Monday, January 26, 2015

Tiered Bubble Dress Tutorial

I just love this dress.
I guess I like layers on dresses.  This makes the third dress I remember doing it on, and it's right up there with the other two as being one of my favorites. 
The other two were Kai's pageant dresses.

But enough about all that.  You want to know how to make one of these for your own, so here it goes.
First of all I knew I needed to know the basics of making a bubble skirt.
I looked at a couple of tutorials for this.
1. Alida's Bubble Dress Tutorial was featured on the Project Run and Play page as the dress to use for our inspiration when making this month's project. 

2.  I also referred to and ultimately got more information for this particular skirt from Simple Simon's Bubble Skirt Tutorial.
 I used this site to learn how to measure my fabric cuts.  The only difference between what I did and what they did is that in addition to cutting fabric for a bubble skirt.  I cut another layer 3 inches shorter than the first for the middle layer and a third layer 3 inches shorter than the second.  I cut it from both the outer fabric and the lining too.
I don't have a picture of my fabric cuts, because it didn't occur to me that I was going to do a tutorial until after I sewed the skirt together.  
I should also note that I did not follow the Simple Simon tutorial for the waist band.  So if you are making my dress, omit that part.

So, my recommendation would be to follow the Simple Simon Tutorial for the skirt x 3 because we are making 3 layers.  Then match the top of each layer up and sew around the top.  I finished each layer top with a zig zag stitch.  I don't use a serger.  I did so to keep unsightly strings from unraveling and hanging around.  Makes it all neat and pretty and more sturdy seams when to attach the skirt to the bodice or waist band.

The skirt inside out...

Next, I took a dress that Carolina already had in her closet (one my sister made for Kai, a few years ago) and traced around the bodice pieces, but I changed the back of this dress up from being one piece to making it two pieces.  Two things to remember when doing this...
1.  Go an extra 1/2 inch out from the piece you are using for a pattern to make room for your seam allowance.
2.  If you are changing the back of the dress, add an extra 1 to two inches to the middle of the back for buttons.  You need extra fabric folded under where the buttons and button holes are going to be.
I don't like cutting and adding on interfacing if I don't need to.  This is simple.  Just cut it extra wide on the side of the bodice piece that will be in the middle of the back and fold it under once or twice.

Now you are going to sew the back bodice pieces to the front bodice pieces at the shoulder.  Do this for your outer fabric and your lining fabric.
In the photo above the front of the dress is on the top of the photo and the back is on the bottom.

Next cut your sleeves.  Again, I used a sleeve on a dress in Carolina's closet to use as my pattern.
I wanted a puffier sleeve though, so I traced a little more than 1/2 inch from the sleeve I was using as a pattern.  Sleeves are so forgiving because you can just gather them where you are going to sew them to the shoulder.  And this is what I did to make it puffier.
Be sure to cut it on a fold, so there is no seam on the top of the sleeve, only the bottom.

This is what your cut should look like.

If you aren't familiar with how to gather.  You need to set your sewing machine (or you can do this by hand) on the longest stitch you can.  Unfold your sleeve fabric and where the curve starts, start sewing your straight stitch.  This is called a basting stitch.  Simply sew to the other curve.

Now, with right sides of your fabric together pin the center of the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.  Pin the ends of the sleeve to the sides of the bodice, and pull your strings of the basting stitch to make the sleeve gather till it fits within the arm of the bodice.  And pin it.

Stitch it together and remove the pins as you go.
It should look similar to this when you are done.  Nevermind the white strips of fabric around the bottom of the bodice pieces in the next couple of photos.  I had changed my mind about my design and took that off before finishing the dress.  Don't forget to finish your edges with a zig zag or overlock stitch as you go to keep your fabric from getting stringy when you wash.

Next,  you will sew down the sides of your sleeves and bodice.  Just match up the right sides and start at the sleeves to make sure they match up nicely and sew straight down till you get to the end of the side of your bodice.  Do this on both sides.
It's starting to take shape, huh?

Now to hem your sleeves.  I cut mine on the selvage, so I just folded it under once, but if you didn't do that you'll need to fold it under twice then stitch.

Now you are ready to sew your lining to the inside of your bodice.  Make sure you match the right sides together and pin around the neck and back of the bodice.  If you left an extra inch or two at the back of the bodice for strengthening the place where your buttons and button holes will go, then be sure to allot for that in your seam allowance back there.

Now you need to clip the edges of the corners and snip little nicks into the fabric (not past the stitch you just made) around the curve of the neck, so that it lays down nicely when you turn the bodice right side out.

Now, I don't always do this, but for some reason I decided I didn't want any raw edges of lining inside this dress, so I folded it under and top stitched around the sleeves.
I just wanted it to look polished inside and out.

Now it's time to make the middle of the dress.
Here is what I did.  First I took my 1/4" elastic and my little girl and stretched it around her waist till we reached an agreed comfort level.
Then I cut it where it needed to that length, plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance.
Next, I measured how wide I wanted the waistband to be, plus 1/2 inch on top and bottom for seam allowance.  
Then I stretched that piece of elastic out onto the waistband fabric until I got it was not quite all the way tight.  Just a little less than fully tightly stretched.  I marked it on the fabric and cut my fabric by that length and width I just figured.
And I cut 4 more pieces of elastic.
Finally I spaced them out equally the length of the waistband and zig zag stitched them into place.  Stretching them as I sewed.
Then I sewed the ends together to make a circle and pinned it to the bodice, stretching it as needed.
Stitched it into place.  Make sure to overlap the back of the bodice accordingly for the buttons and button holes and you may want to stitch it together there before you sew the waistband on.  That's what I did.
Then did the same for the skirt portion of the dress.
The lining of my bodice covers the top of the waistband, but not the waistband it's self.

Finally, I added the buttons and button holes last.  
I always put the buttons on first.  It's just easier to me to see how to space them apart that way.
Then I mark the tops of the buttons on the other side and sew my button holes on.

One more thing.  To make the rose I followed this tutorial.

And that's it!
I hope I covered everything well.
Please put any questions you may have in the comments below.
Thank you for visiting my blog page!