Triangle Method for jutting skirts

Diane had a question…sooner or later, ALL ID dressmakers will have to deal with this one!

I have a dress that I made this past spring that was just fine on the dancer when she got it, and quite honestly, is fine on her now – when she’s standing in a normal position. But, when she gets ready to dance, she pulls her shoulders back, puts her stomach and chest out and it makes the skirt stick put funny.  Of course, it’s all a problem with the dress, not the dancer.

I was thinking that the best way to remedy this problem on the dress, short of standing behind the dancer on stage and telling her not to stick her belly out – was to drop the center front of the bodice – graduated from side seam to side seam, so that it was nothing at the side seam and 1″ at the center front.  I was thinking that maybe the center skirt front needed the same thing, but then just pinning it, it looked funny. Unfortunately, she’ll be loosing a good bit of her bodice let down room- about half –  but that’s life.

Diane’s idea is right, change the angle of the skirt attachment, but there is a fairly easy way to accomplish this: the Triangle Method!

Here’s my answer to her:

Hi Diane,  All you need is to haul it up into the side seams. 

Triangle method: I always do this with the bodice sewn on the right way (meaning I don’t remove the skirt to fix this), then I go back in and draw a line from the waist seam at the front dart/princess seam up to a point that is about ½” higher than the waist seam on the bodice side seam, and then back down to the waist seam at the back dart, pin the skirt and bodice together, and then sew this new line on both sides.  It accomplishes what you need without having to change the length of the front skirt…it just changes the length of the side, but no one ever notices.  This will help flatten the skirt and counteract what the dancer is doing.  Susan wrote about this thing exactly here: “Brainstorm alert – The Unified Quantum Theory of the Skirt Hang”

The one thing about this problem is that dancers really do slip back into a more natural posture once they start moving.  I do make this change when it is a glaring issue, but I also tell the dancer and the mom exactly why the problem is happening in the first place!

If this is unclear, please let me know.

For more about fitting issues caused by the exaggerated dance posture: Fitting issues: Dancer mis-alignment

Basting Boxes

 Rebecca left a question for me on IDD:

I was looking at your blog, and studying your work. I have a question. Why do you sew rectangles around the embroidery? It looks like it’s machine sewn. What does it accomplish?

Those are basting stitches. 
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Because Gina sent me pieces to be embroidered, I did not hoop the fabric pieces.  Instead I attach sticky stabilizer directly onto the inner hoop, put a good tear-away behind that and then put both into the hoop ring that tightens.  Then, part of my design is a set of placement stitches that get sewn onto the hooped stabilizers…I remove the hoop from the machine and then, using lines that I have drawn on the back of the stabilized fabric pieces that correspond to the digitized placement lines, I line up the fabric piece.  The next thing to get stitched out is a long basting stitch around the design area.  This ensures that the fabric will not move or pull or come away from the sticky stabilizer.  I have also found that it helps eliminate any puckering.

Here is a pic of the digitizing…you can see the dark blue placement lines in the middle…this only gets sewn onto the stabilizer in the hoop or even just punched in with no thread.  I have marked the same lines on the back of the fabric.
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I very rarely actually hoop fabric anymore.  I am so freaking picky about puckering that I use this method for just about everything.

For a rather intense look at doing this so I can use my hoop-it-all for a long project, click here: Embroidering in the Hoop-it-all

…and Embroidery

Here you go, Gina! Shipped off this morning.

This is one side of the back skirt…it will have a reversed pleat. There will be panels on the front of the dress, each one with one of these embroideries on it.
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Here are the 2 crowns.
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And the rest…

The bodice.
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The sleeves.
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Now, back to the dungeon…

Commercial Embroidery Machine

I have gotten some very nice compliments on the embroidery for Shaylah…and a couple of questions, observations, and a bit of advice that I am going to explore.  I have tried to answer some of the questions in the comments.

Marlene wrote:

Hi, Anne.  I always enjoy looking at your work and creativity.  Your new design is gorgeous – as usual.  *-)

And am I hearing the kching of “how can I afford my own commercial machine” bouncing through your head?  ROFL 

With regard to your statement under the last picture about underlay issues (and a decision to back off the underlay), have you tried using both edge run together with double zigzag?  The edge run would reduce the push/pull factor of the satin stitches, keeping the columns uniform, and the double zigzag would help lift the satin stitches off the fabric.  If you’ve not tried that combination before, it might be worth looking into.  A closer density of the double zigzag stitching may allow you to lessen the density of the
satin stitches and still achieve great coverage.  Keep up the good work!

She’s got me!  How I would love to have this machine!!!  My hermithood would be complete!  Hermit Extraordinaire!!

And I am going to explore the the idea of the double zig-zag…I included this here for other digitizers exploring their craft.  Thank you very much, Marlene.

My friend’s commercial machine is a Toyota…info for this next comment.

What size hoop did you use? Have you seen the Toyota machine with the 1.2m x 0.45m hoop? I’m fascinated by that possibility (just not by the pricetag….), after sitting for many hours over the Bernina megahoop shifting it up and down the notches, not to mention rehooping! I’ve heard the Toyota actually stitches slower than the Bernina, just doen’t need all the thread changes, rehooping etc. How did you think they compared? Though it sounds like you need the Toyota like me!!!

All the best


The hoop I used was the 14×19.5 inches… this is the biggest sewing field that this machine has.  A wide center front panel might still require one re-hooping, but this would be cake on this machine!  This Toyota machine stitches MUCH faster than the Bernina…I have the 200E…I love it dearly and the test stitch out for Shaylah’s design looked just as good as the Toyota.  BUT, my Bernina can in no way compete with the speed…if I get anywhere near this speed on the Bernina, the threads break constantly, the machine bounces, and the motor gets way too hot. 

I actually dreamed last night that I had one of these machines in my dungeon…in my own space…shower not needed for operation.  Aahh.

Yeah, well…

Embroidery Topping

Folks have been asking about the embroidery topping that I used on Shaylah’s velvet bodice in the post below.  Gina said she got it from her old sewing machine guy 3 or 4 years ago…I am sure whatever it was called it has probably changed by now.

 However, I did a search and found this permanent topping.  There are many that are water-soluble, but I am thinking that what Gina gave me is a permanent one…it does not dissolve in water, though I have not tried heat.  I like the idea of a permanent one which means the stitches will always stay up. 

This could also be a really great thing for satin-stitching on sequins.  This stuff is thick enough that it should really help the satin stitch look smooth and even, and because it is permanent, the look will not change with water and/or heat. 

Found a new keeper.  Thanks, Gina…did you want this roll back?

Embroidery Heaven

See this beautiful thing?
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Maggie’s eyes say it all…

This is Gina’s embroidery…that I did…on a friend’s commercial machine.
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I am in heaven…the clarity of the stitches… the speed, the ginormous hoop…the amount of work I got done in one day…the speed….the speed…oohhhh, I am in heaven!
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 I am in love with that machine.  We have done a couple of school dresses, and our new school account is designed with this machine in mind.  And while I do have to interrupt my hermithood to go use this machine, it is SO worth it.
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The bodice embroidery is on this incredible, plush purple velvet (I have not run the lint roller over it in the pic so it looks…well…linty). Interesting stitching issue to solve…I knew that the stitches were going to sink into the velvet so I tried a couple of things. First, I knew that I would have to use a topper to help keep the stitches up. Gina sent along a relatively thick plastic topper (what brand is it, Gina?)…not a solvy, but it ripped fairly easily. I had also digitized in a pretty dense underlay thinking that it would help the top stitches stand up and out, but the test stitch-out ended up dipping, diving, and waving like a bad trip!!! So, I made the underlay very sparse, stabilized the back of the velvet with 2 layers of decorbond, and used 2 layers of the topper. Mission accomplished…clean-up still in progress.

The embroidery on the lavender fabric is for the sleeves. No topper needed. What you see has not been ironed yet…and there is no puckering! Another reason to love this machine!!!!

So, I will finish the front panels, back skirt, and crowns and ship it all back to Gina for assembly for her daughter.  I am liking being the embroidery lady…have 2 more to stitch-out for my 2 in current production…

This was all digitized using my Bernina Designer Plus V5 software. Converts easily into the format needed for the commercial machine.

Caroline’s straight satin-stitch pictorial

Caroline Vermeulen of Lowland Design has done a pictorial/tutorial for satin-stitching straight lines.  Very creative approach that I have not seen before.

I will link this in the dressmaker info post, Dressmaking for Experienced FDS.

Thank you, Caroline!

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