Flower Girl Dress, Part 5: Netting & Tulle Layers

Stymied on the bodice-front, I turned to the skirt. I started with the easiest part, the 10" flounce for the bottom-most layer. I spread a blanket out on the floor and started pinning my net to it to try to get it straight and accurately measured. It wasn't easy, but I finally managed to get one edge folded over exactly 10 inches over an 8 foot length. I cut along the raw edge to make a 20"x8' piece, folded in half. I sewed it into a big loop along the short sides, and then folded it back in half. I took a piece of crochet cotton with a big knot on one end and used a zig zag stitch to attach it to the net along the folded edge. Pulling on the cotton gathered the 8' length down to around 2'.

I attached the flounce to the lining skirt by putting it in approximately the right position and then basting it. In retrospect, I probably should have drawn a line on the skirt, because my basting line was less than perfect. But I was able to rip out a few offending portions and redo them without too much time wasted, so it wasn't too bad. I then machine-stitched (straight stitch) just under and just over the gathering cotton so that I could pull it out later. I left it in for the time-being though, just incase I decide I need to move the flounce.

And then I forgot to take it out. But with zero visibility, that wasn't much of a problem.

Getting the full-skirt net layers flat and cut was even more difficult. It didn't help that the blanket I was using was white, and I just about went cross-eyed trying to see where the edges were. But finally I got a 46" piece of the octagon net, folded in half to make two 23" layers, plus a single 23" stiff net layer and a 48" piece of tulle, also folded in half for two layers. I sewed the ends together with two parallel lines of stitching very close to each other and then folded the ones that needed folded. At which point I discovered that they weren't all quite 8', so I had to go back and re-sew the end seams so that they were all close to the same size around. Then I was able to stack them in the desired order.

To make the work at the sewing machine easier, I basted the stacks together along the top edge with inch long stitches. Then I got another strand of cotton thread and very carefully began running the whole pile of net through my machine, zig-zagging across the cotton without catching it with the needle.

Pull, pull, pull and the skirt was starting to look like a skirt:

Continue: Part 6, Bodice Assembly.

- Victoria, 2012-04-21

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