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Elisalex Dress Sewalong #5: Assembling & attaching the tulip skirt

Aloha ladies! If all goes to plan, we'll have our finished Elisalex Dresses in time for Easter weekend! And I don't know about you guys, but I'm thinking that my pastel blue vintage curtain fabric could not be more perfect! Provided it stops bloody snowing, that is...

*If you have just joined us, you can find all the Elisalex Dress Sewalong posts here*

So today girls, we will mostly be:

  • Checking that our bodices fit perfectly
  • Assembling the box pleats on the tulip skirt
  • Closing the side seams
  • Attaching the skirt to the bodice

And we'll have something that looks a bit like this:

IMG_0163

Before we begin: Checking the fit of the bodice

Now is the time to try on your bodice!! Before attaching the skirt it's essential to check that you're happy with the fit of your bodice, just in case you need to make any alterations. Try on your bodice inside out and if possible, ask someone to carefully pin up the open back 5/8" in from the raw edge in order to mimic the fit once the zipper has been inserted.

If the bust is too big:

This is a common issue if, unlike those of you needing an FBA, your bust measurement falls into a smaller size bracket than your waistline measurement.

Lifting the lining out of the way, simply pinch the princess seams at the bust and pin evenly until you're happy with the fit. It is important to only take in the seams at the bust area and not all the way down to the waistline, and not to take the side seams in, as this will then mess up the matching of seams and pleats when you come to attaching the skirt. Remember to take in the princess seams of the lining in the same way.

photo

If the bust is too small:

Hopefully it's only too small by a tiny amount, in which case all you need to do is reduce the seam allowance at the curve of the bust at the princess seams. If this is not enough and the bust is significantly too tight, you probably needed a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)...

Now that we're happy with the fit of the bodice, it's time to assemble and attach the skirt!

Step 1: Box pleats

Start with one of your skirt back pieces, right side facing you. Check that you have snipped the three notches at the waistline, and mark them now with three pins. The central pin represents the centre of the pleat; the two pins on either side will be folded in to meet the central pin to create the pleat.

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Secure the pleat into place with pins, and baste into place. It's a good idea to baste the pleat 5/8" (or slightly more) in from the raw edge so that when you come to attach the bodice, the folds at the centre of the pleat will stay together, as opposed to shifting slightly apart (not the end of the world, just not as neat and crisp a pleat). Any visible stitches can easily be removed once the skirt and bodice have been joined.

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

And this is how it will look from the back:

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Repeat this on the other skirt back piece, and the two box pleats on the front piece.

Step 2: Close side seams

With right sides together, lay your back pieces onto your front piece and pin down the two side seams, matching waistline, notches and hemline. If you've decided to add side seam pockets, remember to stitch down the side seam, around the pockets and down the rest of the side - don't stitch your pocket shut! If you've omitted the pockets, simply stitch down the length of the side seams, press open, and finish the excess seam allowance. DO NOT CLOSE THE BACK SEAM!

assembling the skirt - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Step 3: Attaching the skirt to the bodice

Lay out your skirt flat, right side facing you.

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Now lay your bodice on top, right sides together, (lining out of the way!) and begin pinning them together along the waistline, matching the side seams, the centre back opening, and matching the princess seams to the box pleats.

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Stitch into place, and press the seam allowance up towards the bodice.

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

assembling a box pleat - elisalex dress sewalong - by hand london

Looking good.

For those of you making a straight up Elisalex, you're almost done! We'll be back by the end of the week with the final post in which we'll be inserting zippers (both exposed and invisible), hemming and putting the finishing touches to the lining.

But for those of you making the Reversalex, or those of you who are thinking about alternative skirt possibilities, we'll be back even sooner talking in depth about the concept of modular dressing, revealing how to make your Elisalex Dress reversible and which skirt combos will work best.

In other news, we have been absolutely floored by all of your amazing Elisalex Dresses that keep pooping up in Blogville! Just feast your eyes upon Elise's honey satin deliciousness, Roisin's spectacular bird print bombshell number and Heather Lou's polka dot Minnie Mouse madness, to name but a few. Keep 'em coming girls!!

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Comments on this post ( 1 )

  • Dec 16, 2014

    How would I move the zipper to the side rather than the back???

    — Catherine

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