Well hello there everyone, and welcome to the first day of the Sew With Us series for the Dakota dress by Named Patterns!
I’m looking forward to making up this pattern – it’s an interesting style, and one I’ve had my eye on since it was released last year, so it’s great to finally get it to the front of my things-I-want-to-sew queue.
Today we’re going to be focusing on all of the prep – printing, assembling, and tracing the pattern, and cutting out the fabric and interfacing. Then we’ll be all ready to launch into sewing it all together tomorrow!
Still thinking about joining in? It’s not too late – the Dakota is a PDF pattern, so you can go and get it right now and join in the fun! 🙂
Right, first things first – go and print off your pattern. Remember to check your printer settings – make sure scaling is turned off and it’s set to print at 100%. (There’s a test square on the first page of the pattern – I like to print this page first, by itself, so I can measure the square and make sure everything is printing to the right size before I print off all the rest.)
Got the rest of your supplies ready as well? Here’s my supplies, all gathered together and ready to go:
Fabric, interfacing, things-to-cut-things-with, sellotape for assembling the pattern, the pattern and instructions. Oh, and some piping – since I’m going to be making the Dakota in quite a busy printed fabric I’m going to add some piping around the edge of the collar to help it stand out from the dress.
Now that we’ve got everything gathered together, let’s start working!
First up – assembling the pattern. I find it easiest to trim off the right-hand-side and bottom margins on each page to start with. (This is where my self-healing cutting mat makes me happy. Combined with a craft knife and a clear ruler, trimming off those edges is nice and fast!) I leave the other two sides intact to make it easy to stick all the pages together. Unsure which way is up? The pattern name and page number are written along the right-hand side of the pattern, down in the bottom corner.
When you’ve got all your pages trimmed, it’s time to stick ’em together! (I like to stick each row together separately, then join the rows together. It’s easier to move them all around that way, and also it’s quite common for lines on PDF patterns to not quite line up so doing the rows one at a time gives more flexibility in shuffling pages around to get them to line up as best as possible.)
Yay, pattern assembled! 🙂 You’ll see that this pattern is nested, quite like those that you’ll find in Burda magazines. Which means… it’s time to trace it off!
Since I’m one size bigger around the waist/hips than I am in the bust, I’m going to trace off a size 38 bust, and grade out to a size 40 for the waist and hips. You’ll see there are two outlines in each size for each pattern piece – the outside line is the cutting line, and the one inside that is the stitching line. Unless you really want to mark your stitching line, there’s no need to trace that one – just trace out the cutting line and save yourself a bunch of work. 😉
When I’m tracing patterns, I like to use this stuff – I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s a lightweight version of that stuff that’s used in upholstery at the bottom of chairs (know what I mean?). It’s durable, see-through, cheap (yay!), doesn’t crease easily, and can go through the wash if a toddler spills things on it (*sigh*) And yes, my pattern weights are hinges. 😉
Since the pattern is nested, and there are quite a few pieces, I ticked off which ones I’d traced on the cutting layout list on page 5 of the instructions. I also used the cutting layout on page 5 to check I’d traced off all the markings for each piece as I went.
Right, got your pattern all traced off and ready to go? Let’s cut out fabric! (Which is far more fun, in my opinion. Because fabric is pretty colours, which makes me happy.) For my Dakota, I’m using a lightweight pink cotton drill with a small floral print all over it. (We’re heading into Spring over here in New Zealand, and this seems nice and Spring-like, don’t you think?) It’s narrower than the fabric shown in the cutting layout table, so I completely ignored the cutting layout. (To be fair though, I pretty much always ignore the cutting layout….) I’m a big fan of cutting with a rotary cutter and a self-healing cutting mat – I just find it faster and (more importantly!) a lot more fun. 🙂
Ok, got everything cut out now, both fabric and interfacing? Excellent! Because tomorrow, we start sewing up our Dakota dresses!