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Saturday, June 9

Pattern Review: The Spin Around Dress

My take on the Spin-Around Dress.

Top to Bottom: Unknown print, Michael Miller Gerberalicious,
Kona Solid Black
Last week, I received a link to this super duper cute dress pattern in my email from one of the hundreds of blogs that I am subscribed to. I fell in love with it, and knew exactly what I was going to use in terms of fabric. When my daughter was a wee baby, my mom purchased a metre of Michael Miller's Gerberalicious in Red print.

Spin-Around Dress comes in 2T only.
The FREE tutorial is available for print here: .

I was so excited to get my hands dirty. After about 10 minutes of reading and then re-reading the pattern. I didn't find it so user-friendly; especially for a beginner.

First things first, WASH and DRY your fabrics to pre-shrink them before cutting your pieces. This will avoid your dress shrinking in the wash. Next step.. IRON!!!  It ensures a proper cut-out.

Once you've prepped your fabric, print out the pattern and piece them together. Don't be surprised if it doesn't exactly go as planned. I was bothered that after I followed the instructions,... I realized that the alignment is slightly off.
Ensure that the print options are at scaling: none.

I suggest to use your better judgement to find exactly where the lines should meet up rather than just thinking you can butt the pages side-by-side. You can tell a bit by the picture below that there was about a 1/4 inch gap between 2 of the pieces of paper. I was afraid that I might have been the one to not have read the instructions properly, but end result shows that I did the right thing by placing were the paper SHOULD be, and not butting them together.

I cut out all the pieces required by the instructions. I found however, that the instructions for the sash was rather vague. Since I am experienced,  I just winged it.  Be sure you pay very close attention as to the direction of the fabric when you are cutting. When you cut the front and back pieces, ensure that you're not cutting a back piece in the same direction twice.

Ensure your pieces are ironed before cutting.
This will make your entire project easier to handle.
When you get to the point of having the sew your top pieces together. Sit and think. Think long and hard. I don't know if I was tired, but I got VERY frustrated at one point because whatever I'd sew.. I'd soon realize I had sewn a piece that would prevent me from folding the top inside out to be able to have a clean finish before I was ready to top-stitch.  At this point, the seam ripper came in real handy... several times.. to the point I wanted to throw the whole thing out the window.

Sit Back. Relax. Breathe. Continue.

The next thing that I would suggest at this point, is plug in the iron, and get ready to take your time and iron flat. I promise you, it will make your life a million times easier if you take the 5 minutes to iron your pieces flat before you top-stitch the collar. The next part doesn't come as easy...

Sew the neck hole, Topstitch then focus on the armholes.
Trying to top-stitch the neck afterward will frustrate you.
I got confused a lot with where I should be sewing. The armholes are sewn to themselves... and NOT to the facing fabric. .. So... Red sewn to red,... black sewn to black. That was one big mistake. I blame it on being tired and lack of instruction.

This is where I starting losing all hope in the project. I took a minute to reread the instructions, swore a few times and then decided to scrap it and use my better judgement.

Enter my serger...

I serged the bottom to prep it for the trim.
You can also just achieve this by
creating a zig-zag stitch.
Anytime I'm sick and tired of having to over think a pattern, I finish the seams with a serger. If you don't own a serger, I highly recommend you get your hands on one... You can get a decent Singer (that's what I did!) for about $250. Word to the wise, replace the thread with a higher grade cotton thread. Otherwise you'll hate your serger when you realize it takes 10 minutes to thread... and the thread keeps snapping.

Moving along... 

I serged the top of the dress to the bottom part by sliding the skirt over the top, waists touching print side touching. I then topstitched the serged part down for a clean look.

I was pretty happy with the outcome of serging these pieces together. I tried it out on my mannequin, added the sash, and realized I HATED the length. It felt outdated, and I was aiming for more of a cocktail dress type of feel.

So I took the dress back to the drawing board. I measured a line about 4 inches higher than the original hem line.

Brilliant! I was closer to my goal!

I shortened the bottom by 4 inches.
My last hurdle was trying to hem the dress without it looking half-finished. I tinkered around with making a 2-inch hemline in black, but it looked too heavy like it was fighting with the sash. I sat and thought about it for a while... then I realized I had about 5 metres of bias tape sitting in front of me.


If you've never had the pleasure of using double-wide bias tape... I present you with this youtube tutorial ...

See video at the end of this review.
After much thought, I used an
Extra-Wide Double Bias Tape.
All in all - the instructions to this tutorial needs some work, however, it is a good resource to have a printed pattern available for cutouts. My suggestion is this. Use common-sense.

Another great bias-tape tutorial can be found on another favourite web site of mine, Smashed Peas and Carrots.