Updated: Mar 24
Welcome to Week 3 of our Beach Daze MAL hosted in the Scheepjes International and Dutch Facebook groups! It seems a few of you in the groups are new to garments and I hope you are all enjoying seeing your projects come to life! I structured this MAL to show how to approach making garments in general, and to share information about how the stitching is engineered to provide shape and structure. My hope is that you can find use in what you learn here for all your garment making, and maybe customise your projects with a bit more confidence!
I will be sharing the journey (both ups and downs) of my Beach Daze Dress in MAXI Sugar Rush Dark Teal 401 that you can see above. Sometimes things don’t go to plan for you and me both, and I figure if I show you what I did to adapt then it might give you some ideas if you find yourself in a similar situation. I wanted more hip room than I ended up with and didn’t like how my neckline was working for me but finding the right solution wasn’t hard. It all turned out okay in the end!!
But before we get to that…
My blog is written in UK terms.
*The very first Beach Daze MAL Prep blog in the series showed all the versions of garment and how to choose your size and is here if you are just joining us now.
*The second Prep blog talked about how to swatch for gauge and a LOT about the influence of chains, and can be found here.
*The Week 1 blog to help you through the Back Piece is here.
*The Week 2 blog here goes through the Front Piece, JAYG Side Seam option for W/W Dress makers and making the Placket.
Now let’s talk Placket Insertion, Side Seams, Armhole Edging and Hemline Rounds!!
The key to inserting the Placket is making sure your st counts match before you work the seam (though there is a way to fudge it if you are a few sts out – see below). We edge the Bodice Neckline with 386 dc inserting the hook around the end-row posts (the vertical body of a tall st), then turn and work a return round of dc to reinforce and smooth the edge of the Bodice opening. After making ch1 to create a bit of space and change direction, we then edge the Placket Outer Neckline with 386 dc sts ready for the seam.
I made a little video to show you the slip stitch seam method. Yes, it is time consuming, and the stitches are small… but it creates a lovely parallel set of lines around the Placket and because the slip stitch seam is continuous, the tension is evenly spread around the Neckline. Be sure to insert hook only through the outer loops of the aligned dc sts so you don’t trap both loops of a dc somewhere and interrupt the parallel line effect.
Fudging the SS seam: if you are a couple of sts out between the two openings then just spread this fudging technique out around the total seam. The stitches are small, and you won’t be able to find where you fudged the stitch count in the finished seam (let alone anyone else noticing)!
Here is what to do:
In the video you can see the Placket is held at the front and the Bodice is held at the back.
If the Placket edging has more sts than the Bodice edging, then for every 1-stitch difference: insert hook into next st on Placket side at the front, and the same st you just worked into on the Bodice side at the back.
If the Bodice edging has more sts than the Placket edging, then for every 1-stitch difference: insert hook into the same st you just worked into on the Placket side at the front, and next st on Bodice side at the back.
You could whip-stitch the matching dc stitches around as an alternative, but every time you start and finish a sewing thread during the seam, you have ends to sew in and the tension is likely to vary around the join and therefore possibly sag in some places as the weight of the dress is hanging from this seam.
Side Seam Overview
The side seam technique described in the Pattern enables you to easily customise the depth of your Armhole. We start at the front left Hemline, edge all the way up the front left side across the Shoulder Seam and down the back left side to the Hemline again. Then match the front and back Hemlines together and seam with (1ss, ch3) in outer loops of each set of aligned dc sts up to wherever you want the seam to finish under your arm.
My Pattern describes a generous Armhole for the Tunic as it is designed as an oversized garment and the Supplement describes a smaller Armhole for the T-shirt and Dress as these are intended as more fitted garments – but you can try it on and easily customise the way you want it – it just changes the number of edging sts around the Armhole. No biggie.
The Side Edging and Seaming technique:
Here is a photo to show the edging technique on my MAXI Dark Teal Dress, working (1dc, ch3) per row end.
Side Seam SOS!! I don’t think the skirt part is going to fit me!?
What if you have just tried your Beach Daze Dress on and think it’s not going to have enough ease for your lower body? Maybe you crocheted tighter than you started out, maybe you haven’t been able to relax your chains to match the taller sts like we talked about in the Prep2 post, maybe you gained some weight during the project, maybe you just underestimated how much ease you wanted to feel around your bodice or what feels right around your bodice does not feel right around your hips.
Lots of maybes…. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself in a similar situation of wanting more hip-room and you are not making the W/W Dress, then there is a great solution (that does NOT involve frogging Front or Back Pieces) - and you can find it at the end of this blog post where I talk about my Dress in Dark Teal Maxi Sugar Rush.
Edging and Engineering the Armhole for Shape and Fit
At the end of the side seam, we continue up the RS of the front Armhole to work the final edging rounds here. W/W-JAYG Dress makers will join new yarn here instead and work around the same way.
The function of Edging Round 1 is to work dc sts in each ch-3 sp (in a similar way to how we edged the Neckline before seaming) and convert to a stitch count that is a multiple of 4 for the final round.
The Tunic Armholes have 4dc per ch-3 sp as we are going for generous draping sleeves that fall from the shoulder as an oversized effect so it’s a multiple of 4 already, but the T-shirt and Tunic have 3dc per ch-3 sp to cinch the Armhole in a bit and create a more fitted look, and the variable sts in the ch-sp at the Shoulder Seam is to convert st count to a multiple of 4.
Round 2 Edging for all garment versions is the same and does include frequent dc2tog sts. The reason for this is that the openings in a garment often get stretched with use when we push our arms through or whatever, so it’s good to firm them up a bit, and firm gauge for these stitches is useful to improve its defence against wear and tear when worn.
Here is a video to show the technique for Round 2 Armhole Edging, including how to work the picots which will also help you for the Hemline Rounds later on):
The Hemline Rounds are pretty self-explanatory. The rapid increase in st count will help the bottom of the garment flare out and this is true even for the T-shirt and Tunic that have straight sides and use the same size hook throughout. The rippled edge it creates adds texture, and also helps to soften the line made around your hips/waist if you are making the T-shirt.
The solid nature of the Hemline Rounds at the bottom of what is otherwise a fairly open lacey garment also helps to weigh it down, which in turn helps it to drape and not just cling to the body.
If you don’t want the rippled or splayed effect around the bottom of your tee though, just don’t work the increases and make a 3-ch picot after every 6th dtr in your final round.
The Ups & Downs of my Dark Teal Dress...
This is the dress I was making for me to actually wear. Often, I make samples and they are for display or that are lost to a magazine publishing house, but this one I could see myself wearing and I wanted to make it a bit glam. Maxi Sugar Rush has a light sheen with lustrous colour and is extremely hardwearing so it’s one of my favourite Scheepjes’ products, and I think it can be nudged into a glamorous look when layered with suitable fabrics and accessories. So, this was my plan and I was super excited about it!
I wasn’t sure I was going to get to finish my dress though because of a cat bite injury and serious infection I sustained to my left middle (crochet yarn tensioning) finger last year that put me in hospital a couple of times as the infection was very difficult to control. Serious bummer. Two surgeries and 5 months of oral antibiotics later I am grateful that things are now okay, but I was out of action for a large chunk of 2020, unable to exercise, work at my day-job or crochet. There was a lot of napping and feeling unwell and I eventually got better.
Anyway, all that inactivity and comfort eating catches up with you. My Whirlette/Whirl dress that you have already seen in the earlier blogs is a size Small so started this one as an XS. Maybe I had been dreaming or living in denial of my natural pear body-shape as well I don’t know. In any case, when my hand had improved sufficiently, I was able to finish the Front and Back Pieces, work the shoulder seams and try it on.
Sadly, it was not good.
My hip-skimming skirt section had turned out figure-hugging instead, and I would never feel comfortable wearing that!!
I considered the naughty corner and an aggressive frogging session, but after a few deep breaths I accepted this was just the way things were and finished the dress by adapting on the fly. The JAYG side seam technique was the perfect method to create the extra room found myself needing! SO… if you find yourself in a similar situation, then the answer is already in your Supplement on page 13, and the details of my fix is below.
Here is what I did:
I inserted a strip of another 8 Filet Units down each side from the lower Armhole level down to the Hemline using the JAYG technique to link in to the Front and Back Pieces, then edged the Armhole separately. This equates to extending a logical geometric pattern for 4 additional Filet Units from both the Front and Back Pieces so that it will blend in. You can see in the above photo my inserted side panel is symmetrical. I just made up the pattern of Blocks and Spaces to match the diagonal lines as they intersected the edges of the Front and Back Pieces – they actually became an inversion of the pattern across the rest of the garment, but it doesn’t matter – they just have to blend in…
This next photo shows how it looked at the sides soon after I started the inserted panel. I tried it on my mannequin to check that it was going visually blend ok and I was happy with it. The 8 extra Filet Units for the lower garment means that section of my dress ended up between a size Small and Medium.
If inserting a side panel is something you are going to do then here are some guidelines:
Instead of working the edging and side seams as described in the Pattern PDF, insert a panel of an even number of Filet Units worked top-down from the Lower Armhole to the Hemline, and use the JAYG technique described in the Supplement PDF page 13 to join to the Front and Back Pieces of the matching row-ends as you go.
The even number of Filet Units is necessary for symmetry, so it blends with the geometric pattern of both the Front and Back Pieces, but the pattern of Blocks and Spaces is something you need to make up yourself, based on the diagonal lines that intersect your size or customised Front and Back Piece edges. Drawing this out on graph paper first will be useful so you can visualise it properly before beginning.
To begin: with a starting lp on your hook,
work a standing dc to join at the level of your desired lower Armhole on Front Piece (match the RS/WS as appropriate to the row you are at),
ch[(no. of Filet Units in the inserted side panel x 3)-1] Example: (8 Filet Units x 3)-1 = 24-1 = 23 chain)
dc join to matching location of Back Piece, ch3 as height chain, dc join to next row end dtr of Back Piece (this dc, ch3 & dc replaces the first 4 ch at the beg of your inserted row), turn,
work back towards the Front Piece using the Block/Space pattern you sketched on your graph paper until you reach the last “bookend” st of the row,
work a dtr into the very beginning standing dc to last draw through so you still have 2 lps on your hook, insert hook in top of matching dtr of Front Piece, yoh, pull up a lp, yoh and draw through all 3 lps on hook to complete a dtr-dc-tog join, do not turn yet, ch3, dc join to next row end dtr of Front Piece, then turn and work remainder of subsequent row according to your personal Block/Space pattern.
You can now just read under the heading “TO CONTINUE” on page 13 of the Supplement and look at the Stitch Chart there to help guide the rest of your side panel insert.
This will work for every garment version except for the colour-matched gradients down each Piece of a W/W Dress! Don’t forget, I showed a video of this technique in last week’s blog so you can head back there now to watch it again.
Once I sorted my ease problem and tried the dress on again, I didn’t like my Neckline. It felt too closed-in for the rest of the dress, so I frogged back to the beginning of Inner Placket Neckline Edging Round 2 and reduced the number of decorative linked loops on my Placket from 6 to 3.
This is why I provided the option of 3,4,5 or 6 Placket loops in the Supplement on Page 14 – I think you just have to see what feels right to you when you try yours on.
I love this much better!! Particularly because it allowed the outer points of the sleeve caps to be pulled outwards on the shoulders to create a V-shape from the shoulders down to the under-bust which visually helps to balance out the skirt as its going to fall over my hips.
Finally, here is my Dark Teal dress finished and waiting to be blocked. I ended up super excited like I was in the beginning, but it was a bit of a bumpy road along the journey. Full reveal is next week when we talk about the finishing touches of sewing tails, blocking & styling!
Wool Warehouse (in the UK, ships worldwide including the US)
Caros Atelier (in The Netherlands)
...and fellow Perthites can source their yarn from my local Scheepjes Retailers
Leanne at Yarns For All
& Anna and Mike at Stitchcraft & Wizardry
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