Welcome to the Sugar Plum Sew-Along! I’m very excited to be a part of the sew-along. Today we’ll do some prep work so we can get sewing on October 27th. There are several details on this dress that I highly recommend you make for your Sugar Plum. You might be surprised by how quickly they all come together. I’ll be checking in with comments throughout the sew-along so feel free to leave any questions you may have along the way. You can also upload your progress and finished garment pictures to the Sugar Plum Flickr Group.
Picking Your Size
As noted on the pattern, Sugar Plum has less design ease than most patterns on the market and is more close-fitting for a tailored look. If you’re between sizes or like more ease, go up a size and you can always take some in. Below are the finished garment measurements. You can compare the body measurements (imperial and metric) chart to the finished garment chart to see the exact ease.
I do also recommend you make a muslin before you cut your fashion fabric. For both of my Sugar Plums, I used my high bust measurement to decide which bodice size to cut.
Printing Your Pattern
If you’ve purchased the PDF version of Sugar Plum, you’ll need to either print it at home or have it printed out at a copy shop. I’ve printed at copy shops and the result is quite nice but printing and taping/gluing also works great. Once I print all the pages of a pattern, I like to line them up to make sure everything printed and that I know where everything goes. You can either fold over or trim off at the side line and tape or glue the pages together along one row. Once you have all rows taped or glued, go back and trim or fold down the bottom and line up the skulls and you’ll have your pattern ready to work with.
I do recommend tracing your size, whether you blend sizes or use one straight size. I highly recommend tracing if you’ll be doing any alterations to the bodice in either FBA or SBA.
Cutting Your Fabric
While I will talk about cutting layouts today, I want to remind you that I’ll be talking more about fitting your Sugar Plum in posts to come so if you have questions about that, hold off on cutting. Just keep the information handy for when you’re ready.
The best option for your bodice pieces is going to be lightweight fabrics. The lining should be the same weight as your fashion fabric. You could even cut the ruffles out of a different fabric to add contrast. The skirt fabric should be a mid weight knit although I just made a Sugar Plum using a stretch denim and it worked out really well so you could also use any stretch suitings. You could even line the suiting with a stretch lining if you wanted to but that’s the beauty of using a ponte- no need for a lining.
The skirt can be cut out frugally and there are only a couple of pieces for the whole dress that need to be cut on the bias so this can be a stash-busting project. Lay your skirt pieces so that the stretch goes around your body. It might be selvage to selvage but it might not be so you want to take fabric in hand and stretch it to see which way you should line up your skirt and waistband pieces.
Once you know which way your fabric stretches the most, you can fold your skirt fabric in half and cut the center piece and front waistband pieces on the fold and the remaining panel and back waistband pieces two at a time, as long as the stretch of the fabric will wrap around your body. I recommend using the cutting labels since the panels start to all look the same. Marking your fabric on the wrong side is also advisable so you can keep straight which sides get sewn together.
Cut out your fashion layer of the bodice, shield, two ruffle collar pieces, sleeves, ruffles (optional) and button loops piece.
Cut out your bodice lining pieces and pocket lining if you’re doing pockets. You might want to skip the pockets if you’re going for a very fitted skirt as they might gape. If you’re adding more ease to your skirt, you should be fine with the pockets.
Cut out your sleeve lining.
Last, you’ll want to cut out strips of interfacing or use stay tape for the fashion and lining necklines, the back to stabilize for your zipper and the front shield, though you can also stay-stitch at the neck if you choose. I used Sheer Pro Sheer from Fashion Sewing Supply. It needs no pre-treating and fuses beautifully.
As I mentioned above, next post will be about fitting. Let us know if you have any questions about choosing your size or your fabric. Is everyone ready to get sewing?