Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sewalong for Farbenmix Anna -- Four ways!

Here is the promised Anna pattern sewalong!  See my previous post about how this dress can be worn with 4 different looks.  I have altered the pattern to have tabs for button or snap closure, instead of ties, and to be reversible with 4 different fabrics.  Here's the finished picture:
1. Trace out your pattern pieces.  You have a choice of longer or shorter length for pattern piece 1.  I did something in between.  Please note that there is no seam allowance included in this pattern, so add your favorite (I usually sew with a 1 cm seam allowance).  You do NOT need to trace pattern piece 2, as we are making it reversible, so you do not need a bodice facing.  You also do NOT need to trace the pattern piece for the ties, as we are using tabs instead.

2.  Now cut 4 of piece 1 out of 4 different fabrics.  (Of course, you could just use two different fabrics if you wanted the piece that wraps around the back to match the piece in the front.  Then it would still be reversible, but just with 2 looks instead of 4.)

[You should iron your fabric before you cut, unlike I did.  "Do as I say, not as I do!"  I am such a bad example!]

3.  At this point, I altered the pattern piece for the straps, because I didn't like the size it was.  Since I am lazy, instead of drafting a whole new piece, I just folded the pattern piece for the straps in half lengthwise.

And then I cut 4 in one fabric and 4 in a second fabric.  Two (in each fabric) will become the straps, and the rest will become the tabs.

4.  To sew the straps, take two contrasting fabrics and place right sides together.  With a straight stitch, sew the long sides.  Do this twice, as we need two straps.
(Sorry for the truly horrible pictures.  I am much better at sewing than photography.)
5.  Now turn the straps right side out and press.

6.  I like to topstitch the straps along both long sides now.  Your straps are finished, so set them aside for now.

7.  For the tabs, you should have 4 small pieces of fabric (from step 3).  Fold each one in half widthwise (to make it look short and fat) with right sides together.  Sew along both long edges.  Then turn rightside out through the only open edge.
(Oh my, I am so apologetic for these poor pictures!  I can't tell how blurry they are when I am taking them.  I only realize it later when I try to put together the tutorial!)

8.  Make sure you really push out the corners of these tabs to make them nice and square.  Then press them.  Now your four tabs are complete, and you can set them  aside for later.

You have completed the slow and tedious part of this dress.  The rest is easy and fun!

9.  Take one dress piece and pin the straps in place right sides together.  You want the straps to be on the upper edge of the dress, 1 cm away from the sides (to allow for your seam).

10.  Now take a second dress piece and place it on top, right sides together.  Pin it in place.

11. Can you see the two red pins on the right side of this picture?  I am going to leave the area between the two pins open, as we will turn the dress through that opening later on.

Sew all along the top edge, starting at the left side sewing the curved underarm seam, across the straight front center, and then the right curved underarm seam, leaving the opening between the two red pins.  Make sure your straps stay nice and straight as you sew over them.  At this point, you might want to peek between the two layers and make sure everything looks good.

12.  Next, we need to place the tabs in place at the corners (at the end of the curved underarm seam).  See how my tab is just peeking out?  I pushed it right up against the line of stitching that I just sewed and pinned it in place.  (If the tab placement is unclear, take a look at the picture in step 17 where I show this on the second half of the dress.)

13.  Now sew down the straight side edges and across the curved bottom, making sure to keep your fabric layers lined up the whole time.  I wanted a ricrac edge on mine, so I lined up some ricrac between the layers at the bottom edge so it would be caught while I sewed that seam.

14.  Now turn it right side out through the opening you left in the curved underarm seam. Press the whole piece.  Then, topstitch all the way around the whole piece, close to the edge, making sure you close the opening in the process.  I started at one corner by a tab, sewed the curved underam, the straight front, the other curved underarm,the straight side, across the curved bottom, and back up the second straight side.

15.  One half of the dress is finished! 

On to the second half!  Place one of the dress pieces (pattern piece 1) on your table, and place your finished half on top, pinning the straps into position like this:

16.  Now you need to fold up your finished half, so that it won't get in the way as you sew around the second half.  So fold it into a nice neat pile like this:

17.  Pin your remaining two tabs in place:

18.  Place the final dress piece (pattern piece 1) right sides together, matching edges all around, and pin in place.  Just like last time, you are going to leave an opening on the curved underarm seam so you can turn it later.

19.  Now sew all the way around.  This time, I started sewing at the white pin, sewed down the straight side edge, across the curved bottom, back up the straight edge, and across the top until I reached the yellow pin.  (Don't forget to include your ricrac on the bottom hem, if desired.)

20.  Turn the whole thing through the opening you have left.  Start by pulling the completed dress half out through this opening.  Then press the whole thing and topstitch, as you did in step 14.  This is how it should look:

21.  The final step is to add snaps or buttons and buttonholes to your tabs.  I used plastic snaps.  (This is the darkest picture of the bunch, but at least it is not blurry!)

All done and ready for playtime!

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