Back to our Dandelion Dress, New Look 6866, and the alterations that made it unique. You can see my inspiration here and see that there is a very wide shaped hem band around the bottom of the dress. I've always loved deep hems and they way they can affect the drape of a garment. Here the deep hem has a definite function. It adds weight to the hem which keeps the bumpouts from blowing out like balloons. On the Dandelion dress the addition of the hemband was fairly simple as there was no lining to the garment but the band can be added to an underlined garment and I will show that when I post the linen version of this dress which is now complete.
The first step is to put the shaping darts in the front hem area only of the dress. They should be inline with your bust points. If you put darts at the hem in the skirt back it will balloon out toward your bum. At least that's the message my brain is getting from years of asking my self "does this make my butt look big?" The back skirt should fall straight down from the lovely V neckline with no poufing. Also, if you haven't sewn the back seam yet, when you do, leave a 6 inch space at the bottom open for your slit.
* Lay out your front pattern piece.
* 7 inches (for me) from Center Front, aka, the fold, draw a line from the hem edge 5 1/2 inches long up toward the original hem edge, the red broken line. Make sure this line is perpendicular to the hem edge which isn't parallel to the side seams or center front. This is your dart line. It should be in line with your bust points and for me that was 7 inches. You more than likely will have your own number. I figured this out by draping the dress on my form and on myself and seeing where the fold fell down from my boobs.
*At the new hem edge draw in a half inch dart, in other words starting 1/4 inch left and right of the original dart line you just drew, just like any other dart you would draw. Draw the dart from there to the tip 5 1/2 inches up.
*Make the darts in your dress front and press to the Center Front of the dress. Set aside.
* Take your front and back dress pattern pieces and trace off the new hem band pieces, one for across the front to be cut on the fold, and two for the back that will mirror image and end in a slit, like a giant facing.
*Cut out these pieces in your fashion fabric, three pieces total.
* Mark and make the darts in the front hem band the same way you did in the dress front.
* Sew the side seams of the hem bands together. Don't sew the back seam as that is your slit. This is a good time to check that the edges at the side seams of both the band and the dress match. Trim if necessary. Iron the side seams open. There is a bit of an upward curve at the side seam which is nice on this dress.
* Iron the hem band darts in the opposite direction, toward the side seams. You will be nesting the darts which you can see above. They will oppose each other and therefore not make a big bulky ridge. I have had to play with some serious contrast in these pictures to show the detail and it makes the fabric look filthy. I apologize. It's not.
* Stitch the hem band to the skirt , matching bottom hem edges. I know that sounds obvious but it is REAL EASY to get the top and bottom of the band mixed up. I highly suggest a piece of tape or such to keep the top and bottoms of the band clearly marked. So this before you draw in your darts.
* Once the hem edge is stitched to the skirt, grade seams and press toward the band. Understitch the edge with a triple zigzag stopping and starting about an inch short of the slit corner. It is similar to the method I used to understitch this collar which you can see here. Give the new hem edge a sharp press.
* Finish the top edge of the hem band. You can serge, Hong Kong, bind, whatever you like for the finish. Try not to add bulk. I serged mine and that was it.
* Fold back the hem band to the skirt, RST and stitch the slits up to the end of the closed center back seam. Grade and turn the slit seams. Press. If you are not feeling secure about the slit you can zig zag across on the outside with a satin stitch bar tack or on the inside, hand stitch the bar part from a hook and eye at the split to secure the two seams further. Being a full skirt, I am not worried about the slit splitting.
* Give the band a really good press. Line up the side seams and pin their seams together. On the right side ditch stitch in the seam to secure the hem to the skirt.
* Topstitch or hand stitch your hem in place. On the Dandelion Dress, the bottom edge of the hem was edgestitched, using an edge stitching foot. I then topstitched along the top edge of the band from the wrong side to see what I was doing. The Dandelion Dress was made of bull denim and I treated it like a pair of jeans when it came to topstitching. In my linen version there is no topstitching at all. The hem is catchstitched to the underlining. It's a much softer look for a lightweight, softer fabric. Do what works for your fabric. Either way, you need to ditch stitch the band at the side seams.
Your new wide, shaped hem band is now complete. I think it is a great custom touch for this pattern, New Look 6866. I hope you give it a try. If you have any questions, ask away. The next post will be about the linen version which is quite a different construction and look. Stay tuned! In the meantime..........
.............In the last post I showed you some pictures of our back yard and some of the improvements my husband and I have made and worked hard at. Seems we are not the only ones enjoying our hard work. This is a large male and he hung around for quite some time. An hour and a half earlier I walked out the back door to continue gardening and came face to face with Momma Bear a few feet in front of me. Her cubs were in the front yard. At one point my next door neighbor had two large males, the mother and two cubs in her yard. You could hear the air horns going off all over that afternoon. That is how we signal each other that bears are around in our yards and to be on the alert. I don't garden without an air horn on my belt. Big Daddy came back the next day but we haven't seen any of them since. Life in the wild!