Friday, March 28, 2014

The Garden Party-A Tutorial Part One

You would have seen the new Oliver+S patterns....
I made Tildy the Garden Party
 In fact I made her two.
(I will let you into a secret, I had to make two as I stuffed up her first one not reading the instructions properly, so you will see two different dresses in this tute)

My inspiration was this pin
And my sweet friend Brittney promptly obliged and a parcel of goodies arrived.
So, with some khaki linen/cotton mix (from Horsham Spotters) I got my Garden Party on.
I have the PDF version, I lurve O+S PDF's.
If you print at home, a glue stick is the best way to put them together. Then you can press and fold the pattern pieces and they store well in a large ziplock bag.
As we are coming into our cooler months I extended the sleeve to a 3/4 length.
I simply measured Tildy's arm and shaped the cuff so it would fold back neatly.
With her denim version I shaped the sleeve hem to echo the shorter sleeve. I like that better.
Start off by transferring the markings.
Yes, you do have to.
As directed, cut a rectangle of interfacing.
Pop it to one side.
Right sides together pin and sew the shoulder straps.
They should be mirror images.
Trim the seam back and press to one side (remember mirror images).
Edge stitch the seam.
Stitch the raw edges with a narrow seam. Press and trim any uneven 'bits'.
Pin the bodice straps to the back bodice, right side to right side, matching notches.
Make sure the finished edge of the strap faces inwards.
Baste with a narrow seam.
Apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the back facing as directed.
Love my Goddess sheet.
Transfer the stitch markings to the interfaced section.
Follow the pattern directions 
Over lock the bottom edge of the facing.
I like to double interface the base of the 'V'.
If you use name tags or size labels, apply them now, then there will be no visible stitching.
Pin the back facing to the back yoke piece, sandwiching the straps in between and matching notches.
Pin the sides of the 'V'.
Stitch the facing in place.
When you stitch the 'V' sew with a smaller stitch length, I use a 2.
When you get to the point of the 'V' lift and pivot the needle and stitch one stitch across the point.
Pivot again and finish the 'V'.
Then adjust the stitch length back to normal.
Trim the seam back and c a r e f u l l y snip into the 'V' as far as you can but not through the stitching.
Turn the facing through.
Using a point turner, gently push the corners out.
Roll the seams under your fingers and finger press.
Flip the back yoke over to press.
If it looks a bit ugly, dampen with a water spray and smooth with your fingers.
Press the bodice well.
Baste the facing to the back yoke, at the armholes with a narrow seam.
I like to edge stitch along the back yoke.
Okey doke Peoples.
Step 6 of 'Prepare the Back', read the instructions. It is a very straight forward step, just follow the instructions. Don't assume or you will make a right arse out of yourself (like I did) 
Thanks to the awesome Justine for helping me sort it out!
Stitch a basting stitch at 4/8ths along the top edge of the back waist band piece.
Use this as a fold line. Press well.
I added interfacing, I do like a bit of interfacing.
Sew the back waist band wrong side to the back yoke right side along the bottom edge.
If you want to add piping, you can slip it under the folded edge, pin and sew in place at this stage.
To add piping to the bottom of the back waist band pin and sew it now.
Don't forget to allow for the half inch seam!
(Ready made is generally narrower)
Edge stitch the back waist piece in place.
I topstitched the facing, just for fun!
Gather the back skirt to fit back yoke/waist piece.
If you knot the ends of the gathering threads you can ease  the thread gathers with out fear of them coming loose.
Ease the gathers evenly.
Take your time with this step, it will help you achieve beautiful gathers.
Matching notches, pin the skirt to the back yoke, right sides together.
If you pin and sew from the skirt side you can keep the gathers nice and even.
Press the seam, neaten and press again.
Press the seam towards the bodice.
Topstitch the seam and press again.
Carefully unpick the gathering threads and press again.

Thats enough for one day.

xx N


  1. I love seeing your steps. You sew so beautifully! I never would have thought to knot the gathering threads!! awesome

  2. Thank you Kristin, that is seriously kind of you.
    Knotting the threads only takes a few seconds but saves the piece 'growing' when you are handling it.
    xx N

  3. Thank you Nicole for taking the time to do this - I am quite a visual person, and being able to see photos of each step really helps :-)
    I too will knot my gathering threads next time!

  4. Thank YOU for solving my puzzle. I would still be pulling my hair out.
    I can't wait for you to make it, its such a nice sew.
    xx N

  5. Another awesome tute! Can't wait to sew this one, it's just so sweet.

  6. I don't have any reason to make this dress but kind of wish I did :) Great tutorial and the construction of that back bit with the V is really nifty.

  7. Do you stock the patterns? You could do a sample then.
    Thank you Jane, its a fun sew if you don't get too arsey....

    xx N

  8. Fabulous tutorial as always Nicole! I plan on using it when I get around to trying out this pattern, thank you for all your hard work!

  9. I have already read (and cut) this pattern, but until I manage to find myself some "extra" sewing time, I'm sewing through your tutorials :)
    You always manage to make it look so simple (and add such clever tips - checking the Goddess sheet, now)! Thank you so much !!

    1. That is so kind of you Ana Sofia. I am really looking forward to your Spring time version.
      xx N

  10. Love this tutorial! I'm using it for my little one's Easter dress now. I'm so slow-hopefully I can finish in time. Thanks for the glue stick idea. I recently discovered a glue stick in my kid's art stash and put it to good use. Love it do much more than taping!

  11. Keep going Michelle, you can do it!
    I am so chuffed you are using my tutorial. That makes me so happy.
    The glue stick idea came from my sewing pal Justine. I was grumbling about the sticky tape making it hard to press the paper.

    I will keep an eye out for your dress. Post a link in the O+S forum too.
    xx N