Lesson 3 and Birthdays

James had a birthday last Monday and he had a great time. Laura and I bought him this really neat pirate ship that is just like the ones William and Matthew have had for years. He loves it. I sewed a bag for him to put it all in. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures yet but I hope to soon. On the front I appliquéd a pirate ship and on the back a parrot. There’s a little zippered pocket on the side for all the little people. The only thing I need to fix is the top opening. My thread kept breaking at that point and I couldn’t quite make it right. So now my machine is working and I can fix it :)
Also, last Wednesday, I made this dress for Felicity
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And,though I don’t have pictures yet, I made a matching one for Rebecca on Thursday, and another on Friday for Faith. They all look really cute together like that. And this Wednesday was Felicity’s birthday. A couple months back, I had bought a really nice doll from target and I decided to give it to her. It was still brand new I hadn’t even played with it. So I decided to fix the skirt because it was to short. It was pink and so I grabbed some white fabric, pleated it and sewed it onto the bottom. There, that looks better. But then, to my left I saw this pretty fabric that looked just right for a doll nightgown. So, making up the pattern since I didn’t have one, I sewed her doll a nightgown

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And then I decided that Felicity needed a matching one

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Aren’t they precious? So that’s where the lesson comes in y’all. This is really a simple nightgown. So, here’s the lesson on how to do it.

Lesson 3
**note- I strongly advise you to zig-zag all raw edges always. It takes a little longer but it looks better and lasts longer. Zig-zagging keeps the fabric from fraying. Make sure that the stitches just barely overlap the edge of what you’re sewing.

So of course you want to measure who you’re making this for. Write down all the measurements so you don’t forget any.
Measure the chest, and then decide how wide you want the yoke to be. For Felicity, I think I did three inches wide. So from the armpit, measure three inches down, and from there, measure how long you want the skirt to be. Next, with the chest measurement, add one inch to width and length for seam allowances, then on just the length, add one more inch for comfort so it won’t be to tight on her. Then, on the skirt add one inch for seam allowances and the hem of the skirt. For the width of the skirt for a little girl like felicity is one width of the fabric,but if you want it fuller or for an older girl you could cut out two skirt pieces and sew the length sides together for that. Next you’ll need straps. I did one and a half inches by eight inches. This was a little to short so make sure you make them about three inches longer than you think. You can always cut some off but it’s not as easy to add on. This piece is for the strap binding. The strap is pleated. So cut another piece one and a half inches wide and about three times as long as the strap binding. Then, for the ruffle on the top, make that about one and a half inches wide and about four times as long as the yoke. I did Velcro for the doll and buttons with button loops for felicity. For the loops cut an inch wide by about ten inches if you’re doing only two buttons like I did. Five inches is safe for each button so that you’ll be sure to have plenty. I really hope y’all understood all of that. If not, just post in the comments and I’ll try to answer them as well as I can.

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This is the yoke ruffle. Why it’s called a yoke I don’t know. I’m getting tired of the word :) anyways, see how it’s folded? That’s just because I cut it on the fold of the fabric, not because you’re supposed to fold it like that. If you cut it on the fold, unfold it now.

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On the machine, set the stitch length to the longest, which for me is four. It is also called a gathering or basting stitch. In some cases it is not used for gathering. In this case it is.

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Fold the ruffle piece in half lengthways with the wrong sides together. Some of my sisters needed help figuring out what that meant with wrong sides (or right sides) together meant. So in case you don’t know, I will explain. There is a wrong and a right side to most fabrics. The right side is going to be on the outside when you’re finished. And we all know what together means, right? So if you’re told wrong sides together, then make sure the wrong sides are facing inward to each other and touching. The right side of the fabric will be facing out on both sides. Like in the picture.

So, once you have put the wrong sides together, begin sewing on the long edge that is not folded. Do not back stitch at the beginning or end. This is a gathering stitch and won’t work if you back stitch. Also, keep the ends of the thread hanging off about three or more inches on both sides. If you don’t want it fraying everywhere, which you probably don’t, set the stitch length back to mid length stitch, for me 2 and set the stitch to the zig-zag, which looks like little sharp mountains in the picture. Stitch along the edge, but make sure you don’t go over the gathering stitch. One other thing I forgot to mention is this. In most patterns, the seam allowance is 5/8 in. Which means don’t sew an inch away from the edge, sew 5/8 in. or less. I always use 1/4 inch because it’s easiest, but when I’m doing reenactment clothes I do 1/2 inch away. So to measure 1/4 inch away, make sure the edge of the fabric that you’re sewing is even with the edge of the machine foot. For me it’s easier to keep the main part of the fabric on the left, so I keep the edge of the fabric even with the right edge of the foot. Understand?

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Now, remember the extra thread hanging off? There should be two on each end. One is from the needle and one is from the bobbin. Gently pull one thread at a time until the thread puckers under the tug.when it does, you know you have the right thread. Hold the other bobbin thread (that’s the one that makes it pucker or gather) and pull gently so it won’t break, and push the fabric away from it. The fabric will begin to gather and get smaller.it will also most likely twist up when you let go.

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Alright, get the yoke piece out and straighten the ruffle out. Lay it up against the yoke and gently push some of the gathers out or make some more until it is the same length as the yoke. Then fold 1/4 to 1/2inch over to the inside on the yoke on one of the long sides. You can press it with the iron until it lays flat if you want. It’ll make it easier. Then lay the ruffle on the inside with the ruffle part sticking up above the top and the zig-zagged edge against the pressed edge. pin it down. Next sew it down. You will backstitch this time and make sure the length of the stitch is set to 2 or whatever length you use for normal stitches. Also make sure it not on the zig-zag stitch anymore. Once you’re done stitching, press the ruffle a little. Also, for some reason I didn’t take a picture, but I put ric rac on the yoke. For the doll really slender and for Felicity normal thickness ric rac. I put it in the middle of the yoke, across the length. Pin it on if it’s easier or just lay it in place and adjust when it needs it. Stitch down the center of the ric rac.

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That’s how it should look. I did it this way for the doll. For Felicities, I cut two yoke pieces and, with the right sides together (both wrong sides facing out) I pinned the ruffle in between them with the zig-zagged edge against the long edge of the yoke. I then sewed all three pieces together at once and turned it right side out to make sure I had gotten it right and snipped any threads showing on the outside. I make a point to say always check that what you’ve done is correct before going on to the next step, because three steps later, you may meet up with a problem and have to bring out the seam ripper.

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This is the strap piece. You should have fabric cut out for two straps. One long and one short piece for each. Take the long piece and fold in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Set the machine stitch length to four. This is not a gathering stitch, this is just to hold it together while we work with it. No need to back stitch, but if you do it’s all right. Don’t leave the threads long on this. Oh and if you didn’t cut the now really long thread on the ruffle, you can do that now.

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This is not that great of a picture but hopefully you can see it good enough. Alright a pleat is a decorative fold. What you do is pinch the fabric together in the place you want the pleat and fold it downward while the rest of the fabric lays like it was before. Understand? I made three little pleats and held it while I put it on the machine. Leave the stitch length at four. No need to backstitch. Sew slowly until you’re about 1/4 inch away from where the last pleat you made stops. Fold two or three mor pleats and continue. I left about 3/4 inch unpleated at the beginning and end. When you’re done, make sure it’s at least as long as the shorter strap piece. If its longer thats fine, you can cut some off later, don’t do it yet though.

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These are the pleats

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Take the short piece for the strap and fold down one of he long edges 1/4 inch. Press. Fold the other edge 1/4 inch and press. Then, making sure the edges ar even, fold the piece in half and press.

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I was naughty and didn’t press it. It’s more of a pain to get the iron and ironing board out than it is just to hold it. Anyways if you did press it, unfold it once so that it is still folded twice. Lay the pleated part on one fold. Make sure all the previous stitching is below the fold.

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Fold it back in half making sure the edges are even. Pin it. Set the stitch length back to two and stitch along the edge not 1/4 inch from the edge or you won’t get everything caught in. When you’re done with that, make sure it all looks right.

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Find the center of the yoke and put it on the doll or child you’re making it for. It is supposed to be right below the armpits. Then pin the strap with the ends on the inside until it’s all the right length. Take it off and sew it on. Try it on once more to make sure it’s all how it’s supposed to be. On the inside cut off any extra strap leaving only 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

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On the skirt, on the bottom side, fold the edge up 1/4 inch and then again. Stitch. You can pin or press if it makes it easier. Starting on the sides, fold over the edge 1/4 inch and then again. Stitch. Do this on the other side as well. Don’t do this on the top. On the yoke, at the center back, fold over the edge 1/4 inch and then again. stitch. I did not sew any of the ruffle in this step because it looks better and is a little easier. remember to backstitch

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To make the pleats in the skirt, make a small pleat laying toward the center (see picture) on the left and another on the right laying toward the center. Continue until you get to the center. Try to space your pleats evenly. Pin them as you go.

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With the right sides together, lay the yoke on the skirt. Adjust the pleats until both pieces are the same width. Pin. Leave the pleat pins in too until you get to them during sewing. It will make it easier.

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If you are doing Velcro all the way down, cut the Velcro the length you need. Remember to measure for both yoke and skirt. Put one piece of Velcro on the inside edge, stitch. Make sure the Velcro is right side facing out. Take the other piece of Velcro and on the outside edge of the other side, stitch.

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If you are doing buttons, with right sides together, starting at the bottom of the skirt, stitch until your about three or four inches from the yoke. Take your button loop piece. Fold in 1/4 inch on each side and press. Fold in half and make sure the edges are even. Press. Stitch close to the edge. Choose where you want the buttons to be and sew them onto the right side. On the left, with the short end of the button loop piece on the inside, stitch it down adjacent to the button. Wrap it around the button and adjust until it can be done and undone easily but not too easily to come undone on its own. Stitch it on the inside. Cut off the excess, leaving 1/4 inch. Repeat for the other button loop. For Velcro, follow step until you get to button loops, instead cut and sew on the Velcro like in the other Velcro step, making it shorter for the smaller slit. That’s all there is to it and I hope y’all understood everything. If not just comment and I’ll answer you as best as I can.

Also I plan to make a skirt doing this same sort of thing, just making a waistband instead of a yoke and no straps. If you want to make one you could just cut as many widths as you want the hem to be and make a waistband about 2 1/2 or 3 inches longer than the waist of the person you are making it for, and for the width, as wide as you want it plus one inch. You would fold all raw edges in 1/4 inch. Press. Then fold in half and press. Try the waistband on the person the skirt is for and overlap about 1 1/4 inch. Cut off the rest and repress all edges so that none show on the outside. You would sew the skirt sides together, leaving an opening at the back for the button/s or zipper. (Lesson on how to put a zipper in coming soon) you would then fold in the edges of the opening 1/4 inch and stitch. Instead of doing button loops I would do button holes (also coming soon). Hem the skirt, which means turn the bottom edge under 1/4 inch and then again. Stitch. Pleat the top like I told you above and then pin the waistband on, sandwiching the skirt between the fold of the waistband. Stitch near the bottom and add buttons or zipper. Understand? I think this is the longest post yet so I’m going to end it now. I plan to put up pictures of the skirt when I’m done. Enjoy!

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One thought on “Lesson 3 and Birthdays

  1. Oohhh, the girls are sooo cute!! Love it and my sewing experience may be developed more in the summer as an opportunity to learn just came today. :)

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