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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Introducing the new Seraphina dress with a little bit of fabric improvisation!

Many of you may not know this about me, that I grew up performing (stage drama & musicals) and today, as that act of my life is over, I still leave room in my art for the opportunity to improvise. Sometimes that means doubling up on fabric instead of using interfacing to stabilize the fabric. Making bias tape straps without cutting on the bias, basting a zipper with glue instead of pinning all the way around. And like this time, hiding a connector piece under the main skirt so I can conserve on my Out Of Print (OOP), very limited piece of Amy Butler fabric.

I had the pleasure of testing the new pattern from Honeydew Kisses, The Seraphina Dress. A classic look with the hint of vintage flair. The tunic and dress have an optional bodice choice of pin-tucks (pleats) or a flat bodice. The two layers of skirts give the illusion of fullness without the need of an additional tutu underskirt or an a wide piece of fabric. Lastly, the over-sized peter-pan collar that wraps beautifully around the neck line to showcase the back buttons and create a full cap sleeve look.

As soon as I downloaded the Seraphina pattern, I knew exactly which fabric to use. For a few years now, I have been holding on to one-28 inches piece of Amy Butler Design OOP Sketchbook Roses in Fresh that was screaming for this pattern. I knew it would be a stretch to sew with it, as 28 inches usually yields to either a bodice or a short skirt, but not a full dress. After playing around with the pattern pieces, I decided that my soft Kona in Evening-reminiscing of Cinderella's blue dress color would create the overall dress and showcase the front pin-tucks. My (less than a yard) OOP Amy Butler fabric will create the collar, the side sash(s) and half of the underskirt. YES, I did say HALF the underskirt. Frankly because that's all I had left.

And now I'll share with you my quick guide  "How to improvise with little fabric and still keep the measurements and the look required to test and finish a pattern look" guide by Baby Hobbes Design while sewing the Seraphina Dress Under Skirt. This method can easily be adapted to work with other patterns.

Since it was the underskirt, and I knew that at least half of it won't be shown (unless miss Hobbes decided to lift up the top-skirt) and in order to save on my OOP fabric, I wrote out a quick math equation that that allowed me to use 2 different fabric for the skirt and stick to the correct measurements.

For Hobbes size 3 dress, the length of the underskirt cutting measurements is 12.75" and after it's finished and hemmed, the top skirt sits about 3' inch above it. So I did this: (measurements in inches, math equation written from left to right)

12.75 - 3 = 9.75"

Then I need to include the hem in my equation because I will be using the the OOP fabric at the bottom. The hem in the Seraphina dress calls for a total of  0.50' inch

9.75 - 0.50 = 9.25"

Now I don't want the underskirt OOP fabric to start exactly where the top skirt hits, so I planned to overlap by 1.5 inches

9.25 - 1.50 = 7.75" (this represents the amount of skirt length that will be at the top of the underskirt, hidden and therefor connect the OOP fabric that will be visible in the underskirt)

With the above information, I took my original underskirt measurements of 12.75" and subtracted 7.75". The remainder of 5" in length is what will be cut from my OOP fabric. However, before I cut my fabrics, it is IMPORTANT that I add ONE seam allowance to each fabric where the two skirt pieces will connect. I decided to add an even 0.5 inch to each skirt piece and sew them together with a 0.5" inch seam.

Therefore my final measurements for Hobbes size 3 Seraphina underskirt were:

Top (connector/hidden piece) of the underskirt: 7.75" + 0.5" = 8.25"
Bottom (visible piece) of the underskirt: 5" + 0.5" + 5.50"

***Now just saw the two under-skirt pieces with 0.5" seam, top stitch and continue the pattern as written.

Ok, maybe not such a quick math equation, but very easy to follow, right? It's just a little trick that I sometimes use that give me the opportunity to work with a small pieces or hard to find (H2F) fabric.

Lastly, I personally love any opportunity for a classic button-up back. And the Seraphina dress allowed me to use my nifty Cover Button Kit by Dritz to hand-make beautiful fabric buttons using little fabric scraps that match the dress. And if you aren't friends with your machine button hole maker, there is another trick you can use (follow the link here) to help you get the look of buttons without punching any holes.

I hope you feel inspired to sew with your OOP and H2F fabrics now too! And if you haven't yet checked out the Honeydew Kisses Seraphina dress, please check it out Here.
If you love Hobbes pretty M2M flower headband, visit The Little Sparrow Boutique.
And if you enjoyed this blog, please come say hi to me at Baby Hobbes Design.

Till next time!
Happy Sewing

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