Sunday, March 4, 2012

Orange and Blue

Who can disagree that orange and navy are nature's perfect combination? That's how I came up with the idea to nicely finish V8413 with navy seam binding:

Doesn't hurt that I have every navy accoutrement known to the sewing goddess.

But, ah, the naivete. Here are some pieces of advice for y'all when next weighing the merits of seam binding:
  • Can't say this loudly enough - when you use a woven fabric on a stable knit, it's rough. The likelihood that your knit will get wavy is high.
  • If you remove the back zip feature of the dress (because the stretch of your knit obviates the need for it), be really careful about seam binding the waist seam. What you may not realize is that, in the absence of an opening, the waist seam needs to stretch, and it will not when you've wrapped it in a woven fabric. (A propos of this, my dress fits but I do have to smush my boobs somewhat to get the thing on.)
  • I recommend 1/2 inch seams with tape that wraps over the seam allowance by 1/4 inch on either side. Because my original seams were 3/4 inch, I had to first baste for fit, rip out the basting stitches and then and cut 1/4 inch off the vertical edges.
  • And (predominantly for me, in case I ever try to do this again):
  1. Start the 2-step attaching of binding process on the wrong side of the fabric.
  2. Use a 0 setting on your machine (centre the needle rather than right justify it).
  3. Then, the 1/2 " binding outer edge should be flush with the right side of the presser foot.
  4. Stitch the left edge of the binding to the raw edge of the fabric, about an 1/8th of an inch in from the edge.
  5. Stop stitching a bit before the end of the raw edge so that you can fold the raggedy end of the seam binding under before you finish sewing the seam.
  6. Press from the wrong side.
  7. Fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the fabric. Press it and ensure you cannot see any stitch lines where the bias tape doesn't fold over the seam quite enough. Trim the raw seam slightly, if necessary, to ensure you can close the fold without seeing any stitches from the seam you've just sewn.
  8. Stitch from the right side of the fabric about 1/8" in from the edge of the seam binding.
  9. Press the front.
  • I advise against using pins for any of this. It doesn't work, IMO. You just have to feel your tape and your seams and intuit how to keep them aligned. Believe it or not, that's easier than pinning.
  • The binding will add bulk to the inside of your garment, but not too much if you use 1/2 inch tape (about as narrow as you can go on a knit) and keep your finished seam allowances to no more than 1/2 inch. Also, tack the seam bound edges to one another where they intersect. Don't bind the raw edge of a cut on cowl. It will show through. I had to rip out the seam binding on my cowl edge. Thank goodness my knit doesn't fray or I'd have had some serious challenges finishing that seam otherwise.
Nonetheless, somehow this thing came together in the end. Not just together, but together well.

Look at how all of those seams line up like a dream!

Not gonna lie, the seam binding in the bodice is pretty scary. Partly that's cuz I was using that stupid binding foot (which really doesn't work), the seams were curved and I didn't really know what I was doing...

The reason I'm showing it to you on a hanger, not the dress form, is cuz my dress form's upper bust (just below the shoulders) is wider than my own proportions and I cannot get the woven-seamed waist over that part of the form. Fortunately my upper torso is narrower than it, and my boobs are malleable, or I wouldn't be able to put this thing on. Mind you, once on, it fits PERFECTLY!


I catch-stitched the seam bound hem to the dress.

See - I can sew pleats!

Many who have sewn this lengthen the bodice but I don't recommend it unless you are very long in the waist. The idea is that the waist seam comes up fairly high (at the upper end of the true waist). Not quite empire, but moving in that direction. Otherwise the bodice may be baggy.

I cut an inch off the bottom of the skirt and then sewed a one inch hem - and that puts it at knee length, so the thing is pretty long.

Note to new(ish) sewists: The most challenging element of this pattern (never mind seam binding) is the facing-enclosed shoulder seams. It's a very neat finish but it's tricky. Read the instructions on this as many times as you need to, to ensure you've got it covered. Last time I made this dress, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't have enough sewing knowledge to realize it was that the raw shoulder seams should have been hidden by the facing.

Something tells me it's going to be quite a while before I seam bind anything - much less a stable knit (with a woven tape) - ever again.

But all's well that ends well, yes? So what do you think?

Note: I am totally going to show this modeled - it looks very chic - but I have to wait till I don't look like a Chia Pet.

28 comments:

  1. This is absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations!!
    Of course, I love orange and blue, but I did go to Auburn undergrad . .
    And concur with your assessment of the colors:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Man, what a misery of production though...

      Delete
  2. Well, it looks smashing on the hanger and I can't wait to see it on you. From the photos, I wouldn't notice anything amiss with the seam binding. I'm so glad you can get it on, too ;). I love those just-slightly-raised waists... somehow they work better for me than a right-at-the-waist waistband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks T! It was a pretty close call. I mean, of course (having ripped out every seam) I could have removed the seam binding at the waist. But that's one of the pretty elements.

      Delete
  3. Love the colour and yes the two look fantastic together.

    I'm with Tanit-Isis the binding looks great and if I hadn't read about the trials and tribulations you suffered through to get it to work I wouldn't know any better.

    I had to look up "chia pet".... Sorry those things are weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut while I'm making things :-)

      Delete
  4. I knew it would be beautiful! You are going to love wearing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I will! The first version I made is so horrible on the inside and it was made of the most terrible synthetic ponte. Just threw it away to make space for this new one.

      Delete
  5. It looks so good, you should wear it inside out. Why hide all that loving hard work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Don't think I haven't considered that after all the misery :-)

      Delete
  6. Okay, confession: I thought you were a bit nuts to bother binding all those seams, especially with a knit fabric. But that is a gorgeous result! Can't wait to see you modeling this dress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please - it was entirely nuts. Entirely. I don't understand why I do these things?! But it sure is pretty now. And, secretly, I'm competing with all those young sewists who do all the retro techniques so beautifully.

      Delete
  7. It did turn out lovely. I have to admit though, I always want to see photos on you instead of a hanger/form! C'mon, chia pet be damned! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's scary, honey. I'm doing it for your own good.

      Delete
  8. Great dress, my guess is that it was worth the time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks C! I really hope it was :-)

      Delete
  9. Oh that contrasting binding looks glorious - and those pleats also look pretty impressive! Will we see this on you in a future post?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You def will see it on. Promise.

      Delete
  10. Do you have any navy knit scraps to make a new stretchy binding for the waist seam? Because I just am afraid that after you wear this a couple of times the seams are going to start popping from putting it on/off. And you put in so much work and this turned out too beautiful for that to happen.

    Can't wait to see it modeled on your non-Chia Pet self! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very good point. Lord knows I should have knit navy scraps! I'm going to look for some.

      Delete
  11. Just beautiful. And beautifully made. Perhaps it will be like childbirth. Once you see how lovely the end product is, you forget the pain.
    But what do I know...my kids are adopted! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Trust me, I had a kid with no meds and I remember it well. But I think sewing pain might be different :-)

      Delete
  12. Wow your dress looks beautiful. Thank you for all the tips on seam binding here - I have bookmarked it for future reference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Katy. BTW, if you want to talk more about binding when you decide to do it, let me know. Those instructions may only be meaningful to me :-)

      Delete
  13. This looks absolutely gorgeous! What a great color! Can't wait to see it on you (I'm a long-time lurker, but this is so great that I had to pipe up and say so)! Glad the torture is over!

    Oh-- re: Chia pet syndrome. DUDE. It's WINTER. No one's going to be seeing my legs 'til April at the earliest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginger - thank you! Never mind my legs (that are totally chia), it's the hair on my head that's scariest stand-up :-)

      Delete
  14. All's VERY well that ends well! I love it and can't wait to see it on you! But - OMG - I have never had a bound seam allowance work out for me. Not once. I'm in awe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't say it was a pleasant experience. :-) xo

      Delete