Sewing It All Together
You might think that this post should be really short. That it can be summed up in one line, such as, “I sewed all the pieces together and here are pictures of the Wendy Darling dress.” And that would probably be true if I was an experienced seamstress who had no difficulties sewing the dress together, but that’s not me.
The first problem I ran into was fraying. The fabric was literally falling apart as I worked with it. After a bit of panicking, research, and trial and error, I employed three methods for damage control. I used Fray Check, which is a liquid seam sealant on the frayed ends that were already sewn together. I invested in pinking shears and used them to cut the edge of all the remaining fabric that had not yet been sewn. Pinking shears are shears with a serrated blade that cuts a zigzag edge in fabric to prevent fraying. I purchased these sewing supplies at Walmart for about $25. Lastly, I sewed the pieces together using a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine. For an in depth analysis of these methods and other methods to stop fabric from fraying be sure to check out my post: How to stop fabric ends from fraying.
As a side note, be careful when using Fray Check as it can get all over the fabric with which you are working. This happened to me and it took a bit of elbow grease to get it out. If you have run into this problem, please look for my upcoming post: How to get adhesive out of fabric.
It took me four days to sew together the skirt, the bodice, and the two arm pieces, which included the back. And let me tell you folks, every section looked tiny, too tiny in fact. Now Alex is small, but she is not a child and these pieces were so small they wouldn’t even fit my fiancé’s 10 year old. In a panic, I asked Alex to come down for a fitting before I sewed the sections into one cohesive piece. Once she arrived I pinned the dress to her. This took a lot of patience on her part! LOL. And, unfortunately, I was right. The dress was too small! I would have to add fabric to the back and waistline to make it work. Fortunately, I had bought extra fabric.
Once I had sewn on the additional pieces I repined the dress on Alex. It wasn’t perfect, but I was pleased with my first sewing project. That is until Alex showed her dad. Danny pointed out three major errors.
- One sleeve was puffier than the other
- The seam lines on the skirt were askew
- The seam line between the skirt and the bodice was askew
Now if I had taken a picture of my creation at this point so you could see it, you would probably have one of two thoughts. One, Danny was being too critical. Or two, he was right on and “RaeLynn, how on earth could you not see these errors?” My initial reaction was thought number one and yes, I my ego was bruised. Then logic kicked in. Danny is an engineer and has a critical eye for detail. Yes, the mistakes were there. Why didn’t I see them? Well, folks, I can only claim sheer exhaustion. I was tired and was ready to be down with the project. But, sometimes, there is just no rest for the weary. LOL.
I had to take the entire dress apart and then put it all back together in order to fix the mistakes. This was a laborious process because the zig-zag stitch is harder to remove than a straight stitch. Plus, the fabric is statin and I had to be extra careful not to damage it with the seam ripper. It took me four hours that night to remove all the stitches. Then it took an entire day to re-sew the dress. On the day before Alex came to pick up her costume I hand sewed the ribbon to the dress using a blind stitch, which sews the two fabrics together nearly invisibly. This is a stitch I learned earlier in the project in order to hem the skirt, sew on the arms, and make a collar. Keep an eye out for my upcoming post for a tutorial on how to do this stitch.
I also had to sew on the buttons and learn how to sew button holes. There are two ways to do this. By hand or using the sewing machine. I opted to do it by hand because I was terrified of messing it up with the sewing machine. Never fear folks, if you don’t know how to make button holes, I will have a tutorial on it coming right up!
The dress was finally finished! I was extremely nervous that it wouldn’t fit Alex or it would have more errors. My time was up and it had been four days since I had last pinned the dress to Alex. Keep in mind that as a sewing newbie, I do not own a sewing mannequin and Alex lives to far away to be available every time I needed her to model. So, I decided to use her two younger sisters as mannequins for the “re-sewing” because they are similar in size. Big lesson here folks, similar is NOT the same. Although the dress ultimately worked for Alex, it would have suited her much better if I had been able to tailor the dress to her and not to her sisters. The back and shoulders actually ended up being a little too big for Alex, but it was nothing that a well hidden safety pin couldn’t fix. Thank Goodness! Ultimately, Alex looked beautiful in her costume and was the perfect Wendy Darling at Comic Con!