Lesson 1—Supplies, Pattern Preparation & Cutting

Welcome to our Back-to-School Dress Sew-Along, sponsored by our friends at Janome! We are so happy that you have joined us! Over the next four weeks, we are going to create an adorable back-to-school dress designed by Alicia Welcher, assistant editor of Classic Sewing magazine. In this first lesson, we’ll get started by going over the needed supplies, pattern preparation, and cutting. The sew-along instructions will feature the new Janome Continental M17 sewing and embroidery machine, AcuAssist app, Embroidery Link app, and many other interactive features. Plus, you also have the chance to win a Janome Travel Mate 16 sewing machine, which features mechanical sewing at its finest! Visit our sew-along homepage to learn more about these two great machines and enter the giveaway.

Project Downloads

Note: For best results, please download the files on a computer and NOT a mobile device.

Janome Sew-AlongSupplies Needed

  • 2-1/4 yards of plaid fabric (56/60” wide) This includes 1/4 yard extra for matching plaids.
  • 1/2 yard of white fabric (43/45” or 56/60” wide)
  • 2-1/2 yards of red pre-made baby piping or 2-3/4 yards of baby piping cord and a 13-1/2” x 30” block of red fabric
  • 1/3 yard of baby interfacing (56/60” wide)
  • Three 1/4” red buttons (optional for front)
  • Eight 5/8” red or grey buttons (Seven for size 4) for back closure
  • Construction threads to blend with fabrics
  • Lightweight tear-away stabilizer, such as Sulky Tear Easy
  • Terial Magic (preferred) or spray starch
  • Small rotary cutter
  • Ten Sisters piping trimming ruler
  • Sewline Styla temporary fabric marker
  • Sewline glue pen
  • Hot Hemmer or Hot Ruler
  • Blue Line Eraser (optional)
  • SimFlex sewing gauge (optional)
  • Open toe foot
  • Mini piping or zipper foot

Extra Machine Embroidery Supplies

  • 40wt. Embroidery thread in red, green and grey (or other colors to match your fabrics). Sample used Sulky 40wt. rayon embroidery thread in 561 Lipstick, 1177 Avocado and 1325 Whisper Gray
  • Embroidery bobbin thread
  • Sticky tear-away stabilizer, such as Sulky Sticky+ or Floriani Perfect Stick
  • 5×7 or similar machine embroidery hoop. For the Janome Continental M17, I used the RE20d hoop. This allowed me to complete both collar embroideries in one hooping and all of the bodice embroideries in a second hooping for my size 4 dress.

Back-to-School Sew-Along Dress KitSupply Notes

Fabric/trim kits and optional notions add-ons are available from thesewingcollection.com.

Plaid fabric and red and white broadcloth fabrics are from Fabric Finders, Inc.

Pattern Notes

pattern measurements

Pattern Preparation

  1. Print and tape the pattern pieces together following the instructions on the pattern.

2. Trace your chosen size onto pattern tracing paper or tissue paper. When choosing your pattern material, ensure that you will be able to see the pattern of the plaid through it. Trace the front yoke as a full pattern by tracing the pattern piece, folding the paper on the fold line and cutting out a full pattern. If matching fabric prints, such as a plaid or stripe, also trace the lower front skirt as a full pattern.

Cutting

From the plaid, cut the following:

See below for information about matching plaids prior to cutting your pieces.

  • Two Center Backs
  • Two Side Backs
  • Two Side Fronts
  • One Lower Front Skirt
  • Four Sleeves
  • Two Sashes, 3” x 22”
  • One Neck Facing on the bias,16” x 1-5/8” (this could also be cut from white fabric)

From the white fabric, cut the following:

  • One block, 14” x 18”, for the front yoke
  • One Yoke Front for the lining
  • Four blocks, 12” x 6” for the collars

From the red fabric, cut enough 1-1/2” bias strips to create the following piping strips:

  • One strip 32” for the yoke
  • Two strips 17” for the collars
  • Two strips 13” for the sleeves

From the baby interfacing, cut the following:

  • One 12” x 14” rectangle for the front yoke
  • Two 6” x 12” rectangles for the collars
  • Two strips 36” x 1” for the back plackets

Sewing Information

1. All seams are sewn using a 3/8” seam allowance, unless otherwise noted.

2. Finish all seams using a 3-thread narrow overlock on a serger or trim seam allowance to 1/4” and zigzag by sewing machine.

Matching Plaids while Cutting

Notes:

1. Cut all pieces one at a time. Do not cut any pieces on the fold.

2. It is best to use a small rotary cutter rather than scissors to cut out all pieces so that you do not distort the plaid as you cut. I used an 18mm rotary cutter.

3. Start with the center backs and move around the dress from center back to center front. Cut the sleeves last.

4. Transfer all pattern markings to all cut pieces as you go, excluding the grainline.

Cutting the Center Backs

1. On a single layer of fabric, align the fold line of the back placket precisely along a vertical line of the plaid. Align the bottom of the pattern at the hem opposite the placket with a horizontal line on the plaid to make it easier to align the rest of the pattern pieces. Pin the pattern in place well.

2. Cut one center back. Use that center back to cut the second center back.

3. Turn the center back over on top of the single layer of fabric so that you are cutting an opposing center back. Align the plaid pattern of the first center back exactly with the plaid pattern on the single layer of fabric (photo 1).

Photo 1

4. Pin well and cut out the second center back. If you’ve aligned the plaids precisely, it will not be easy to see the cut edges of the first center back. You will need really good lighting.

Cutting the Side Backs

1. To cut the side backs, align the hem edge on the side that will be attached to the center back with the same horizontal line of the plaid. This is easiest if you have the center back lying next to the pattern piece exactly matched to the plaid (photo 2).

Photo 2

2. Align the grainline line on the pattern precisely with a vertical line of the plaid (photo 3).

Photo 3

3. You can double check your placement by placing the center back on top of the side back pattern as if you were going to sew the two pieces together. The plaid should be an exact match on the skirt portion of each piece (see photo 5). Note: because this dress is constructed using princess seams, the plaid patterns will not match at the top of the center and side backs.

4. Pin the pattern in place well and cut the first side back.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 of Cutting the Center Backs to cut the second side back.

Cutting the Side Fronts

1. To cut the side fronts, align the hem edge on the side that will be attached to the side back with the same horizontal line of the plaid. This is easiest if you have the side back lying next to the pattern piece exactly matched to the plaid (photo 4). It may be easier to match the plaid at the point of the hem fold rather than at the lower cut edge.

Photo 4

2. Align the grainline line on the pattern precisely with a vertical line of the plaid.

3. You can double check your placement by placing the side back on top of the side front pattern as if you were going to sew the two pieces together. The plaid should be an exact match on the skirt portion of each piece (photo 5).

Photo 5

4. Pin the pattern in place well and cut the first side back.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 of Cutting the Center Backs to cut the second side back.

Cutting the Lower Front Skirt

1. To cut the lower front skirt, align the hem edge on the side that will be attached to the side front with the same horizontal line of the plaid. This is easiest if you have the side front lying next to the pattern piece exactly matched to the plaid.

2. Align the opposite hem edge to the same horizontal line of the plaid and align the center front precisely parallel to a vertical line.

3. Pin the pattern in place well and cut the lower front skirt.

Cutting the Sleeves

1. Align the front armhole edge of the sleeve pattern on the same plaid lines as the bottom of the armhole on the side front.

2. Pin the pattern in place well and cut one sleeve.

3. Flip the sleeve over and align the plaid just as with the other pieces. Cut the second sleeve.

4. Use both sleeves to cut the sleeve linings, aligning the plaids exactly.

Cutting the Sashes

1. Cut two rectangles 3” x 22” following the lines of the plaid. I didn’t try to match the plaid pattern with the sides. If you wish to do so, cut the sashes right before you need them.

Cutting the Neck Bias Facing

1. There is no need to match plaids with any other piece as this needs to be cut on the bias and it will not show when the finished garment is worn. It can also be cut from the white fabric if desired.

Janome Continental M17 Network Connection and Apps

During this Sew-Along, we will be using several apps in conjunction with our Janome Continental M17. To ensure that you are ready to use these apps, you will want to download them to your device, Android or iOS, and connect the apps and your Continental M17 to your WiFi network.

Simply follow these steps to connect your Continental M17 to your WiFi network. Note: these steps and more are available on pages 171-174 of the Ordinary Sewing/Sewing Application Instruction Book and pages 105-108 of the Embroidery Instruction Book, both of which can be downloaded from the Janome website.

1. Open the Settings menu by touching the Set mode key at the bottom of the main screen.

2. Touch the Wireless LAN mode key toward the top of the screen.

3. Touch the Network setting key to select your network. In my case, the machine automatically found the network and prompted me to select it and enter the password. If your network is set up differently than mine, you may need to follow further instructions found on the previously mentioned pages of the instruction books.

Download and install the following Janome apps on your chosen device/operating system. I also recommend that you open each app and connect it with your Continental M17 so that you are ready to go!

  • AcuAssist. We will use this app to select and load decorative stitches.
  • AcuSetter. We will use this app to accurately place our embroidery design without having to accurately hoop.
  • Embroidery Link. We will use this app to load our chosen embroidery designs and to monitor the embroidery process.
  • Screen Saver Tool. We will use this app as a fun way to customize our machines.

That’s all for Lesson 1! Join us next week for Lesson 2, where we will create the collar.

More About the Janome Continental M17

JANOME CONTINENTAL M17Janome is proud to introduce the Next Generation Combo machine, which combines the top features of their most decorated machines to maximize your creative potential. The largest sewing area in the industry is matched with the largest embroidery space. High-Definition Quilting, and the Fastest Sewing speeds, are just a few of the 100 reasons to love this new model. The 10″ high-definition color touch screen, plus ergonomically located line of sight screen, make stitch changes and embroidery easy and enjoyable. Introducing new features such as the Thumbwheel function means you can delicately control the needle position to finish those intricate sewing projects.

Over 1,200 built-in embroidery designs and the largest embroidery hoop in the industry at 30″ opens up a whole new world of design capabilities. Five included embroidery hoops to use with built-in programs from monogramming to sashiko and everything in between. Janome original features such as AcuFeed, QuiltBlockAdvisor, and Artistic Digitizer are included. Let the Continental M17 take you to the highest level of your creative abilities.

Janome Continental M17

Hi-Definition Quilting Features We Love
Introducing AcuStitch Regulator (A.S.R.), a Janome first! This new stitch regulation system comes standard with the Continental M17 and includes four feet. AcuFeed Flex plus Janome’s layered Fabric Feeding System has long been legendary in the sewing and quilting world, so it is no surprise that it is also included in the Continental M17. Professional Grade Needle plate, HP foot, and HP2 foot for precise topstitching and incredible ease of control & visibility are also standard on the Continental M17. All of these accessories are easily utilized on the seamless, uninterrupted, all-metal flatbed with 13.5 inches to the right of the needle, 5.51″ of height, and 3.15″ of space above the needle plate.

Check back next week to learn about more of the features we love on this machine!