Monday, December 26, 2022

What I Made

Did you all have a good Christmas? 

I thought it would be fun to show you some some dresses I've made in the past. I made this one in November. I planned to wear it on my birthday.

I put double darts in the front of the bodice, and a single one in the back. 

The front of the skirt has knife pleats, the back is gathered.

 I didn't use any zippers or buttons. The dress is loose enough to get on without them, and I have a tie that goes with the dress.

Trim on the sleeves...

Which matches the ruffle on the skirt.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

To God be the glory,

Miss Humphrey

Monday, December 19, 2022

"Free-hand" Sewing Series: Post#3: Putting It All Together

Don't miss the previous parts of this series, Designing Your Dress and Measuring and Cutting.
 You've designed your dress and cut it out. Now it's time to sew it together!
We'll start with the neckline facing. 
Match your facing to the neckline and stitch ~5/8" around it.
I cut the sides of the facing to keep them out of the way of the armhole.

Next, snip the curves of the neckline like this. Be careful not to snip your stitches, though! This will really help with the next step...

Turn your facing over into the inside of your dress.

If you have an iron, press it.

Next, top-stitch around your neckline. I did a ~3/8" top-stitch, but you can do narrower if you like.


 If you're doing a jumper, fold the armhole edge over twice and sew it down, as shown below:

 Next, sew the side seams...from the bottom of the armhole to the skirt.

Next, lay your dress out on the table or floor and position it where the folds are at the front and back instead of the side seams. The side seam will be in the middle now. The skirt should look like this:

Cut across the bottom in a gentle curve...

This will make sure that the sides of your dress don't hang down further than the middle of your dress.

Fold the hem of the skirt twice and sew it down. (The dress is now folded at the side seams again.)

For the sleeve option...

We'll start with a casing for elastic on the bottom of the sleeve. Remember to make your casing wider than your elastic. If you're using 1/4" elastic, make a 3/8" or 1/2" casing, and if you're using 1/2" elastic, consider a 5/8" or 3/4" casing, or whatever looks right to you. Remember to leave room for your seam, too!

You can do this next step on the machine, but I did it by hand. Baste (or make big stitches) along the top of your sleeve, and do not tie the end of your thread off.

Now gather...


Put your sleeve over the shoulder of your dress, like this:

The wrong side of the sleeve should be on the outside. Sew the sleeve on.

(I realize I should have removed the T-shirt on my dress form before doing this sleeve demonstration. Hopefully it will not be too confusing)

 Now you can turn it right-side out again...


Measure your upper arm (or wherever the hem of the sleeve will fall) with elastic, and add 1" to that measurement. Cut 2 pieces this length.

 Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic and feed it into your sleeve hem/casing. Use the safety pin to guide your elastic through it, but
just before the other end of your elastic disappears into the casing, sew it down:

 When you've pulled it all the way through, sew the end down. 

Now you want to sew the bottom of the sleeve together. Make sure the seam is on the inside and that there's no gap between the armhole and the sleeve seam. This may be easiest done by hand.

The grand comparison...

This is the design I started sewing freehand dresses with. 

Nowadays I like to make 2 piece designs and circle dresses, which I may do some tutorials on in the future.

Hopefully you enjoyed this series and found it easy to follow. I realize this isn't the conventional sewing method, and that is why I call it "Freehand Sewing!"

Enjoy your Christmas! 

Monday, December 12, 2022

"Free-hand" Sewing Series: Post #2: Measuring And Cutting! (Plus, a change of plans!)

You've designed your dress and picked out fabric to sew it with. Now what?

If you're sewing with me, just grab:

A pencil or fabric marker


A t-shirt that fits you

Your fabric yardage

To begin, fold your fabric in 1/2 lengthwise.

Hold the folded fabric up to your shoulder and mark the desired length of your dress. 


Fold the fabric over at the point you marked. The fold is now the shoulder of your dress, and the edge you were holding up to your shoulder is the hem. Cut the remnant of the fabric off, but keep it handy. 

Next, lay your fabric out on a clear surface and fold your T-shirt in 1/2. Place it on the two folds, and tuck the sleeves in to show the shape of the armhole.

NOTE: you can also hold the fabric up to your shoulder and simply mark on it where you want the neckline, shoulders and armholes to be. The T-shirt method may be more successful for a beginner, though.

Using a T-shirt that fits you will help the neckline, armholes, and shoulders be custom-tailored to YOUR size.

Cut around the BACK of the shirt's neckline. (You can also draw it onto your fabric first and take the shirt off before you cut). 

DON'T try to cut around the shoulder of the T-shirt, because the fold is your shoulder. 


NOTE: You can cut a neckline bigger, but you can't cut one smaller! Err on the side of a smaller neckline when you're drawing and cutting it out. Keep in mind that sewing the facing on (in the next post) can enlarge it up to 1 1/4 inches.

Make a mark at the FRONT neckline.

 Next, draw a curved line 2-4" away from the armhole, that looks like this:

 Remove the shirt and cut from the shoulder to the armpit as shown.

Next, cut from the armpit to the bottom corner of your fabric. 

 Unfold your dress like this:

Cut a curved line from the front neckline mark you made up to the back neckline:

By unfolding the dress first, you didn't make the mistake I have made in the past - of cutting a back neckline to the same depth as a front neckline.

To be honest with you, I had planned for this dress design to have sleeves. But then I put it on my dress form with a white shirt underneath it...Oh, it was so pretty as a jumper! So, I am taking a piece of my own advice and listening to my fabric.

My fabric is begging to be made into a jumper, not a dress with sleeves of the same material! A white accent is like an anchor to the bold, red print.

So, I'll show you how to make a jumper and a dress with sleeves, and you can pick the one you like best!   

There are so many variations of sleeves you can do! But the basic sleeve shape looks like a bell when unfolded.

 Cut two of these on the fold of your fabric.

If you've decided to make a long sleeve, cut out the curved line only, and hold the top of it a little above your shoulder. Bend your arm with the fabric over it and smooth it to the shape of your arm. Make a mark between your wrist and your knuckles, and cut a straight line across the fabric at that point. Cut from the sides of the curve straight down to the line for a puffed sleeve, or a slightly angled line for a straight sleeve. Just don't make it too tight!


At this point, you're almost through cutting the pieces for your dress. Let's finish up this post with the neckline facing!

Take a piece of fabric that is 6" larger than your neckline in all dimensions, and fold it in half. With your dress still unfolded the long way, lay it on the fabric, with the neckline opening on the fold. 

Trace the neckline onto the fabric, remove the dress, and cut the shape. 


Next, cut a 3" border around your original cut. Unfolded, it should look like  this:

If you want, you can cut out a matching tie for your dress.

That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you're following along, drop me a line! I enjoy receiving your comments.

To God be the glory,

 Miss Humphrey

Make The Most Of Your Special Day....Week....Month....year....

Being that it's graduation season, and I am partaking in the excitement this year, I deem it appropriate to post something of this categ...