Good tunic pics and a soft skirt

Katelyn went to the 4P’s feis this weekend (3rd place…whoo-hoo, Katelyn!), so I got a hold of her dress finally so I could check my work. I did not get good pics of it back in January because it was a rush job…there are just some people I can’t say no to, and this family just turned me to jello. It did get delivered on time, but there were a couple of things that did not get done, and I had no time to check my work, so I was glad to get it back. Have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that, except for some thread trimming, I really only needed to finish off the very ends of the panels and add crystals (Molly did the crystals for me…thanks, babes!)

So, here it is:
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This lace neckline was constructed as I explained here (Corset-style Bodice), and then the leaves, which were sewn as patches, were attached after.  The neckline itself is a tad wider and lower because this dancer can’t stand stuff on her neck.
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Because of this dancer’s shape, I ended the separating zipper about 1 inch higher than I had planned.  This makes me re-think the zippers on all my 2 pieces whether tunics or jackets…instead of attaching the zipper to this flaring area, this little bit of extra room allows the tunic/jacket to lay better because it allows this area to open and close as needed.  No riding up when the dancer is moving.
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Below we have the underside of one of the “pins.”  Photobucket

And here we have a wonderful thing…
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This was a surprise for Katelyn from her mother. The 3 orange ladybugs represent Katelyn and her 2 sisters…more of a story there, but it is not mine to tell.

And here is the soft skirt. I really like the way this one works.  The yoke is a cotton lycra, and the skirt slips on, no zipper.  Just above the green lace, you can make out a seam…this is a horizontal tuck that can be let out twice as Katelyn grows.  Voila!  Skirt is lengthened!
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Layer 1 is a single lace layer.  Layer 2 is a folded layer (like a bubble skirt but with nothing inside), attached 1 inch below the lace.  The basting lines are for lining it all up.
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I pleated all the layers this time, instead of gathering, which served to remove most of the bulk that poofs these skirts in the wrong places.  There was so much fabric that I had to get fancy with the pleating!
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On the back of the skirt, I ran one row of a multiple zigzag stitch to flatten this layer a bit over Katelyn’s rear-end…she is a tiny thing, but she has a dancer’s booty and the skirt poofed a bit much there!
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And here’s the 3rd layer, again folded and pleated.  I sewed this seam differently so there would be a bit more poof at this level.
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Close up of the pleats.
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Someone had asked before how I put the lining in, and here you have it…half bag lining.  In Liz’s tunic dress, I used a full bag lining, satin-stitching it together with the front around the panels as I have done here.  In this one, I left the side seams exposed (and the zipper seam), so that this can be let out some if needed…I am a big proponent of making alterations easy (for the dressmaker), and cheap (for the parents)!
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You can faintly see above the outline of the stitching that attaches the appliques to the panels.  Although I would prefer not to see this, this is the way I have to do it since I make the appliques as patches to apply after the lining is attached and the panels satin-stitched.  I do the patches because there is no room for error with these tunics…when I embroider non-tunic pieces, I outline my pieces, embroider, then re-check the pattern placement before cutting out the pieces.  Well, if I mess up the embroidery on one of these panels, I have to start all over as the front and backs are cut as single pieces…no fudging after embroidery because the panels won’t hang right.  Just easier for me to eyeball placement when it is all put together.

Back to the sewing

My last post reminded me why I stopped answering technique questions…the drama is draining.

As much as I have been blogging about dance technique issues you would think I have not been paying any attention to my dressmaking. Not so, not so.

But before I go there, I want to post this link to Kathleen Fasanella’s tutorial on “centered zipper construction.” My blog analytics show that lots of folks come here looking for info on putting in a zipper…I have also put the link under the Feisdress information on the left of the blog for future reference.

Back to the dressmaking…

1) Susan and I have been very busy working with an established school to design new school dresses. Very interesting process, and so far I am enjoying this immensely. I say so far because I know that this is not always an easy endeavor. Yet, the folks that we are working with are wonderful, very clear in their ideas and open to discussion. This is my first time being involved in the school design process from the very start…very interesting.

I have been looking at sources for fabric for this school. We need to find a supplier that can always get us what we want, but we also need to be realistic about the types of fabrics that we choose not only for their sturdiness and washability, but for the fact that they will still be available through the supplier 10 years from now!!

Designing the new embroidery has also been very interesting for me to be a part of. As soon as that is finalized, I will get busy digitizing while Susan develops their school patterns.

2) I have been digitizing the dress designs for a school account that I’ve had. Susan has been doing that by hand, but has decided to give that up. My idea of great fun is digitizing her designs!

3) We are working on our current custom solo dress. This is a client that has worked with Susan before…very nice folks. They chose a new design from Susan’s newest Feisdress design cd. It is a 2 piece, 10 panel dress. We went shopping with the dancer’s mother for more fabrics last week and then did up some panels with different fabric combinations for them to choose from.

Here are the three choices we sent. There is no embroidery yet…useless to mess with that until the colors are chosen.
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I was going to do one more combination, but they like this one. This was the 1st one Susan and I put together…messed around quite a long time deciding which fabrics to put together. It is on the fabric that will be used for the underskirt. Now to start messing with thread colors and finish the digitizing.
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These are the rejects.
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Susan has an incredible eye for color. I know what I do and don’t like, but I do not have her ability to look at a color and know what will work with it. This process was educational and fun once again. But now she gone on a trip and I have to decide on thread colors myself!!! Ack!

It is a sewing dungeon day…and I am looking forward to it.