Not a pattern review: Two little girl dresses for two little girls
Well this was an adventure. Pour yourself a glass of wine and settle in.
Where to start? It all began when I innocently decided to use the rolled hem foot that came with my Singer Featherweight.
I thought it would make easy and quick work of the hems on the two little girl dresses I was making for Haley and Chloe, my nieces. Hah, hubris. All I could make were awful rolled hems after two hours of practicing. And this after watching countless youtube videos and tutorials, all I could turn out was this…
See that extra fold up there? And see the uneven hem below?
And all this (my practice hems)…
I took a break and asked my sewing group on Facebook if they had any tips. They were sympathetic but didn’t have any advice other than to practice more. And that’s when I had it. I had the genius idea to read the instruction manual that came with my Featherweight. And sure enough, there were instructions on how to use the rolled hem foot. And interestingly enough, they were significantly different to the other tutorials I saw, but then the Singer rolled hem foot looked different than the others I had seen too.
So after another couple hours in front of the machine and using the rolled hem foot, I was finally able to make these…
Tada! Boy was I relieved that I finally was able to use this foot. I had what seemed like miles of ruffle hems to make, not to mention the bodice hems. I do have some extra tips for making a good rolled hem with the Singer rolled hem foot though, especially when making one that is circular:
- When making a circular hem, double fold the the first inch and sew a couple of stitches before you pull the fabric edge through the rolled hem flange so that the hem is the same all the way round.
- Make sure the fabric you are feeding into the flange is never larger than the flange itself on either side of it. This creates a nice even hem with no folds of extra fabric on the inside of the hem.
- On a circular hem, when you come back to the beginning, make sure stop stitching before your flange gets caught in the start of the hem. Leave your needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and manipulate the fabric into a double fold and just sew the remaining stitches to complete the hem.
It took me two days to make Haley’s dress (the larger one for the 4 yr old) because of all the practicing and just 3 hours to make the second dress for Chloe (the smaller one for the 2 yr old). Practice makes perfect!
Here are some snaps of the completed dresses. See how they have the same fabrics, but in different combos? I love that they coordinate, but aren’t exactly the same.
One more thing to note, my order of construction was a little tricky to work out once I decided to make the rolled hems as they necessitated that certain parts (the bodice and the ruffle to be made in the round and hemmed before constructing the rest of the dress so as to avoid a lot of bulky fabric at the machine for that tricky detail. Here’s what I worked out with my feeble mind:
- Sew the ruffles’ side seams (& serge seam allowances) and then sew the rolled hem.
- Connect the bodice to the skirt and then sew the side seams (& serge seam allowances).
- Sew the rolled hem on the bodice.
- Shir the bodice starting at 1/4 inch down from top and then every 1/2 inch thereafter.
- Gather the ruffle and then baste it to the skirt of the dress (& serge seam allowance).
- Make the straps and attach them.
Et voila, your dress is done!
Now I think I want to make a quick knit top for me. What are you making?