Class · Review · Sewing

Tuesdays with Gertie: The First Signs of a Dress

This year I’m sewing along with Gertie from Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up through the Craftsy online community to make perfectly fitted bombshell dresses. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.

I’m excited to finally see the dress take shape, but this week was a doozy.  All I had to do was sew the skirt, right?  Easy peasy, especially after sewing in those bra cups.  Well, the video lesson started with Gertie saying she’d already sewn together the back skirt pieces.  What?!  I was already behind five seconds into the video?!  And, the video was over thirty minutes long?!

Anyway, it all worked out.  I changed up one tiny detail from the lesson in the video:  I always like to sew three lines of gathering stitches instead of just two.  It’s hard to know if it really makes a difference, but I’m really happy with the way the gathers look.  That said, it was tough to sew the bodice to the skirt over all of those gathers while also matching all of the seams and not catching any extra fabric or any of those giant seam allowances (which still felt large even after being trimmed down!) in the stitches.  I may have taken the seam ripper out.  Nearly ten times.  But, again, all that matters is that it all worked out.

One thing that I was never quite confident about was which direction to sew the side seams of the skirt pieces.  I learned to sew from the bottom of skirts to the top – from wide to narrow.  Gertie sewed her skirt pieces from top to bottom.  Maybe with a skirt this narrow, wide to narrow is actually top to bottom?  Or, maybe with this shape of skirt either way is okay?

Next up:  the lapped zipper.

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15 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Gertie: The First Signs of a Dress

  1. Hi Amy! The idea with directional sewing is to go in the direction of the grain, I believe. So that’s why you’d usually sew an a-line skirt from wide-to-narrow. But I believe with a straight skirt it wouldn’t matter.

    I’m really enjoying following your progress, by the way! I signed up for the course but I’m still at the choosing fabric and watching videos stage.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I’d forgotten why my teacher said wide to narrow, but your comment rang a bell. You should join me in trying to get a teeny bit done on your Craftsy class each week!

  2. Ah interesting question Amy! In fact I read a blog post about this the other day so went to find it for you (I don’t know how I came across it as it’s dated from December!)
    http://gorgeousfabrics.com/blog/2011/12/06/there-are-no-hard-and-fast-rules-in-sewing/
    Seems that it’s all to do with grain line and on an A-line skirt it matters whereas if the skirt is straight up and down it doesn’t matter so much. Well, I think that’s the consensus – I still haven’t really wrapped my head around the warp/weft thing yet.
    Lovely looking dress btw 🙂

    1. Thanks! That makes a lot of sense and reminds me of the details I should have remembered from my lesson. The next time I’m sewing wide to narrow, I’ll remember why!

  3. Love the dress, it’s so pretty in that fabric.
    For gathering I put thicker coat thread in the bobbin and adjust the tension so it’s not going through the fabric if it’s fine. The coat thread doesn’t run the same risk of snapping. I’m pretty sure my Mom did three rows for gathering prior to investing in a gathering foot. She used to sell baby crib sets and there were a lot of gathered edges on those quilts etc.

  4. Really taking shape – sorry for the pun. Seriously, looks great!! Those gathers look perfect to me – well done and interesting about the a-line skirt dilemma – I didn’t know that, so I’ve learnt something new – yay!!

  5. It’s looking so good! Your gathers are perfect. You are going to look stunning in this color!
    I’ve been taught that it doesn’t matter the stitching direction with a straight skirt but you should be consistent (meaning, if you stitch the left side from bottom to top, do the same on the other side).

  6. Amy, this seems like the perfect color for you and it’s looking very pretty. The side gathers just make this dress. And I can’t imagine sewing all those layers together without basting to death–I’d be seam-ripping a lot, too!

  7. Hi Amy!

    My recollection was that Tasia of Sewaholic did a convincing demonstration of why 3 rows of gather stitches work better than 2 — I think it makes your gathers a lot more even. I think your dress looks great! What a perfect summer color too!

  8. It’s coming along so nicely! Just last night I was thinking about the wide to narrow/sewing with the grain thing, and can only echo what everyone has already mentioned. I must say, as a former 2-lines, current 3-lines gatherer, I prefer three. I find it lends to fewer tucks/pleats, but that’s just me 🙂

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