Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Swirl Sew-along : Part 3 : Pretty Decorations!

In the last post, we marked up our fabric and sewed and pressed the bodice darts.  BORING!  This post will be much more fun, because unlike most other patterns, we add the pretty bits now, not at the end!

To do the decorative piece on the bodice and pocket 1 (if you have chosen to do pocket 1) you will need to cut some strips of fabric that goes with your main fabric, but is different.  You won't need much - you've probably got enough in your scrap bag!

Cut one strip of fabric 30" x 2.5" (76cm x 6cm), and two strips 10" x 2.5" (25cm x 6cm).  These strips do not need to be bias strips, just straight on grain strips.  Then you need your iron.

Fold the fabric in half length ways and gently press it.

Open it up with the fold down, bring one edge to the centre line you created, and iron the fold.

Ignore that line that' you can see near my badly painted fingernails.  I forgot to take a photo and had to go back....

Do the same thing on the other side so the folds look like bias.

Now, this is where the Bodice Trim Guide comes in!  Take the longer strip and find the centre.  I do this be folding it in half and sticking a pin in it.

On the wrong side of the fabric, line up the centre line of the guide with the centre of your trim.  Mark the three points of both miters, and join the dots.  Also mark where the ends of the strip are.

Fold the fabric at the point of the miter and pin it.

And stitch along the line.  Then iron the corner open.  Don't worry that it isn't a right angle (I freaked out the first time!)  If you want to stitch ric rac to this piece, now is the time to do it.

Here is one I prepared earlier!

Then we get to stitch it to the bodice.  Put the front bodice piece on the table and lay it so the neckline is flat.  Then lay the trim piece over the top lining up the end markings on the trim and the location marks on the bodice piece, and pin it in place!

The decorative piece then needs to be stitched on carefully.  This stitching will be seen, so I recommend that you use a slow speed on your machine as the line of stitching will need to be close to the edge and straight. 

Make sure to pivot with the needle down in the corners.

Pivoting is when you get to the corner, and you leave the needle down, lift the presser foot and spin the fabric around the needle.

Hooray!  Now on to the pockets (remember, this bit is only for the people doing the square pockets.  We will do the curved pockets later).

You have four pieces to make two pockets.  The first step is to put the decorative trim you prepared earlier.  (By the way, if you are putting ric rac on it, do it before you do this step).  Line you trim up parallel with the top, but 1.75" (5.5cm) down.

Then sew it on the way you sewed on the trim for the bodice - slowly and carefully!

Right, now to make the pocket pieces that you will sew onto the skirt later.  Pin a plain pocket piece onto a decorated pocked piece, right sides together.

Ooo!  Here's another tip!  Sometimes its really great to know where you need to pivot on a corner so you stay exactly 5/8" away from the edge.  I have a clear ruler that I have drawn a line on with texta that is 5/8" away from the edge.  I then use it to draw lines to show me the pivot point!  Eventually your eye gets pretty good, but sometimes I like to make really sure I get it right!

Have a look at the pins I have placed to hold the fabric together.  There are two that extend over the edge - they are the start and stop points for the stitching so there is a gap to turn the pocket through.  Make sure to start and stop with tiny little stitches that won't unravel.

Then cut the corners off like this:

and turn it through!  I like to use a metal bbq skewer to help me get all the points and seams clean.  You just need to be careful not to poke through the stitching!  I also run the skewer along the straight seam lines to encourage a smooth line when I press it.

Speaking of pressing it, iron both the pockets on both sides and your done!

Phew!  That was a long post!!  But wasn't it fun to actually do the decorative bits so early in the pattern?

Oh, and check out my scalloped bias!  I had to do it BY HAND because my silly sewing machine wouldn't work with the tutorial I was directed to online (which you can find here if you want to give it a shot).

Get Swirling girls!!



  1. Ahahaaaa ! Miter "pince cuchillo" (aka knife dart !) Now I know that it's for ! Although I've chosen the "bean" pockets and I've not yet started on my bodice.....

  2. Sweet!

    I'm at a library checking this out hoping I would be able to remember by heart. (No Internet at my house and this library charges an arm and a leg to print). If I can't remember I'll print it off at my library tomorrow.

    Sew excited about this. I thought I wouldn't be able to add the trim but since it is from my stash, woooo weeeeeee. And look at the rick rack IN ADDITION to the trim. Wooo weeeee.

    1. Oh and I'm GOING to do the bound buttonhole. Yup, uh huh, for real, I'm gonna.