Troubleshooting: Vertical Skirt Crease

So, I made this dress for Aislinn last year:
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(Aislinn, Meave saw this dress on the dummy and asked if I could please make her a special dress just like it…and then she had to get a picture “in it”…so that is what this is!)

When I sent it off, it looked like this:
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Can you see the difference? Yes, it is on a hanger in the above pic, but the issue I have to deal with has nothing to do with whether or not it is on a hanger or a dress dummy. Here’s the problem:
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Looks like a belling issue caused by faulty connection between the bodice and the skirt…but is it?

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No, it is belling caused by a vertical crease…

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The creases that have been danced into this center front panel are faintly visible above.  Below I have drawn colors over the fault lines.  Pink are auxiliary lines to the main weak lines in red.

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When I fold the CFP, you can see the fold lines a different way.

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I can even feel them…which is what the gratuitous pic is below…I just love this lining fabric!

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So…what happened, why, and how do I fix it?

What happened?  Why?  Well, let me “free form think” this out:

One of the problems that Susan and I were seeing and trying to avoid, at the time, were the horizontal creases (hip to hip) that appear on single panel, flat front dresses…there was talk of it on the boards and evidence in pics everywhere.  I likened them to sandwich boards.  (Notice that trend seems to have died out…thank the dance costuming gods!)  That horizontal crease was happening because unless there were HUGE pleats behind the front side panels AND the dancer was flat as a board, the crease was going to happen in response to the stress caused by kicking and even sitting.  The weight of these dresses means that the creation of the crease was a faster and easier answer for the skirt to the power of the fast kicks…the crease could happen easier than lifting the whole front panel.  The swoop dresses had the same problem to deal with.

Our journey here: Swoop dress center front panel

According to the dancers, and according to the evidence, with this swoop dress construction, we eliminated the horizontal crease…there are none in these pics.  But, because the CFP is a separately moving entity UNDER the FSPs, there is stress being placed vertically, directly center on the CFP.  The FSPs are like walls that the CFP is trying to squeeze through…hence the vertical creases.  Does that make sense?

For me, now, this is big Duh.

How do I fix it?  I fix it with good old steel boning.

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I need two strips to stabilize the CFP horizontally: one near the top so the CFP can no longer be pushed through the FSPs, and one near the bottom to prevent any vertical folding when Aislinn kicks.  I am not going to put the bottom boning on the back side of the the CFP, however.

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I am going to put it on the front, underneath the pleated fabric.

First I have to prep these pieces of boning so that they are as unobtrusive as possible when they are on the skirt.

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First, I sew the pieces to strips of Firmflex.

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I apply wonder-under to pieces of the skirt lining, and the pleat underlining.

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Cut the fabric around the wonder-under and place the strips.

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Fuse the fabric to the front sides of the strips.

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Trim.

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Finish fusing.

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After I have carefully steamed the creases out of the CFP…

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…this is where I place the boning strips.

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These will be hand sewn.  Every few stitches, I will go all the way through the Firmflex to make sure these strips do their duty well!

I have a few quick alterations to complete on this dress, and then I will post pics of the dress with its corrected skirt hang.  You can see that here: Troubleshooting: Vertical Skirt Crease, Part II

(Suzanne pointed out that the ends of the boning should be finished off so there is no poking through at all.  I had forgotten in the pics, remembered at 3 am, so went back and added my usual which is either cloth bandaid tape or a bit of gauze and tape.  No pics though.  You just want to cover the sharp steel ends.)

“Reselling dresses for Profit”

ReAnne has started a discussion of this raging topic on the forum: click here

What do you think?

My Guard Garb

So after I wrote “Now, off to guard the gates…should I wear my armor or an ID dress with feathers!!?” at the end of the last post, I did try half-heartedly to find a pic of something amusing.  I kept coming back to liking costumes from “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which has always been one of my all time favorite movies, but decided not to post any.

Then, just now, Katie (mendylady) posts: “Definitely feathers.  and hologram lame.  and platforms with goldfish. ;P  Have you watched Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at all recently?”

HA!!  Great minds…so here is my guard garb!

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There is something perversely appropriate about these costumes for this job, wouldn’t you say?

Thank goodness… a DRESSMAKING question!

Sorry I haven’t been writing much…please, PLEASE feel free to send things you have written so I can post your wonderful cogitations at dry times like these….this is truly more boring and trying for me as I really want to write about SOMETHING …anyTHING…so, please, save us all.

Actually, there is much to write about with the Teelin dresses, but I do not want to post things until they have been approved…getting there!

But, there is cause for excitement because Amy asked a question!  Thank you, Amy!  (Beware…the rest of this is photo intensive.  If, like Susan, you want to throttle me when I do posts like this, proceed at your own peril or check out now!  I like the pics because I myself learn more when I can see it…in tutorials of all types, if there are pics, I rarely read the explanations or I go back to the words after I have perused the pics.  Do what you will…just don’t swear at me!)

Amy asked:  Did you make individual appliques and sew them onto the petals (of the tunic dress)?  If so, would love to see a tutorial on applique making.  Is that what you normally do or do you embroider directly onto the fabric?

I personally like to sew directly onto the fabric as much as I can because applique patches require extra work to get them onto the fabric…and, because I want them to look as if they are NOT patches, that entails even more fussing.  Up until the tunic dresses, I only made patches for the shawl pins, like these on Liz’s dress –Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 

…and occasionally when the embroidery had become so dense on a piece that there was no way to get the fabric into the hoop effectively like the sides of the design on the CFP of the fire dress:

That being said, except for the pink panels, cuffs and bodice on Dana’s tunic, all the rest of of the applique and embroidery designs on the tunic dresses are patches.
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In fact, the leaves around the neckline on Katelyn’s dress above are also done as two separate long patches that met in the middle.  Could have embroidered it directly onto the fabric, but quite frankly, considering the cost of the fabric and the fact there was not extra in case I messed up, it was safer and easier on my nerves to do it as a patch.

The main reason that I do the the panel embellishment as patches is because it is ultimately easier and even faster.  I do embroider directly onto the fabric for my panel dresses, but I do this BEFORE I cut the fabric to the right shape.  Each panel is made separately and then sewn to the dress.  With the tunic dresses, the panels are integrated into the whole dress…I suppose I could take the time to do the applique and embroidery onto each panel, but there is no room for mistakes.  If I screw up the placements or angles, I have to cut a whole new tunic!  No thanks!!!

So, how do I do this?  Like this:

I use a LOT of this stuff –

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If you look online for tutorials involving this sticky stabilizer, you are told to cut your length of the stabilizer and then put it, paper back and all, into the outside hoop as below.

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Then you are told to score an area…

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…and pull off the paper.

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I hate this because ultimately the hoop loses tension on the stabilizer and the fabric being embroidered can, and usually does, start to pucker.  I hate puckering and will do all I can to avoid it.  I have yet to have a perfect embroidery sample, but I am working on it.

I pull the paper backing off the entire piece of sticky back stabilizer…

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…and attach it to my inner hoop.

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This next pic shows the sticky back attached tightly…when I thwack it with my finger it sounds like a drum.  (Please excuse my “dirty” hoop…that is fabric dust, thread, sequins, etc, embedded in spray adhesive from my attempts to use the stuff years ago.  It never goes away!)

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Then I cut a piece of tearaway stabilizer…

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…and then hoop the whole shebang.

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Now, I deal with the getting the stiffness I need in a patch a few different ways:  I super-stabilize the applique fabric by using 2 or 3 layers of Decorbond; I fuse the embroidered fabric to Firmflex (like Timtex); or I embroider onto Peltex which is thinner than the Firmflex and Timtex.  For this project, I decided to use Peltex.

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I normally cut the correct shape from the Peltex using a template, but it is also thin enough to do the following…

…press the Peltex onto the sticky back.

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Stitch out the patch outline.

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Trim closely using applique scissors.

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Here both shapes are trimmed.

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I will do the circular shape first as it is applique.  Here is the first fabric, a foil lycra.  (I knew there would be a purpose for all of these scraps someday!)

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This has been stabilized with a woven fusible and Decorbond.  I stabilize EVERYTHING!  I do this because I want these fancy fabrics to stand up to the dense embroidery stitching and to last.

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Second fabric is a textured lame…

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…this time stabilized with a tricot fusible and Decorbond.

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The sticky back makes it easy for me to make sure the applique fabric lays down smoothly as it holds it securely for the tack down stitching.

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I use the red as the base fabric.  I then stitch out the placement lines for the second fabric.  I do this in case I decide to use a template so I can cut exact shapes or if I am conserving fabric by using smaller pieces cut previously…this allows me to either then (obviously) place the cut piece correctly or to make sure the smaller piece will cover the area.

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Then I place and tack down the second fabric.

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Now trim.

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I have gotten into the habit of running a line of Fray-check along the tack down stitches.  No matter the fabric, this helps keep holes from being made or fabric from fraying when the stitching is dense.

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I use a piece of white satin stabilized with Decorbond on the second patch.  Here’s the tack down.  I used black so it would show in the pics…normally I would use a color to match the fabric or the satin stitching to come.

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This next pic shows the second patch trimmed and the first 2 colors stitched out.  (Like my logo?  Designed it myself.)

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Patch stitching done.

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Now I punch them out.

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As you can see, there is a fine fuzz surrounding the patches.  This is from both the sticky and tearaway stabilizers.  This needs to be trimmed away.  I either use my applique scissors or my fine, curved embroidery scissors…which I cannot find at the moment.

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Here they are trimmed.  I can get closer with the smaller scissors…obviously the trick here is to trim closely without cutting threads.  Since the edge embroidery thread is white, this is where I stop.  When it is colored, I use either a permanent Sharpie or a fabric dye pen in the right color, and I color in the outside edge so all the white is gone.  This also further softens the stabilizer that is left which makes it lay flatter…you really cannot see it after that.

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Here are the backsides of the patches.  The Taoknitter symbol is covered with bobbin thread, so other than a bit of trimming, this one is done.  I could leave the circular patch as is, but I usually remove the tearaway and the sticky back…not really sure why I do it!

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I have made a few patches in the past by appliqueing onto fabric, like this flower below.

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This makes trimming very difficult because unlike the tearaway stabilizers that will wear away off of the edges, any fabric fuzzies and/or threads will not.  I have found that muslin is easier to get rid of because it is a looser weave, unlike the satin above.  But, there really is no need to make patches like this.  I do like having a single layer of fabric to anchor the whole patch, but I deal with it as I have shown in the 2 patches above.

When I want there to be fabric on the back of the patch as below (this was an old experiment which would have again required tedious trimming)…

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…then I follow these steps:

  1. Follow all the patch steps above until right before the final outside satin-stitching.
  2. In my digitized design, I have added another patch outline running stitch. 
  3. I remove the hoop from the machine and turn it over.
  4. I use either a spray adhesive or a bit of Fabri-tac to attach fabric, right side out, over the back of the patch.  Make sure there is no fabric hanging down to get caught in your machine.
  5. Put the hoop back on and run the patch outline,
  6. Remove the hoop again, trim the fabric under the hoop to the tack down line.  Fray-check the line.
  7. Replace the hoop on the machine and run the final satin stitch outline.
  8. Punch out the hoop and finish as above.

Hmm…more ID Weirdness???

So, have you all seen the discussion on Celtic Flame?  Here is part:

From what I have heard, it is more an opportunity for the Commission to cash in on costumes
Author:
Not impressed at all
[


Date Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 11:49:17am
In reply to: looking ahead ‘s message,
“any predictions about new dress rules coming down the pipe?” on Monday, February 18, 12:47:27am


From what I have been told by a member of An Coimisiun, dressmakers/designers would be encouraged to “apply” to An Coimisiun with their ideas and proposals. An Coimisiun would dictate the kinds of fabrics to be used, the style of dress (i.e. solid dress, split panel, 1 color, 2 color, etc.) and the areas on which designs/embroidery/embellishments could appear. Any dressmaker wishing to make a costume would then apply to An Coimisiun for permission/rights to make an approved costume. An Coimisiun would receive a fee for granting the privilege to the dressmaker to make an approved dress, and then reward the selected designer with a portion of that fee (perhaps). I believe that An Coimisiun is in a position to give clear guidelines as to what is or is not acceptable, as they did in the past. However, I think what they anticipate passing, ie., another way for them to generate revenues (and for what???), is totally out of order

Umm…Michelle?  Is this your understanding?

A help session…but first some stuff

First, I would like to thank those of you who responded to my last post…you gave me much to think about and to be thankful for.  You are such cool women, and if I cannot meet you all together in one place, this is the next best thing.  Thank you for your thoughts, for what you shared, for who you are, and for being here, being a part of this group.  For those of you who have lost children, I send you my love and intense admiration…you leave me speechless.

Second…I have been getting requests to join the forum from people I do not know.  If some of the applications are from you all, please register with the same user name as you use here on the blog.  If any of you are telling folks about the forum and that is where these applications are coming from, that’s ok, but they have to register a username and ask to be added to the blog.  Remember, no anonymity.  I am denying all applications from folks I do not know.

Ok, important business:  Lisa needs some help and input.  As you all look at this, if you need more input, info or pics, say so.  I will admit to being in a fog at the moment, so if I have not already asked for enough info to help, I apologize. She would also like me to let you know that she is a relative newbie…so we shall be on our best behavior (aren’t we always?) and we will be as descriptive as possible with our suggestions. If you want to add pics to your suggestions, send them to me and I will post them.

Hi Ann: Attached is a photo of the dress on which I am working.
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My goal was to jazz it up a bit by remaking the front of the skirt-similar to the DIC or Elevation dresses, where there is a stiff small front yoke to which the petal panels are attached, with a layer or 2 of contrasting fabric attached to the yoke-thereby creating a new front panel. I do have a photo of what I was able to create over the weekend-but there were some technical difficulties in that it would be hard to dance in when kicking up and out. My original skirt, as seen in the photo-was constructed before I had the feisdress pattern-and my goal was to make something very lightweight for the dancer. I used a poodle skirt pattern and only incorporated knife pleats in the front/back and it looked fine on the dancer.

On side note-I was somewhat validated when I read the UK/Ireland voy board today as the new dress styles were discussed-everyone loves the simpler look-so feel right on track with my daughter’s dress–if I just can hang in there and not give up.

Here are photos of a dress similar to what I am attempting:
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Another dress is on the Dancing in Celtic site:
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My shorter yoke will be rounded-my issue is how to do the sides–and I have already deconstructed the original skirt-don’t want to cut into it yet-have very little of the base fabric left-used a leftover piece for the new yoke I made which is in the forthcoming photo.

If anyone has suggestions for me-I am open to any help. My original skirt has medium wt. interfacing and I wonder if I should try to find a way to insert more stiffener on the sides? The DIC dress seems to have the back of the skirt wrapping around the front from the sides and completing the front of the skirt–does that make sense? It shouldn’t be this hard for me to figure out-but I am feeling stymied lately.

Here are photos of my attempt to remake the skirt-I can see that the yoke is probably too long (waist to end closest to the ruffle).
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Have cut another yoke, using different fabric and less stiffener-and making it not as long-and attaching a layer of white sequin fabric with the white tulle ruffle along the bottom-will send those photos when I get it together-still stumped on how to attach the entire thing to the sides/back.

the stumper piece is shown on the above photos-with the tulle ruffle along the bottom-but I will take a photo of that part not attached to anything–will send in a bit

Here are the individual skirt components:
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The top is the actual original skirt front-after deconstruction.

The bottom is the first attempt to make a stiff yoke-shorter than original skirt to which petal panels would be attached-similar to DIC styles.

Middle is a revised yoke-less stiff and using different fabric.

Notice the cut of the waistline-I botched the first attempt:
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Issues:

trying to figure out where to include extra fabric to attach to the sides/back of skirt.

the DIC dresses look as though the yoke extends around the sides to the back–and most of their dresses have solid backs

The Elevation dresses have the shorter stiff yoke all around the dress-almost as if the skirt was made and bottom 2/3’rds is cut off, lacy fabric attached and petals tacked on top

The main issue is getting the front attached to the back with this style and finding the good balance of stiffness so the front does not hinder dancing-remember how many complained about the DIC/Elevation dresses bruising thighs????

Pics of Katelyn’s Tunic Dress

Here she is!!!! Thank you so much, Grace, for sending them.

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Soft cape.

 Here she is dancing.

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I just love the way this skirt moves!

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Thank you, Katelyn!

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