Saturday, 27 August 2011

Flowery Summer Dress

In the comments on my last post, where I showed a dress intended for my almost-5 year old niece, Uta askeed me
I'd love to know, if it isn't too nosy, how long this takes complete with smocking and embroidery? (Still trying to be more productive here...)
I have been asked this before, and could only say that I didn't know, as to me, sewing is hobby time, and I don't time myself unless it is to allow myself half and hour of sewing before I take on some required task that I don't really fancy. However, I started another little dress on Thursday night, intended for niece A, who turns 3 in a fortnight, so felt this was a good opportunity to document the construction effort to answer the question. This will undoubtedly be too much deadly dull information for most. Read on at your own risk.

Disclaimer - there is only a little bit of smocking and embroidery on this dress.

Thursday evening, just before bed:

1.Find pattern, easily located, which is a bit unusual, due to research in pattern stash for previous dress, already traced due to multiple use, - cut out dress and lining, 15 minutes.
2. Sew and press shoulder seams and skirt seam, 10 minutes

Friday morning
3. Make 3 metres of piping from purchased bias binding. I only had the 40mm binding, so cut it in half lengthways first. 15 minutes.
Leave for work, reluctantly....

Friday evening, whilst dinner is in oven, children engrossed in Pottermore and husband reading computer. (This is when I acutally started timing myself to the nearest 5 minutes, prior to this I am guessing)
4. Sew piping to neck, armscyes, sew bodice and lining together, press, turn, press, sew side seams of bodice, press, sew waist line piping 25 minutes


After dinner
5.Change thread and wind bobbin for Singer, use ruffling foot to pleat skirt.
10 minutes

Saturday - unparalleled sewing opportunities as the weather is dismal, Saturday sport and exercise are cancelled, and my husband is out for the day. Only a few errands and household tasks to do and a mother's taxi service call. I have multiple sewing sessions as follows.

6. Centre back seam of skirt, skirt placket, sew skirt to bodice. Unfortunately this includes some unpicking and repleating of the skirt due to earlier measurement error.
25 minutes
7. Pleat small piece of fabric for smocked pocket. Fortunately the smocking pleater is already threaded, left over from a previous project 10 minutes.

7. Apply bias binding to heem. Trial of rolled hem foot for second pass (this is the other half of the trimmed 40mm tape and only single fold). Trial of rolled hem foot unsuccessful, muttering and 15 minutes of unpicking result. Reapply bias binding to hem rolling by hand. 30 minutes
8. Hand sew bodice lining to waist seam 30 minutes
9. Mark and sew hem tucks, press 25 minutes


10. Find buttons and make machine buttonholes 10 minutes
11.Watch a television programme recording with the children. Hand smock pocket section, sew on buttons, make thread sash keepers.Programme length 100 minutes - inefficient sewing time as I did stop sewing often to watch the show. Allow 60 minutes pure sewing time


12. Cut out pocket and lining, wind bobbin, rethread machine,apply piping and construct pocket, attach pocket, hand stitch down pesky lining that peeped out inappropriately
25 minutes.
13. Press again, 5 minutes.
Total sewing time 280 minutes = 4 hours and 40 minutes


I could buy a very big box of Lego if I worked at my real job for that long. I don't suppose though, that I would get to watch a televison programme in the middle.


Anonymous said...

Another beautiful dress! Now I see I am not so slow after all, I just have more to do at home with toddler. Very encouraging.

Also -- regarding using the ruffler for the skirt -- did you just ruffle and then cut the skirt to size (which is what I always do) or did you work out a magic way to cut and then ruffle to the exact size?

kbenco said...

Elizabeth I seem to remember mentioning this lack of time with toddler to you, oh, around 500 times already! You sew beautifully, and are very productive considering everything else you have to do.
Um, re the ruffler, I thought I would just ruffle away, and chop off the excess, but alas, there was no excess, but an insufficiency - see section of post about muttering and re-pleating.

Ruthie said...

Oh its lovely. Why do grownups have such BORING clothes? Inner Ruthie wants flowers and smocking too!

BetsyV said...

Wow, Karen, you are super fast! I suppose the smaller size helps speed up the process but still, I am very very impressed.

the dress is so pretty, too

shams said...

I also think you are fast. Plus you are very good at multitasking. :D

Cute dress for a lucky neice!

sewing spots said...

You make me feel very slow with my embellishing and sewing! Another very lovely dress. You have such a good eye for color, embellishment, and style.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely dress. The details are fabulous, and the print is restrained enough that one can actually SEE the details.

People ask me that how-long-does-it-take question all the time, and my answer is similar to yours. Sometimes I say that I sew to pass the time whan I'm home with kids, so a project that is more time consuming is actually better than a faster one.

Mary said...

It is posts like this that really help me in my progress toward becoming a more accomplished sewist. I don't want to hurry, but I sometimes fear that I am slow-too slow. But reading your steps makes me realize that I sew in a similar way. Bits and pieces of time...dibs and drabs of sewing throughout my busy days. It is rare that I spend hours at a time on a project. Now, my projects are nowhere near as complicated, nor are they as beautiful as your work! Someday :-)

Uta said...

Thank you so much for the break-down, Karen! I'm quite a bit slower than you are, but obviously your projects don't "sew themselves" either; you make very good use of all your time. The dress is so pretty; I second Ruthie, why aren't grown-up clothes like this?! (Although we could make them like this, couldn't we.)

Mary Nanna said...

Another very pretty dress and I am just loving, really loving, those smocked pockets. It almost makes me want to take the smocking class on offer at our local sewing store. However, I do not have time to take on another detailed type of hobby - sigh- perhaps for another phase in life - in the meantime, the cooking of healthful but marginally edible food awaits.

Carol said...

I agree with Ruthie. It would be lovely to wear such fun and colourful clothing. It really is a very pretty dress. I don't have the urge to smock yet, but you never know ...

Handmade said...

Well that's an interesting exercise - you're an efficient worker!!! And that's extremely cute little dress - lucky girl!

Carolyn said...

That is a very impressive schedule!

Bernice said...

Your smocking is so sweet. Such a cute detail. Your sewing schedule sounds like mine - dribs and drabs between life's other duties.

Kyle said...

Your niece is a VERY lucky girl!!
Beautiful dress, and I enjoyed reading your timings of the various steps.

SEWN said...

Wow these last two dresses are so darn cute. All the details you've added make them really special.

Gail said...

Very very pretty dress. I love the smocking on the pocket.