the edges of the hem facing with the bottom corners of the dress, matching the notches. (The center of the dress will not match up with the hem facing yet, so don’t worry!)

Now match the side seams and the bottom notch of the hem facing with the seams and notch on the bottom of the dress and pin in place. This will fold the button placket inside out. Sew along the bottom hem with a 1/2” seam allowance.

After trimming, clipping, turning and pressing your hem, edgestitch the inside fold of each placket as far as possible. Then pin the hem facing in place and edge stitch from the inside of the dress to secure the hem facing.

If you wish add the multiple rows of stitching on the hem, your 1/4″ foot is especially handy!

I added the recommended 6 total lines of stitching to my hem facing, leaving long thread tails for each beginning and end, pulling the threads to the inside and tying them off, just as I did with the pintucks.

Since I used matching thread for this tutorial, it’s a bit hard to see the stitching. I used contrasting thread on my sew-along dress, and in this photo you can see where I tied off the threads on the inside. An even cleaner finish would be to tie off the threads, then bury the thread tails inside the hem with a hand needle.

All the dress is missing now is buttons!

I transfer the button placement markings directly from the pattern using my fabric pencil. Place the left placket on the pattern, right side down, on the proper size. Simply mark the top and bottom of each button.

I don’t mark the placement on the side for the buttons. Instead I let the finished buttonholes guide where I handsew my buttons. If you are using your machine to sew the buttons on, you may want the marks on the button-side of the placket.

Follow your sewing machine’s instruction manual for creating buttonholes.

There may be easier ways to sew buttons on, but after a few poorly placed buttons, this is now my method. Starting at the neckline, I align the left and right plackets then center a button over the buttonhole, and put 1 or 2 stitches in place, taking care not to sew through the buttonhole placket. Then I carefully unbutton and finish attaching the button. Continue moving down the placket.

Here’s another photo from my sew-along dress, since I also used contrasting buttons.

To finish up your Family Reunion Dress, add the tiny buttons to your button tab on the front!

Your adorable Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress is finished! Thanks so much for sewing along with me! :) I can’t wait to see all the finished dress pictures!

Take a photo of your masterpiece and post it in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group! Upload a photo of your completed dress to the group by July 15, 2011 and your name will be entered in the random drawing to win a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric! And don’t forget, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post here or in the discussion over in the Flickr group.

Jun 192011
 

Welcome back to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! Today we will attach the sleeves and sew the sides of the dress together. I’ll show you how to do French seams too! If you are just joining in, that’s fine! Order your pattern and fabric now, and you can catch up! :)

If you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction,  Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group, and one person will be randomly drawn to receive a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric!

As directed in the pattern instructions, for each sleeve, sew a line of basting stitches 3/4”from the sleeve hem edge. Fold the raw edge to the basting stitch, then fold along the basting stitch. Press in place. Do not stitch yet.

Additionally, sew two lines of basting stitches between the notches along the curved edges of the sleeves, one at 3/8” and another at 5/8” (so they don’t interfere with your actual stitching line that will be at the 1/2″ mark). Leave thread tails a few inches long for gathering.

Pin each sleeve in place, matching the notches and using the basting stitches to ease the sleeve into place. As much as I don’t like pinning, this is a spot where you really need a lot of pins to get a good result.

Sew the sleeve onto the shoulder with the dress towards the feeddogs to minimize the chance of puckering. Sew with a 1/2” seam. Inspect your stitch and ensure that the shoulder and sleeve looks smooth from the right side. If not, remove stitches and correct. When you are happy with the seam, finish the seam allowance by zigzagging, overlock stitching or serging the raw edges.

Turn sleeves right side out and remove the visible basting stitch from the sleeves.

You certainly don’t have to do French seams, but they are a favorite of mine, and I sneak them in whenever I can. They create such a nice finish, and it’s really durable for washing and wearing too! French seams aren’t appropriate for tight curves or heavy fabric though, so use your judgment for each pattern and fabric choice.

This will use the same total 1/2″ seam allowance as a typical seam, but to begin you will place your fabric WRONG sides together. Align the sides and pin in place.

Attach your 1/4” foot (or align to 1/4” mark) and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then trim seam allowance down to 1/8”.

Now turn along your seam line, right-sides-together. Either pin or press to ensure that the stitched edge is turned out as far as it can be, and is your new folded edge.

Stitch along your folded edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.

The 1/8” raw edged seam allowance from the previous seam will now be fully encased. From the outside of your garment, everything looks the same, but on the inside, you have a beautiful clean finish too!

Now it’s time to hem to the sleeves! The hem is already pressed in place, so simply refold along the creases. I use the edgestitching foot to achieve against the edge of the hem and sew from the inside of the sleeve to achieve an even stitching line.

That’s it for today! I’ll be back on Tuesday, June 21st where we will put the finishing touches on our Family Reunion Dresses! 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.

Jun 172011
 

Welcome back to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! Today we will sew the shoulder seams and attach the neck facing. If you are just joining in, that’s fine! Order your pattern and fabric now, and you can catch up! :)

If you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the IntroductionDay 1 and Day 2 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group, and one person will be randomly drawn to receive a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric!

Using a 1/2” seam allowance, sew the pieces of the neck facing together, matching the notches. Press seam allowances open. Sew a basting stitch 1/2″ from outer outer curved edge (where you do not have interfacing). Additionally, sew basting stitches within the seam allowance and along the curve, leaving long thread tails, to help neatly gather the seam allowance during pressing. Gently gather the fabric within the seam allowance use the line of basting stitches at the 1/2” mark as your guide to turn and press.

Set the neck facing aside and pick up the front and back panels of the dress/shirt. With right sides together, sew from the sleeve edge to the dot you marked. Then clip vertically through the seam allowance to the dot and turn right sides out. (See right side below.) Then attach the pieces, wrong sides together, with a 1/2” seam allowance, from the dot to the neckline.

To finish the shoulder seams inside the garment, I opened the seam allowance, folded each side to the center, and closed them together, creating about a 1/4″ folded finished edge. Then I edgestitched, enclosing the raw edges inside. You could also zigzag or serge the edges. (The seam allowances left on the outside of the dress will be covered by the neck facing in the next step, so they don’t need to be finished.)

Pin the neck facing in place, taking care to match the shoulder seams. It does seem a bit strange initially, but you are pinning the right side of the facing to the wrong side of the dress—it all works out! The neck facing will overhang 1/2” at the ends.

Sew with your dress on top so you don’t accidentally turn the pintucks the wrong way.

Press the neck facing to the right side of the dress.

Before topstitching, press one more time, rolling the seam a bit and allowing the seam to stay hidden on the interior of the dress.

Turn the edges of the neck facing under and press. Pin a few times to prevent shifting and edgestitch just as you did with the button tab. (You could even insert rickrack or lace here!) After edgestitching, remove the basting stitch.

That’s it for today! I’ll be back on Sunday, June 19th and we will attach the sleeves and sew the sides of the dress together. (I’ll show you how to do French seams too!) 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.

Jun 152011
 

Welcome back to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! Today we will sew the pintucks on the front and back of the dress and attach the tab. If you are just joining in, that’s fine! Order your pattern and fabric now, and you can catch up! :)

If you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction and Day 1 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group, and one person will be randomly drawn to receive a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric!

Locate the pintuck marks you transferred to the front dress panel and both back dress panels, fold on the lines and lightly press. Shorten the stitch length on your machine and switch to the 1/4″ foot attachment or a 1/4″ guide mark. Sew along each mark, leaving thread tails at least 1” long. Repeat for each marked pintuck.

Pull all threads to the inside, tie a knot and trim short. This keeps the stitch from unraveling and the threads from peeking out to the front of the garment.

Press pintucks flat, towards the sleeves.

Now we will move on to the button tab! Apply the fusible interfacing to one of your fabric tab pieces (the one you want to be in front, if you’ve fussy cut it). With right sides together, sew the tab pieces together with a 1/2” seam. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/4″ on the straight edges and 1/8” on the curve.

Carefully turn right side out and press. On the front center of your dress you will see a curved line that matches the bottom curve of the tab to indicate placement. Pin in place.

It was at this point that I decided that for this fabric selection, the button tab needed a little something else. :) With the bolder pattern, the button tab just didn’t stand out the way I wanted it to. Trim here is absolutely optional, but I want to show you how to add it in, just in case you’d like to also!

I pulled a coordinating red fabric from my stash, and made a bit of bias trim. You can also use a little piece of crocheted trim, narrow lace or cording. You will need about 7” of trim. If you want to make your own bias trim too, simply cut a piece of fabric 1”x7” on the diagonal, then press in half. Tuck the trim under the button tab and pin in place.

Using your edgestitching foot, stitch about 1/8” from the edge of the button tab, attaching your trim as you go.

That’s it for today! I’ll be back on Friday, June 17th and we will sew the shoulder seams and attach the neck facing! 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.

Jun 132011
 

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
  • Sandpaper
  • Fabric pencil
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Ruler

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.

May 232011
 

I’m Sarah and I’ll be leading the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along right here starting on June 13th! This introductory post is to make sure you have your Family Reunion Dress pattern, fabric and supplies ready to start sewing by then! :-)

The Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress is an instant classic! You can achieve so many different looks simply by changing the fabric (or fabrics!) you use.

The most straightforward plan is to use one fabric for your entire dress.  You can choose a solid or a print fabric; both will turn out lovely!

Liesl Gibson, creator of Oliver and S, showcased several versions of the Family Reunion dress on her blog.  Liesl said in her blog post regarding the fabric choices:

“The Family Reunion Dress is one of those dress patterns that can take on a wide variety of personalities depending on the fabric and embellishments you choose for the children you’re sewing for. The silhouette is clean and simple yet traditional and classic. For example, let’s say you make the dress in a solid-colored linen. Without any additional embellishment it can look minimalist and contemporary, relying exclusively on the structural elements of the pattern itself. But if you add a little contrast topstitching, some lace, or a little embroidery it will start to look like a classic heirloom that’s been handed down for generations. You’ll achieve an even wider variety of looks once you start thinking about prints and patterns. A small floral will look sweet and delicate. A bold geometric print would give it a a more playful or casual feel.”

Here’s a sample from Liesl of the Family Reunion dress is in a subtle print.

Here’s a mock up of the Family Reunion dress in a tone-on-tone Hulabuloo print!

A small scale floral also works beautifully with this pattern! Here is another sample from Oliver + S’s blog.

For the Family Reunion Dress I sewed for the Sew-Along photos, I chose a cute, bolder print from the Riley Blake Sugar & Spice line!  I think it still works well because it’s scale isn’t too large and the geometric repeat doesn’t overwhelm the fine details of the dress pattern.

If you want to add just a bit of contrast at the tab feature, consider adding a bit of trim such as rickrack, narrow lace or cording, or bias trim. I chose to add bias trim I made from a fabric I pulled from my stash. You will need 7″ of trim.

Or you can choose to use the ruffle option rather than the button tab, as in this shirt sample from Oliver + S!

Another option to really change the look of your Family Reunion dress is to use a different fabric for the neckline, button tab and/or hem facing.

In this beautiful dress by bon*bons posted on Flickr, a solid neckline facing creates a beautiful contrast against the busy print used in the rest of the print.

In this Family Reunion dress by IsabelDecibel, she used a coordinating print for the hem facing. What a lovely surprise!  You can also nicely see the how the main fabric is slightly turned under so the seam and facing aren’t visible when the dress is worn. I love Lotta’s contrast stitching too!

I think the Sherbet Pips Puppy Dog Tails would also make an adorable Family Reunion Dress! How about adding a contrasting neckline and button tab in either red or light blue? (I decided I just had to make this one! My younger daughter picked the light blue version.)

I used a coordinating thread for my dress, but a contrasting thread makes a great statement too! I think the Family Reunion Dress would be especially beautiful in linen with contrast stitching and a fun print used only as the hidden hem facing! That’s definitely on my someday list!

So…Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Step 1: Go Shopping! :)

SUGGESTED FABRIC: Light- to medium-weight woven fabrics like quilting cotton, voile, lawn, shirting, poplin, broadcloth, and linen.

NOTIONS: Coordinating thread, lightweight fusible interfacing, 5/8″ buttons or snaps for back closure (five for View A sizes 6M–2T, six for View A sizes 3T–4, seven for View A sizes 5-12, four for all sizes View B), four 1/4–3/8″ decorative buttons for View A. (View A is the dress, View B is the shirt.)

DIFFICULTY: 2 out of 4 scissors ADVANCED BEGINNER: Suitable for someone who has sewn from a pattern before or has taken a few classes and completed several projects.

If you wish to purchase a different fabric for a contrast hem facing and neckline, you will need just 1/4 yard of additional yardage (not a fat quarter). I would still purchase the full amount of the main fabric, and purchase the contrast fabric in addition to ensure there is enough room to cut the body of the dress.

When you have your fabric, be sure to post a photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew Along Flickr group! I can’t wait to see all the great little dresses coming together!

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Hey everyone!  (This is Melanie)  I am REALLY excited about this Sew Along. A lof of people are intimidated by Oliver + S patterns – because, I’ll be honest, they are not “throw together in less than an hour” patterns.  I will also be honest, however, and tell you that they give you THE BEST finished results, bar none.  The construction gives you an extreemly professional finish and something of which you will really really be proud.  The details on each pattern just take it that extra mile to make it really special.  I highly encourage you to do this sew along with Sarah!  Her work is phenomial and there is no one better to lead you step by step!!!!

PS.  I expect a shipment of more patterns to arrive any minute now so sign up to be notified as soon as they land on the doorstep!