Saturday, April 19, 2008

Piecing the Contrast Band

I spent the better part of today finishing up Simplicity 4721 the Lizzie McGuire dress intended for my granddaughter. Most of that time was spent piecing in the contrast band.

If you're new to this project, let me bring you up to speed. The short story is that I had expected the contrast band to be pieced into the skirt. In actuality, it was appliqued onto the skirt. I was dissatisfied with how that was going to look and had all but decided to use jumbo rick-rack instead when Bunny, of La Sewista! suggested piecing the band using hemstitching. Which is what I did, after referring to Carol Ahles excellent book, Fine Machine Sewing (my review). For those of you who are interested, this is how I did it.

Warning: This procedure is neither for the rushed nor the faint of heart!

First, I pressed under the seam allowance on the contrast band.

Then I pinned the band to the dress, placing the bottom of the band on the placement line.

Next, I stitched the band to the dress, using a straight stitch and stitching very close to the pressed edges of the band.

The next step was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done; seriously, I thought I was going to hyperventilate. From the back side of the dress, I slit the base fabric between the lines of stitching. This was the point of no return.

I pressed the raw edges of the base fabric away from the contrast band and basted the seam allowances down, well away from the seam line. I wanted to make sure they stayed in place while I was stitching from the right side of the fabric.

Next, from the right side, I hemstitched the edges of the contrast band using the Parisian hemstitch, Sulky machine embroidery thread and a 100/16 wing needle. The Parisian hemstitch looks like a blanket stitch, but it stitches in and out of each hole in the main row of stitching five (count 'em!) times. This step alone took nearly two hours.

After I finished hemstitching, I trimmed away the seam allowances very close to the stitching.

Here's a detail shot of the contrast band.

And here's the finished dress*:

*I apologize for the poor photo; my model lives far, far away.


2BSewing said...

Paula...Wow! Your nerve-wracking effort was definitely worth the time. Your granddaughter's dress is absolutely beautiful and so is the parisian hemstitch. A really nice finish to the dress. Well done (and well worth the effort).

2BSewing said...
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Dawn said...

Super cute! Thank you for showing us exactly how you did it. I wasn't exactly sure because I've never done anything like that before. It turned out very cute though. Your granddaughter will love it.

Marita said...

Paula ,she's gonna be so happy to receive that dress:-)

Faye Lewis said...

Great tutorial on the contrasting fabric.

Kat said...

That looks great! I'll have to check out that book too.

Leora Louise said...

Paula, I had to come back with my morning coffee to read again. Wow, wow, wow. This technique absolutely intrigues me. Thank you!!

Bunny said...

Beautiful job on the hemstitching. I hereby bestow upon you the heirloom sewista crown. Ya dun good!
Your little model will look gorgeous in this. I like those bows, too.
Yes, the actual stitching requires you to go very slowly and takes lots of time and focus. That pic I sent you of the pink dress had a 90 inch hem. I think I was at it all morning. You should be very proud, just great.

Shannon said...

Thanks for posting the step by step instructions and photos. This looks so adorable! You've got me itching to go find this pattern and try this myself. Your granddaughter is going to look like an absolute princess!

Shannon F

CharityinAlaska said...

Great job, Paula. It's really cute. You should enter your tutorial in SewMamaSew's tutorial contest which runs through the end of April. :)

Pyrose said...

Isn't it funny how smaller aspects of a garment are usually what takes the longest? You did a great job and the dress is awesome.

Linda said...

Very nice. Very helpful photos! Lovely dress. This is inspiring.

arline said...

This is sooo pretty; just found the link from Pattern Review. When I look at the close-up of the finished band, I can see a consistent row of stitching holes on the band itself a half-inch or so? from the top and bottom edges on the right side of fabric. What is that from? Does the winged needle do that? or is this from another step?

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