The Fable Dress: Part 2: The Skirt

Alright!

So last we left off, you attached the waistband to the bodice after sewing the interfacing to the lining pieces, sewing the lining and bodice shell pieces together, and lining the bodice. A little lost? Read about sizing, fabric, and sewing the bodice here.  Still need to buy the pattern? Go to Vesta Patterns to pick up The Fable in your shape right now!

Now we get to sew the skirt up and this is where things get interesting. It starts off easily enough. Attach the pocket pieces to the skirt pieces. Make sure you have the right pocket pieces to the right sides of the skirt (I labeled my skirt to make sure I knew which side was which) and stitch up the side, around the pocket, and to the top as you would a regular skirt pocket. The left pocket takes a little bit more thinking!

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Sewn up like a regular pocket, you’ll see that this pocket ‘starts’ farther down than the left pocket. Ignore my lining being non-attached on one side, it was fussy.

Attach the left pocket pieces to the skirt, making sure to take care of which side you’re attaching to the skirt. The long part of the pocket is what gets attached to the skirt. The shorter ends are what faces out from the skirt. You will also not sew up the pocket completely. Attach the long parts of the pocket to the sides of the skirt, sew up the side seam and around the pocket only until the short sides of the pocket. The short sides will actually get a rolled hem and will be attached to the waistband. First, some pictures:

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So the red line shows the longer side and the blue is the shorter side. The long side gets sewn to the skirt, while the short side gets a rolled hem.

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So you can see the long side (on the right) sewn to the skirt piece, and the short side (on the left) is free.

Hopefully this is pretty easy to follow. But to recap: The right pocket is sewn as normal pockets, the left pocket is sewn differently. Instead of sewing all the way up the pocket with the ‘short’ sides, you only sew to the bottom of the short side and finish the pocket edges with a rolled hem. Or you can do what I did and just sew them back. I was slightly lazy.

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So just to give you that visual again, the red sides are sewn to the skirt pieces, and the blue sides are given a hem. You will sew the pocket together around the bottom until the bottom of the short side.

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The blue line shows the stitching line, ending at the red line, where the side will be given a rolled hem.

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With everything sewn together, you’ll see the pocket is far more open becuase it is lined up at the top of the skirt pieces. This lets it open up more so that you can get in and out of the dress.

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So this is my rolled hem on the pocket…wanna know how I got it so neat?!?!?! Well, I used the overlock stitch on the edges and then used that as a guide to roll it under. It was absolutely perfect! You’re welcome. 😉

Now we attach the skirt to the waistband. I do like that this dress pattern doesn’t directly attach the skirt and the bodice. That’s why it is so important to have the waistband be sufficiently interfaced, it does have a lot to do and isn’t merely decorative. I’ll be honest here, I did have some trouble with this next part. Mostly because it is important to have everything labeled properly. I mentioned before labeling the waistband but I’ll be honest and say I didn’t do it enough. I also tried doing this at midnight after a long shift at work and was not sufficiently rested. The important spots to know are the side seams, center back, and the bodice front. Those will help you line everything up so that the pockets don’t get wonky. Stitch gathering lines in the top of the skirt as the instructions say. Personally, I didn’t gather the skirt until lining up the important spots with the pockets to help me keep track of everything.

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Extra tip alert! If you want to be able to find any notches in the skirt pieces, use brightly colored pencil instead of the usual notches or triangles. Gathering really hides things like that so the bright colors make things a lot easier. This is something I figured out after many frustrating gathered skirt issues.

When you go to attach the skirt to the inside waistband piece, the wrong side of the skirt fabric should be facing the inside of the inside waistband piece. Ha! That’s a picture that’s difficult to wrap your head around. Thankfully I have a picture to help:

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So my skirt has the right side of the fabric facing me, and is going to be sewn to the inside waistband, on the inner most side. You can see the inside of the bodice here to help you visualize it more.

Some important things to note: The left pocket gets folded back on the skirt on the side with the wrap around strap (the right side). That’s why the short sides of the pocket are left unfinished, this side of the pocket proves to be the opening that lets you get into the skirt and becomes the opening of the pocket. I know I’ve said that before but it took me reading/hearing/doing it about 5 times before I +totally+ understood the concept. So I’m sorry but I’m just trying to help!

When you attach the skirt to the waistband, the right pocket seam should line up with the bodice right side seam. The center back of the skirt back and center back of the waistband should line up The left side of the left pocket/skirt seam should line up with the bodice left side seam. The left side of the left pocket does not get folded back, it extends to the bodice front. Here’s a picture to show what I mean:

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You can see the left edge of the bodice on the left side of the picture, and the pocket is actually straight on the waistband, and then the skirt starts at the bodice left side seam. It gets covered by the waistband from the right side when it wraps around.

 

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This shows the pocket being folded over on the right hand side, you can see the rolled edge of the ‘short’ side of the pocket in the middle of the picture. The white on the waistband is my interfacing. I put that on the outside waistband, honestly couldn’t tell you  why, hehe!

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You can see the gathered part of the skirt on the bottom left, and the pocket folded over to essentially cover the gathering. That all gets sewn to the waistband, so you sew through 3 layers. The waistband itself, the gathered skirt, and the pocket folded back on the skirt. Again, this is the pocket portion on the wrap around part of the waistband, the part that extends past the bodice.

The left pocket on the long part of the waistband gets folded back. I folded it back AFTER gathering the skirt to make sure the skirt fit to the waistband, because remember, the pocket does NOT get gathered. So I first lined everything up: The left pocket seam on the right side of the waistband, the right pocket with the bodice right seam, center backs, the left pocket seam (so the back skirt piece with the left pocket attached) and then the rolled hem of the left pocket. Gather the skirt, fold the left pocket on the right side back, and sew it up!

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Here is the front of the dress! You can see the gathered skirt on the left of the picture, the pocket is folded behind it. On the right side of the picture is the left pocket that does not get folded back but is sewn to the waistband by itself.

After that, you sew down the top waistband, squaring the ends, finish the bodice with bias tape if you haven’t already, give it a hem, and sew on the buttons/hook and eyes. That’s your dress! The buttons could be done earlier in the game as well as the bias tape. The hemming I would leave until the end, as well as the hook and eye closures.

If you still have questions, let me know! I’d be happy to answer them and depending on the questions, maybe make a new tutorial or special extended steps later. I hope you love your new dress, I love all of mine. I have 3 now, two purple and floral versions, and a woodsy version. They all fit fantastically and once you get the hang of it, are very easy to sew up.

Enjoy!

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The Fable Dress: Part One: The Bodice

Hello everyone! Today I am very happy to share the first part of my walkthrough for the Fable Dress Pattern by Vesta Patterns! It’s a dirndl inspired dress, with POCKETS, for the modern and whimsical woman. I happen to love this pattern so much, I already have THREE versions. Two still need the very finishing touches but the dress I have dubbed the ‘woodsy dress’ has pictures and everything. Shall we take a look at how amazingly cute this dress is when finished?

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I am about to jump, hence the odd pose. 😀

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Fun fact, not once did I adjust my dress during these shenanigans, it stayed put and was very comfortable.

 

 

 

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I needed to shorten the bodice a hair for this dress, which I did in the next version I made, but it still came out beautifully! And still a million times better than RTW, in my opinion.

 

 

This is meant as a more intermediate pattern so this walkthrough doesn’t have extreme detail but it will hopefully help illuminate some of the trickier aspects of the pattern,  which for most people (and myself) that would be in part two with the skirt and pockets.

One of the interesting aspects of this dress is that the shapes are different. This is to focus more on getting better fitting patterns for real people rather than trying to fit the person to the pattern. This part can be a little tricky since it’s a different concept but don’t worry, we’ll get you through. First make sure you have your measurements. We’re going to focus on cup size and waist size. According to my straight measurements I should be an S shape size 2. However, after sewing up an S the cup is just all off. The A shape size 2 however is a perfect fit! If you’re not sure about cup size don’t fret it’s incredibly easy to figure out. Just measure your bust and underbust, subtract the difference, and you’re done! Here’s the basics of that:

1″ difference: A cup

2″: B

3″: C

4″: D

And so on. According to my measurements (34″ bust, 30″ underbust ish) I am definitely more of an A than S shape, with the S shape size 2 being a 6 inch difference rather than the 4ish of the A shape. From there I went more with my waist size than bust measurements which put me at a size 2 with a 25″ waist. Take a close look at each shape’s approximate cup size and waist size to help you best determine your shape and size!

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This was the test of the S shape. As you can see, the bust is HUGE even though the measurements seem right.

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The rest of it fit decently considering, but look at how much better the A shape fits below.

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I’ve put together this printed PDF several times now and I haven’t had any major issues. Whitney has also made it so that you shouldn’t have to cut anything to get it to line up correctly and I certainly didn’t cut the paper before putting it together. Apparently that is a common step in printed patterns? I’ve never come across that before and it sounds like such a headache. Whitney has you covered though and has made this pattern as condensed (to save paper) as possible. I used swedish tracing paper to trace the pattern and was set to go from there!

Let’s talk really quick about fabric choices. This pattern is made for simple cotton, which is such a dream because you can really have fun with printed quilting cotton! My three dresses are made of totally different fabrics which is a whole other kind of wow. This implies a lack of restriction if you ask me. Go crazy! For one purple and floral dress, the purple fabric is this bottomweight poly blend I found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics, a good medium weight fabric. The floral fabric is a satin like poly blend, definitely a lighter weight. For the woodsy dress the green is a denim like bottomweight with a touch of spandex and the tree fabric is straight rayon. The brown is actually just a plain cotton. For the other purple and floral dress, I used all regular cotton. Really, the possibilities are endless!

The purple and floral bodice is self lined while the woodsy dress is lined with cotton. The interfacing is all cotton believe it or not! There are so many layers, especially with the front bodice, that special interfacing is not required. If I were you though I would definitely be wary of how well your waistband is interfaced. It will have a lot to support between the skirt, the large left pocket, and having hooks and eyes sewn onto it so it needs to be well interfaced. I noticed that my waistband on my woodsy dress needs to be better interfaced especially because the fabric is heavier, gathered rayon is quite weighty, and the waistband itself is thinner fabric. So please be conscious of that when choosing your fabrics and interfacing. With straight cotton I didn’t have any interfacing issues I noticed, the skirt doesn’t pull anything down and with essentially 3 waistband layers everything stays put.

Once you’ve washed and cut your fabric, you’ll be set to start. The bodice is actually quite simple to sew: attach interfacing pieces to the lining pieces, sew up the outer bodice pieces together, sew the lining pieces together, sew the lining to the bodice. That’s the super simplified version at least. How you want to line the upper half and sides of the bodice is up to you. You can sew them right sides together and understitch the neckline or just lay one on top of the other, sew together, and finish with bias tape. I happened to use bias tape for both versions of my dress because I happen to hate understitching with a passion! I will however be happy to make a complimentary walkthrough showing the former method with understitching if enough people would like. If your bodice fabric is stiff enough, you could just use the interfacing as regular facing and forgo the lining. That is a choice you’ll have to make yourself and of course you can always ask me if you’d like!

Let’s go into more detail on getting all of that accomplished though, starting with attaching the interfacing. The pattern instructions show you how everything lines up. I didn’t notice any issues with how things lined up and so it should fit perfectly. Here are my pictures of this step:

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This is the lining and interfacing of my woodsy dress, which is just plain blue quilting cotton.

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The pieces all attached! Ignore my sewed shoulders, I unstitched those after this picture. You can see the interfacing on the lining. My seams don’t look pressed because they aren’t…make sure you do that!

One thing that will depend on how you line the bodice is when and how you’ll turn in the front sections. If you are using bias tape to finish your seams, then sew your lining to your outer shell and then turn in the 1.5″ on the front panel. You can sew the lining to the outer shell up to the 1.5″ mark then turn them in separately as well if you’d like. I chose to do mine together! You can now do the buttonholes, or you can do those towards the end. Depending on how you’ve lined the bodice, you could also do the bias tape finishing on the neckline and armholes now instead of later. Sometimes it’s nice to not have so much ‘finishing’ work to do at the end of a project. Get that out of the way now to enjoy ‘faster’ results later!

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This picture shows the lining and bodice shell attached to each other, the front section turned in, and the waistband attached. The top of the bodice (the left side of the picture) hasn’t been finished yet, I did overlock everything to keep things neat and strong.

Extra tip alert! Use topstitching to your advantage on this pattern. If you happen to have somewhat bulky fabric, like on my purple dress, you may want to topstitch the outer shell and lining together at the shoulder and front seams to help keep things where they should be. I did this on both of my dresses though really the woodsy one didn’t need it as much as the other one did.

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This picture is more about turning the waistband under to sew it to the skirt, but you can see how I stitched the back seams to keep the lining and outer shell together. You could also stitch in the ditch with matching thread so you can’t see it, but that is a design choice you can make yourself! I like the pop of color (or white) though, that’s something you’ll see me do often.

Once you’ve got your bodice done, it is time for the waistband! Do some prep now by pressing up the bottom edge of the waistband pieces. This will make the later steps easier I promise! Also double check that your marks are all there and if you’re having a hard time keeping track (like I was) just make notes on the waistband. I wrote S.S. for side seams, B.F. for bodice front, and so on for the corresponding notches. Do whatever works for you to help you remember what goes where! Remember though that the longer end that wraps around will wrap around from the right to the left. I may or may not have accidentally sewed the waistband on backwards a time or two. I plead the fifth.

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The waistband will extend out on the right side and just a tad bit on the left side for turning it in on itself to ‘finish’ the edges at the end off. That’s what she means by boxing the ends by the way, it means to fold the waistband in at the end to finish off that edge. The left side is on the top, the right side on the bottom.

Stitch the waistband to the bodice, like a sandwich as it says in the instructions. Just make sure the long side goes to the right and extends past the bodice. Press everything nice and neat If you’d like to topstitch the waistband go ahead and do so!

That’s it for the first section of this so called sew-along, read here for the skirt and attaching the waistband to the skirt!