Sprucing up my Standard gown - sewing questions!

Sania

Well-Known Member
You could also stone the bodysuit or back panel with a simple Sunburst design to make it look like it was supposed to be there
 
Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I've posted (though I still lurk now and then). I have another sewing question!

My wonderful MIL gave me her old serger for my birthday (she just got a much fancier one!) and I'm dying to try it out. I'm starting on a new project - a drapey, asymmetrical, almost-backless Latin dress - and I was wondering what kind of thread to get? I'm working primarily with a stretch Lycra and I've read in a few places that woolly nylon works well with stretch fabrics and gives a lot of stretch, but I still want stability in the seams. Should I go with the woolly, or will regular nylon thread work just as well? I'm not going to have any real bodysuit construction to do, I'm just going to use a bra as the base and snip the straps off & replace them with nude elastic. Any recommendations?

I'm also not sure what type of stitch would work best for the seams on the dress. At minimum, there are seams on each side, as well as in the skirt connecting the main dress to the flared parts at the bottom, front & back. I have a four-thread machine, which can also do 3-thread stitches.

I'm planning to do a mock-up with cheaper stretch fabric first, so if I make any terrible mistakes it's not the end of the world. :oops: I know there's a ton of expertise on this forum, so any suggestions would be much appreciated! I got some great help with my last project a few years ago, and I still get compliments on that one. :D
Thanks all!
 

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jiwinco

Active Member
Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I've posted (though I still lurk now and then). I have another sewing question!

My wonderful MIL gave me her old serger for my birthday (she just got a much fancier one!) and I'm dying to try it out. I'm starting on a new project - a drapey, asymmetrical, almost-backless Latin dress - and I was wondering what kind of thread to get? I'm working primarily with a stretch Lycra and I've read in a few places that woolly nylon works well with stretch fabrics and gives a lot of stretch, but I still want stability in the seams. Should I go with the woolly, or will regular nylon thread work just as well? I'm not going to have any real bodysuit construction to do, I'm just going to use a bra as the base and snip the straps off & replace them with nude elastic. Any recommendations?

I'm also not sure what type of stitch would work best for the seams on the dress. At minimum, there are seams on each side, as well as in the skirt connecting the main dress to the flared parts at the bottom, front & back. I have a four-thread machine, which can also do 3-thread stitches.

I'm planning to do a mock-up with cheaper stretch fabric first, so if I make any terrible mistakes it's not the end of the world. :oops: I know there's a ton of expertise on this forum, so any suggestions would be much appreciated! I got some great help with my last project a few years ago, and I still get compliments on that one. :D
Thanks all!
First thing I did was to get a bunch of scrap stretch fabric and play with the different stitches/options. There are so many with a serger, that I got the book out and tried them on scraps. After I got the hang of the different stitches, I then attempted more construction projects. That way I knew what they looked like before I started and also how to fix any tension or other issues.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
I typically sew lycra seams with a 4-thread overlock, as it is more stable. I just use regular all-purpose serger thread.

My favourite way to finish lycra skirts, etc. is with a rolled hem. Most sergers will do this, but you'll likely have to change the plate and stitch settings.
 
I typically sew lycra seams with a 4-thread overlock, as it is more stable. I just use regular all-purpose serger thread.

My favourite way to finish lycra skirts, etc. is with a rolled hem. Most sergers will do this, but you'll likely have to change the plate and stitch settings.
I did not think about 4-thread being more stable! I'll have to keep that in mind on future projects. Do you ever finish your skirts with crinoline edging?

Question to the serger power users out there: do you serge right away if fit is a question for a garment? How do you handle fit adjustments?

I might be making my partner's Mormon-modesty-compliant dress for US nationals, and I want to serge it as much as possible because 1) I bought a serger years ago and want to learn how to really use it and 2) I know it has a more stable / professional finish than a simple zig zag penny sewing machine's stretch stitches. I'm expecting a lot of questions will pop up and fit is gonna be ~fun~ - partner has a pronounced hourglass figure over a short torso so I'm bracing for many, many iterations.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Yep, all the time. My avatar picture has the underskirts and top layer trimmed with two different methods, and I've used a third in the past. I generally use a serger to attach (with the knife folded down, because slicing through the crin trim means getting poked in the legs by it later), then finish with a sewing machine because my serger is old-school and doesn't topstitch.

Serger seams are actually pretty easy to pick out if you understand which thread to pull... and lycra is forgiving, so I've not really had fit concerns that couldn't be dealt with easily. That said, I do custom draft my patterns, and I'm in the habit of doing a test leotard for any substantially new cut, so much of the adjustment happens there.

As someone possessing a pronounced hourglass figure, a few tips for you - if you're going high-neck, highish-back (which, for Mormon-modesty-compliant, you will be), plan on putting in an invisible zipper. And an invisible zipper in multiple layers of lycra is a challenge.... especially if you want it to stay invisible. I strongly suggest practicing on a less expensive garment first. And princess seams/bust darts are helpful in tailoring to accommodate a narrow waist, though they make pattern drafting more difficult.
 
Oh, good to know! I just assumed they'd be a pain to rip because sewing machine stretch seams are - but those have a lot more back tracking which I know is what makes them more difficult.

Also thanks for the warning on the zipper - I've seen the not so invisible zipper happen and def want to avoid it in my own work if possible.

Thanks for reminding me about princess seams and bust darts, totally forgot those were a thing - despite using back darts all the time when tailoring my own shirts. I'm hopeful that crotch snaps will be sufficient for garment donning - current sketch has low-ish back and neckline, so my real hope is that she'll just be able to step through it no problem, but I know that's optimistic at best.

Pretty sure my serger doesn't topstitch either, so I'll be in a similar boat as you with applying the crinoline. Thanks for the help!
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
if you're going high-neck, highish-back (which, for Mormon-modesty-compliant, you will be), plan on putting in an invisible zipper
The rule says "Lower backs must be covered with a solid fabric from a point five (5) inches above the waist line." Unless his partner is a dwarf, I don't think it's necessary to put a zipper up to her neck, especially when zippers in lycra are so recalcitrant about not rippling.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Yeah, with fabric 5 inches above my waist, I'm not getting into a dress without a zipper or some other kind of fastener.

(Pronounced hourglass figures can mean a 10"+ difference between waist and hip/bust. Even stretchy fabric only stretches so far, and it's not so fun to get trapped in your dress because the waist is stuck on your curvier parts.)
 

mindputtee

Well-Known Member
The rule says "Lower backs must be covered with a solid fabric from a point five (5) inches above the waist line." Unless his partner is a dwarf, I don't think it's necessary to put a zipper up to her neck, especially when zippers in lycra are so recalcitrant about not rippling.
They're not so bad about rippling if you hand baste them before machine stitching.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
I was wondering about having a go putting in a zipper on lycra using my walking foot. Haven't tried it yet. Using a zipper foot was a PAIN. To be fair, I hadn't hand basted it in first..... will try that too, thanks!
 
Pretty basic question from a non crafty person who can't sew at all...

How easy or hard is it to shorten a very full tulle skirt? It wouldn't be me doing it, just want to get an idea of whether it is possible or not to waste my money on an expensive dress I can't compete in. I think I'd want it shortened by about an inch if that's relevant.

Also for alterations like that, could I go to a non dancer seamstress?
 
shorten a very full tulle skirt? ... shortened by about an inch if that's relevant.
You may find it easier to shorten at the waist than at the hem, especially if it is just by an inch. Sew a new waistband one inch lower.

I have assumed you mean just a skirt, not the skirt part of a gown. But even some underskirts are attached to gowns with a waist-to-hip cylinder of lycra. If that is the case, shorten that cylinder.
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
I am making a new latin costume - princess seamed, six panels, with six quarter circle godets inserted to flare out the just above knee length skirt, all trimmed with 2" crinoline (what I had on hand)

I wore it for last weekend's showcase, and find that the skirt was pretty, did not have as much flirt / movement as I had hoped, so I am planning to add an underskirt.

I am thinking a fitted miniskirt with a circle cut flounce the depth of the godet and worked out to equal total circumference. Thinking about 1" crinoline on this as the 2" was stiffer than expected with my lightweight fabric.

Questions:

1. How to attach the miniskirt to the bodysuit without creating a bump visible from the outside? I am considering trimming the edge with pinking shears and then simply topstitching it to the leotard with no hem at the top - maybe two rows of zigzag 1/4" apart. Thoughts?

2. General comments and suggestions are welcome

Thanks!

Sania
 
The kind of crinoline horsehair braid we use on hems of standard gowns, is that "soft" or "stiff"? I'm ordering online and do not know what they consider soft/stiff. It seems stiff to me but maybe there is a kind that is more stiff for heavier fabric? Obviously underskirts are lightweight fabric. So maybe the kind we use is what they call soft? (To clarify, I'm modifying an existing skirt, so ordering just the crinoline braid tape stuff, not ordering a skirt or gown.)
 

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