So after finishing the planning stage of this project, I was ready to start sewing. First, the bodice. This took a bit longer than I had planned, because I guess I should have done a bit more planning.
First, I cut out the pieces for the bodice and sleeves from pink satin. Because this fabric frays practically just from touching it, I figured I should take some precautions. I decided to coat all the cut edges with Fray Check, figuring that since Barbie doesn’t have sensitive skin, she wouldn’t mind the itchy seams. Unfortunately, while it did check the fraying, it made the edges very stiff and hard to work with. And not to mention the smell that persisted even after drying for a few days. It even left a smell on my fingers and the machine. *Sigh.* I’m sure Fray Check is good for something, but I haven’t found much use for it myself.
When I finally got the bodice sewn together, the whole thing was stiff and the seams wouldn’t lie smoothly. The fabric itself was wobbly and warped and wouldn’t hold its shape, owing to its nature. I also didn’t like that the seams pulled on the fabric, creating large holes around each stitch, as I had forgotten it does. One other thing I should mention was that the sleeves were very tight. I could barely get Barbie’s hands through, and they left very little room to work with. Overall, it looked rather shabby and unprofessional, and I was very unsatisfied with it. I decided I could do better.
I decided to try again, this time with a cotton poplin lining to stabilize the satin and take some pressure off it at the seams. I cut all the pieces out, curving the poplin before marking the satin, to mimic the curve of the worn bodice. As the extra layer will make the garment slightly thicker, the outer layer would need to be slightly larger to go completely around. I tried to do this to avoid having too little space for the inner layer to lie flat. I think it worked to some degree.
After cutting, I sewed the satin pieces to the poplin lining around the edges. I decided it would be best to leave the edges alone this time. Then I sewed the bodice pieces together. I sewed the side seams before attaching the sleeves. Since it would have been impossible for me to get the tiny armscyes under the machine, I sewed the sleeves to the bodice by hand. The sleeves were the same ones from the basic blocks I started with. This time I used them as they were without shrinking them. I decided to just gather any extra fabric if it was too big for the armscye. I thought it would be, but somehow it fit well enough. There were no gathers visible from the right side.
This bodice turned out much better. As I had hoped, the poplin lining stabilized the satin. It now holds its shape and the stitches don’t pull on it creating large holes like they did before. I pressed the seams flat and they lie smoothly. It looks altogether like a nice bodice for a princess dress, and I am quite satisfied. The only thing that isn’t quite right is the sleeves. They seem to be a bit tight and to pull a bit at the neckline. Also, the fabric doesn’t lie quite smoothly under the arm. It seems that though the armscyes were perfect for a sleeveless bodice, they need some tweaking for a bodice with sleeves. But this bodice will do very nicely for this dress.
I finished the bodice in back by ironing on strips of interfacing where I will put buttons and loops later. I then folded the edges under and sewed them in place.
After I finish sewing the dress I’ll add the finishing details to the bodice. For now, the bodice is done, and the next thing to work on is the skirt. That will be the next post in this series. Stay tuned!