ELEANOR PAGE CHRISTENING GOWN
Continued text from Sew Beautiful magazine, Issue #147
Dress by Connie Palmer
Text by Kathy Barnard
The article in Issue #147 focuses on the instructions for making the beautiful netting ruffles and how to apply them as shown on this gown. This continued article serves as a helpful guide for constructing the gown and offers a helpful order of work.
Connie starts with the embroidery she designed using the circle template from one of our vintage collection CDs. She designed a wave using her embroidery software and continued to repeat it down and around the skirt and across the yoke and sleeves. Since this is rather complex for the average machine embroiderer, we decided to offer the machine embroidery designs already shaped and placed for you. You can purchase this Eleanor Page Christening Gown download from our store.
GENERAL ORDER OF WORK
• Machine embroidery
• Lace shaping
• Netting ruffle application
• Gown Construction
Each component (skirt, yoke, sleeves) of this gown is completely embellished with embroidery, lace and ruffles before it is assembled. We strongly suggest not attempting to make this gown if you do not have prior constructions and heirloom sewing experience. Some methods are assumed, i.e. we will instruct to shape the lace, but will not provide detailed instructions for how to shape lace.
Where to find it…
• Machine Embroidery Design (www.sewbeautifulmag.com)
• Lace Shaping Templates (on the centerfold of Issue #147)
• Pattern (any baby gown with a mid yoke and standard puffed sleeves)
• Fabric and Lace (store.marthapullen.com)
• Materials List (Issue #147)
• Monogram (Martha Pullen’s Creative Monogram Software)
How to make it…
Rewash all fabric, lace and netting before beginning. Starch and press to prepare for cutting and construction.
1. Cut out blocks for the yoke and sleeve so that there is enough room to hoop and embroidery. Trace the front yoke and the two sleeves to three separate blocks of fabric using a wash away marking pen.
2. Cut out two back yokes and set aside.
3. Cut or tear a front skirt and a back skirt the width of the fabric by the length of the skirt desired. NOTE: There are 8 scallops forming waves from the yoke to the circle corner section. Create a skirt as long as you design by adding and subtracting scallops. Make the distance below the bottom ruffles to the fold edge of the hem as long as you like. This dress has an 8-inch hem allowance from the foldline to the raw edge. Just be sure to allow enough fabric to fold back for the hem, so that the stitching along the bottom edge of the lace will catch and secure the hem in place on the wrong side. The excess will be cut away from behind the lace.
4. Cut 1-inch bias strips from dress fabric for neck binding and sleeve bands.
There are design options available on the download: You may choose the combination designs that are joined for you (i.e. a complete wave for the yoke), or you can choose sections of scallops and waves to manipulate your own wavy, curved, or scalloped style designs. Print out templates and have fun arranging and rearranging for different looks.
1. Download the Eleanor Page Christening Gown embroidery designs. The monogram and dates shown in two of the three front circles is not included. Connie used Martha Pullen’s Creative Monogram Software.
2. Print out templates for Circle (3 copies), Trinity (1 copy) Yoke 2 Combination (1 copy), the Sleeve 2 Combination (1 copy), the Skirt Corner (1 copy), and the single Wave (20 copies) to arrange placement on yoke, sleeve and repeats on skirt.
Use water-soluble stabilizer for each embroidery.
1. If you plan to make the dress as shown, we suggest you use the lace shaping template provided on the pullout centerfold of Issue #147 as a guide for machine embroidery design placement. Trace a dotted line through the center of the wavy embroidery design on the template and use this line to help guide you as you place and mark the fabric for hooping and stitching. If you are creating a longer or shorter skirt, start by marking center of front skirt block. Start at bottom of skirt and place Skirt Corner template with outermost edge 3-1/2 inches from center. Do not mark yet. You may have to adjust the height of the corner template in a later step; just pin temporarily for now.
2. Using the Wave template to create the vertical wave down front of gown, connect to end of corner scallop and pin to fabric temporarily. Continue connecting wave repeats working from corner template up to top of skirt (there are 7-1/2 scallops forming a wave from corner to top on sample shown). Shift templates up or down until the top scallop center will end 3/4-inch from top raw edge of skirt and all designs connect well. Mark embroidery centers on fabric.
3. Now, place Wave repeats from Corner template horizontally towards side seams and mark. Place as many scallop waves on the skirt as you like (this dress has an up scallop, a down scallop, and a half scallop on each side). NOTE: A full scallop is stitched over the side seam after the seam is joined (you can mark that one last after all others embroideries are stitched out). Mark center of this last scallop on the fabric and this line will become your new skirt side seamline. Repeat marking for opposite side of front. Trim skirt sides if necessary (remember to leave 1/2 inch for a seam allowance).
4. Stitch out the front skirt embroidery before marking the back. Do not stitch out the last half scallop. Remove stabilizer and press front well.
5. Stitch one side seam to join front to back with a French seam (taking a total of 1/2-inch seam allowance).
6. Place Wave templates onto back skirt starting with a full scallop centered over side seam. Continue Wave repeats evenly across back to opposite side seam (approximately 10 whole Waves). Again, mark center of the side scallop and that will become your new back skirt side seamline. Trim skirt if necessary (remember to leave 1/2 inch for a seam allowance).
7. Mark template centers onto fabric and remove templates. Hoop with stabilizer and begin by completing Wave over stitched side seam and continue around back skirt until you come to last wave on opposite side seam area. You will have to stitch out a half wave (omit any motifs beyond seam line and repeat opposite half Wave on front skirt. Once half Waves are stitched out on front and back, leave skirt open so that you can pin and stitch lace and netting ruffles to flat fabric. You will be instructed when to sew side seam in construction steps.
YOKE and SLEEVES
1. Using template provided in the magazine’s centerfold, mark embroidery wave on yoke fabric block. Place Yoke 2 Combination design template on yoke block and mark center for hooping. Repeat this process for each of the sleeves using the centerfold template and the Sleeve 2 Combination design to prepare for hooping.
2. Hoop fabric backed with wash-away stabilizer and stitch out designs on each block.
3. Remove and soak embroidered pieces to remove marks and stabilizer. Air dry, then iron with starch while slightly damp.
1. Using template provided in the magazine’s centerfold, mark lace shaping lines and ruffle guidelines next to embroidery. If you find that your embroidery stitched out slightly “off” from the template, make simple adjustments. The idea is to shape the lace wave so that the edge of the lace is 5/8 inch from the edge of embroidery.
2. Shape and pin lace in place down front and around back. Remember to add the lace scallop bridge that connects the two corners in front.
3. Zigzag stitch both sides of lace. Leave about 2 inches unstitched on front and back at opened side seam.
4. Carefully split fabric behind lace between stitching lines. Press fabric back away from lace clipping curves where necessary. Trim away all fabric to stitching along bottom edge of lace only.
5. Sew final side seam.
6. Shape and stitch lace over side seam.
7. Turn up and press hem so that raw edge of skirt is beyond bottom edge of lace. Glue baste or pin in place.
8. Straight stitch along bottom edge of lace to catch hem. Trim away excess hem close to stitching on wrong side.
9. Go back over both lace edges with a machine pinstitch.
10. On wrong side, trim excess fabric next to stitching to neaten back.
Adding Ruffles to Gown
1. Make netting ruffles according to instructions given in Issue #147. Use basting glue or pins to secure the ruffles in place. Use glue sparingly. Straight stitch or zigzag stitch ruffle in place. You will have to work in a tube, as both side seams are now sewn. Always check to be sure you are not catching the wrong part of the skirt in your stitching.
2. Add the first ruffle between the insertion and the embroidery.
3. Add the second ruffle on the other side of the insertion.
4. Add the third ruffle to the other side of the embroidery.
5. Finish all the ruffles on the yoke, sleeves and skirt.
1. Assemble pieces as instructed in your chosen pattern.
2. Finish sleeves and neck with bias binding.