Saltspring Sew-Along #1: Let’s Kick It Off!

saltspring sew-alongHi lovelies and welcome to the Saltspring Sew-Along! In this first post I am going to round up some resources and give you some tips to help you to organize yourself to begin sewing. You can click the link above to view all of the previous Saltspring Sew-Along posts, in case you need to catch up!

Let’s jump into this thing and talk about preparation. In my opinion, a good prep makes for a much more enjoyable sewing experience.

By now we have our patterns. We’ll use the body measurement chart on the back to decide which size to cut. Tasia wrote a great post for the Pendrell Sew-Along on choosing your size, here is a link, the same principles apply here! If you are looking for the metric version of the envelope back, you can download it here.


choosing your size

If you decide to, you can make yourself a muslin to make sure the size and fit work for you, and make the adjustments necessary. This dress has a really comfortable fit, so you may not need to adjust at all! For example, you might find that your bust and waist measurement match the size 8, but your hips are more of a size 4 or 6. That’s no big deal! Because of the loose and flowy design of the skirt, you can just cut a size 8, and you’ll have a bit more room in the skirt. Or, if your waist is a bit smaller or wider than the measurements, then you can adjust the elastic accordingly so that the waist fits you perfectly.

How about the bust? Sewaholic patterns are designed for a B cup. I’m a C cup and the dress fits me great! I will be walking you through some tips for FBA (full bust adjustments) tomorrow, so if you are concerned about that, then stay tuned.

Depending on your height, you may also want to lengthen or shorten the pattern. We provide you with “lengthen and shorten” lines, so you know where to add the extra length, or where to remove if needed. You can decide this once you make your muslin, or you can refer to the lengths provided on the pattern envelope, under “finished measurements”. Sewaholic patterns are designed with a 5’4” height in mind. If it looks like your dress may end up too short, then add a bit of length! You can always shorten a bit at the hem later on if needed.

Next, fabric! My fabric is a gorgeous rayon satin print from Télio. I always pre-wash my fabric before diving into my projects, I can’t stress enough how important this is! Especially when you’re working with natural fibers like cotton or viscose/rayon, which tend to shrink in the wash. Once I wash my fabric, I’ll allow it to dry, and press it out.


Now we’re going to cut our fabric! I like to refer to the cutting layout provided in the pattern instructions, they’re great general guidelines when you’re laying out your pieces. But remember not all fabrics are either 44/45” wide, or 59/60” wide. Sometimes you might find that you figure out a better layout to make the most of your fabric. If so, go for it! Some overall tips and tricks for cutting can be found here.


I’m going to line my bodice in royal blue viscose batiste so that the two layers are distinctly different, it will be easy and clear to follow along during the sew-along this way!


Let’s gather our other necessary materials: elastic, zipper, thread. At this point I like to test out my machine with the fabric, needle, and thread combination that I selected. Here I went with a 70/10 size universal needle. I do some test swatches with a straight stitch on my machine, and with the overlock (serger), which is how I am choosing to finish my seam allowances for this project. You could also finish your seam allowances by pinking, zig zag stitching, or overcasting.


So now we have our fabric cut out, our machines threaded and ready to go, and our elastic and zipper close at hand. On Thursday we will start preparing and sewing the bodice!

Have you purchased your fabric and begun your preparation? Let us know in the comments!

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23 Responses to Saltspring Sew-Along #1: Let’s Kick It Off!

  1. Marie Lussier August 12, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    Ready to go,but still waiting for my pattern. Ordered it 2 Thursday ago. Hope it he mail lady deliveries it today. Fabric is washed and ironed

  2. Emily August 12, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    I was wondering would a lightweight cotton work for the Saltspring dress?

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Hi Emily, a lightweight cotton could definitely work! If your cotton is a bit see-through, you may want to underline your skirt pieces.

  3. Amanda August 12, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    I still have to go “shopping” in my stash for some fabric! I’m planning on making a wearable muslin for my first version, then may splurge on some pretty Liberty tana lawn for my second go ’round. :) I’m getting excited!!

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Oooh I’ve been dreaming of a Saltspring in Liberty tana lawn too! Thanks for joining us Amanda :)

  4. Chrystal McKay August 12, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Hey! I have a question – can you buy Telio fabrics online or must you go in and purchase it? Also – online it says by appointment only for trading hours? So excited for this sew along!

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Hi Chrystal! Telio sells to the trade only (designers, retailers, manufacturers). But retail stores all over North America carry Telio fabrics. You can email generalinfo[at]telio[dot]com, let them know your location, and someone will be able to help you find a retail store near you or online shop that carries the fabric you are interested in. Thanks for your interest!

  5. Jenny August 12, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I’ve got all my notions and I have between two and three fabrics in mind (I’m making more than one). All fabrics and washed and ready. I’m not sure which one will be my “wearable muslin” but I can’t wait to get started tonight!

  6. nothy August 12, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    I have my pattern and my fabric and notions. I am going to trace this pattern and figure out a fit with Swedish Tracing Paper because the finished sizes vary widely between the hip and bust measurements for me. I should be ready for Thursday.
    I have a very thin poly-rayon blend so I bought double the fabric amount (it was on sale) because I have to line the skirt as well.
    Also, I would love some hints on changing the straps on this dress.

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Hi Nothy! You’re in luck. We’ll be covering several strap variation ideas on Friday, and I’ll share tips for lining the skirt later on in the sew-along. Thanks for joining!

  7. patsijean August 12, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    I have my pattern and will shop my stash. My question is: Is there a way to widen the ties/straps in order to cover my bra straps. At the age of 68, I am past the no bra stage.

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      Definitely! I’ll cover some alternative strap ideas on Friday, including a thicker strap. Thanks for participating!

  8. dena August 12, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    I’m with Patsi Jean as to the question of wider straps! :)

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      Yes, we’ll be covering a wider strap option on Friday. :) Thanks Dena!

  9. meganleiann August 12, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I am so excited! Fabric is washed and ready. I ordered my pattern late so I might be a few days behind, but I’m with you!

  10. Linda August 12, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Does the lining fabric ever peek out under the drape at center back when wearing the dress? Since the public side of my fabric is much prettier than the “wrong” side….is it worthwhile to have the public side of the lining to the wrong side of the bodice? Or is the drape significant enough to hide center back and not be an issue? I am using a beautiful lightweight cotton lycra knit for our sew along..

    • Caroline Amanda August 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      Hi Linda! The drape of the top layer should hide the lining almost completely. because the top later is looser, the lining may peek out a tiny bit when you move around, but it shouldn’t be very noticeable at all. :) Hope this helps! thanks for joining the sew-along!

      • Linda August 13, 2013 at 6:39 am #

        Thanks, Caroline….and my inside will be just as pretty as the outside.

  11. Michelle August 13, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    Pattern re-traced (I didnt want to cut into the tissue paper on my first sewaholic pattern :) fabric washed. Still need to get my notions and cut my fabric. Getting excited! Thanks for hosting.

  12. Christina R. August 13, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    I purchased cotton lawn for dress and lining, just waiting on lining fabric to arrive. Thanks and look forward to the sew along!

  13. Marissa August 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I’d love to participate in your next sew-a-long! How do I get involved?


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