Tutorial 16. Sewing a Mock-Up Bodice of the Dress.
Now I need to sew a mock-up based on the adjusted pattern.
I arrange the adjusted top pieces of the dress on carefully pressed cotton mock-up fabric folded in half, transfer their contours and all notches, and cut them out. You can pin the layers together if you want.
I am working with the already adjusted pattern but I highly recommend you sew a mock-up based on the original pattern first. It will help you obtain correct measurements of the standard pattern.
Why do you need to sew a mock-up based on the adjusted pattern?
First of all, it is a way to check whether you have done everything correctly. This is particularly important when you are working on a long distance order because there is no possibility of doing intermediate fittings. After sewing a mock-up, you can check whether all notches, edges, and princess seams are aligned properly and whether the side seams are positioned correctly.
In addition, the mock-up method allows you to decide on the shape of the back neckline by drawing it the way you want right on the mock-up imitating your client’s body on the dress-form. It is basically the same as if you were looking at the client in the dress. You can see whether you need to shorten the side seam to achieve a nice smooth transition to the low back or apply any other adjustments.
Trust me sewing a mock-up does not require that much effort whereas the benefits are simply invaluable!
It takes little fabric to sew a mock-up. I believe every seamstress will have a suitable piece in stock.
All patterns are now ready.
I sew them together along the vertical seams and put the mock-up on the dress-form.
My dress-form is a little wider than needed in the under-bust area. As the result, the seam allowance at the back is smaller than 2cm.
Try your best to position the mock-up on the dress-form as symmetrically as possible: the side seams should be vertical and all princess seams symmetric.
After double-checking all circumferences, I need to draw the desired shape of the back neckline.
Here is how I do it: I pin an elastic band or a cord at the top of the side seam and arrange it on the back of the mock-up to imitate the shape of a neckline. I try out several different ways and carefully examine the results from a distance.
I choose the best configuration of the back neckline and draw a line following the elastic band to the centre of the back.
Please keep it in mind that the newly marked position of the back neckline includes a seam allowance. The actual back neckline will be 2cm lower on the finished garment.
I take the mock-up off the dress-form and cut along the new line.
The back piece and the side front piece need to be adjusted accordingly.
I cut out the final trued version of the adjusted top parts of the dress.
I will first cut these patterns from iron-on batiste. And I will use the same paper patterns to cut the same pieces from the main fabric together with the skirt.
There is no point in duplicating the skirt with iron-on batiste below the beginning of the flare. There will be a mesh fabric overlay with appliqué and rhinestones and I am sure it will disguise the transition from the iron-on batiste to the non-duplicated fabric.
If you want to keep your dress smooth, without any additional decor in the area of transition from duplicated to non-duplicated fabric, then you should conduct a small test. Fuse a small piece of batiste on your lining fabric, cover it with the face fabric, and check whether you can see the border between the duplicated and the non-duplicated part. The result depends on how thin and see-through the main white fabric is.
I have finished cutting the iron-on batiste. I have simultaneously cut out all iron-on pieces for the lining and for the face of the dress, i.e. a total of four pairs of pieces.
There are certain tricks you need to know before the cutting.
Since these iron-on batiste pieces will serve as patterns for cutting the main fabric, remember that you will need to arrange them in a head-to-toe manner to ensure a more efficient use of fabric considering the flare of the skirt. I arranged the paper patterns in a head-to-toe manner on the batiste as well.
I recommend you take a disappearing ink pen, draw the waistline on the side front pieces and the side back pieces, and then draw a perpendicular line in the middle of each piece and mark notches.
These lines will help you position the patterns correctly against the lengthwise grain of your fabric. When cutting very flared dresses, you are often tempted to put some or other piece diagonally or turn it by just a couple of centimeters when its flared part does not fit in the lay. Never do this! All these things will inevitably affect the finished garment.
The waistline and the perpendicular line must be positioned correctly against the lengthwise and the crosswise grain of your lay!
I will cut my dress on the cross (as always) so the waistline will be parallel to the lengthwise grain of the main fabric and of the lining while the perpendicular line will be parallel to the crosswise grain. Marking lines on the batiste pieces really helps you position them correctly on the main fabric.
I have also prepared hard iron-on fabric pieces for duplicating the cups.
I had marked the cup on the side front piece in advance and then cut the iron-on pieces as marked.
When cutting an iron-on piece for the central part of the cup, remember to make its bottom edge ascend toward the centre. The larger the cup size, the smaller this ascension should be, and vice versa. The hard iron-on fabric will support the bust and push it up, and smaller breasts requirer a greater push-up effect.
In conclusion, I would like to share some tips on cutting hard iron-on fabric.
Tip 1. The simplest way to cut the side cup piece without cutting the paper pattern is to put the hard iron-on fabric over the pattern and transfer the contour showing through it. Then you just fold the iron-on fabric in half and cut it.
Tip 2. If your iron-on fabric is made with hard weft yarn, make sure to position the central edge of the central front piece parallel to the crosswise grain. This will make it much easier for you to ease in the cups and make them round.