Do you remember the Red Spot Dress that wasn’t going too well? Well I have been busy with my quick-unpick and now have the bodice underlined with calico. I haven’t fitted it yet, but here it is on the mannequin and it is looking a lot better:
As well as eliminating static and giving the fabric more support, I thought backing it with calico would make it more comfortable against the skin in summer – this polyester stuff* is quite plasticy!
Here’s what I did:
I preshrunk the calico in a hot wash, then cut it to the pattern piece. It is best to cut the shell and underlining together so they are exactly the same, but of course my outer fabric was already cut. Because it had already been sewn up, and clipped, and pressed, and unpicked, it could also be slightly distorted, so I took the calico to be the correct shape.
I machine basted my underlining to the shell, one edge at a time. Purists will say this must be done by hand, but I’ve never found that necessary. But you probably already know I question a lot of things in sewing books!
The dart was sewn before basting the edges together – first baste the two layers together up the middle of the dart, then sew and press the dart itself. This means the cloth allowance around the dart is accounted for before you start on the outer edges.
Next I sewed the CB edge, then the side seam/armhole with the fabrics folded lengthwise – this gives you the cloth allowance needed when the seam allowances are turned back. You will notice that the raw edges don’t match exactly – that’s the idea.
Then I basted the waistline, followed by the neck/shoulder, in the same way. Usually some areas, like the corners, need unpicking and rebasting – just listen to the cloth and do what it says! It’s a bit hard to see, but in the above picture there are a few stops and starts where I’ve ripped and reset – that’s OK because the stitching all gets removed in the end. That’s why you’ve used a long stitch length and didn’t backtack – oops, did I not tell you that earlier? – hehe!
The right side should show slight looseness, evenly all over, to allow for the cloth folds and body curvature when the garment is sewn up. You’ll see that some cut edges don’t match – that’s OK, the important bit is that the ease in the shell is correct.
To check that you have allowed the correct amount of ease in the shell, lightly press the turnings in. Press just inside your basting, which should be well within the seam allowance, so no creases are pressed in the part that will show:
The two layers should behave as one:
There should be no pulling in the layers like this:
…unless you want your garment to look like that when finished! I noticed I’ve got a small dimple at the side waist – I could probably leave this, but I will fix it because it is in an easy spot:
…and in the competition between me and this dress, I am going to win!
Just like the All Blacks!!!!!!!!!!
|Today’s Victory Parade – I was one of the 270,000!|
Some fabrics are easier to work with than others – this polyester is non-forgiving, but the washed cotton presses to shape well. Together they are quite compatible and I am liking the resulting fabric. This is what underlining is all about – changing the properties of your fabric to be more suitable for your design. In making my Totally Unnecessary Cocktail Dress, I even underlined the stretch satin with silk organza to eliminate the unwanted stretch.
That’s all for today – do you have any favourite underlining tips to add? Do you swear by hand sewing your underlining to the shell – or do you get just as good results by machine? And what is your favourite underlining combination?
*Can you believe this fabric is from my very first job in the garment industry?! My employer used to allow us to have the roll ends – unfortunately they made what I used to call “old ladies clothes” (notice I don’t call them that now – lol!) so there weren’t a lot of suitable choices for a 24 year old. But I did acquire this piece and later gave it to my mother. However it sat in her sewing cupboard for years, until I reclaimed it last Christmas. What goes around, comes around – it’s very true!