Friday, March 22, 2013

Swimming With The Fishes...A Hem

As you can see from the title of the post, this is not a Fabulous Free Pattern Friday piece. I'm putting this week's post on hold until next week in order to do a short tutorial for Miss Pdiddy of  http://psewing.blogspot.com/ If you are following her blog, you know that she is feverishly working on her wedding gown as well as a number of gowns for her wedding party. This morning I received an email from her asking for a little help with a fishtail hem. This is a wonderful hem to add to any long gown. One thing I learned from working on gowns, well two things actually.....well, come to think of it, there was a LOT I learned but that is beside the point at the moment. I could entertain you for days with wedding stories. Anyway, back to the point, a woman's back is beautiful, but the back of the legs, well they really shouldn't be shown. If my bride wanted a straight dress and no train, I would still do a fishtail hem. This allows her to walk freely, as well as dance freely and the hem looks so pretty and graceful from the back and the added bonus is that the back of the leg is covered. By the way, this is beautiful on the back of a prom gown or any evening gown for that matter.
Below is a skirt I made for myself. I did not press if before I took the pictures. You can see that is is basically just a straight skirt with a sweep in the center back.
In order to hold out the fishtail, or sweep, I added a number of rows of ruffles.. The first row of ruffles goes all the way around the skirt. The second row stops at approximately the side seam. The next stops a little shorter and so on with the following rows. If you look closely, you can see that I just ripped each strip for the ruffles and did not finish the edges as I wanted a frayed look to the edge.
This organza layer was attached to the lining, so it is not the full length of the skirt. You can also see that the lining is the straight skirt with a slit in the back. I did not add the fishtail to the lining.
A thread chain holds the organza layer to the skirt.
 Drafting the fishtail is quite easy. Begin with the back skirt piece of your pattern.
I like to start the fishtail just below the bottom of the hips. The tail swings out as you see below. Please do a muslin to see if you would like a fuller sweep. But, this is really all there is to it. 
If you would still like a straight skirt, but more of a train affect, begin at the side seam of the back skirt and taper down as you see below to achieve the desired length of the train. This can be bustled once the ceremony is over.
I hope this helps Miss Pdiddly!    

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  1. Thanks for posting about the beautiful fishtail hem -- so elegant. I need a reason to make one!

  2. Rhonda you are so good at drafting. Would you like to do collars at some stage? I love all your sleeve drafts as well. I have created a folder called RHONDA in which I keep all your so well explained drafts!!!! Thankyou so much for blog, I really ejoy it and look forward to it every day.
    Cathy White ( New Zealand)

    1. Hi Cathy, what a lovely message to receive! You have made my day:) Well, your wish is my command!! Actually, I am going to do a series of posts for the Sew News blog on collars. They want me to do a series on dart manipulation and another series on collars. I just found this out this past week. You're the first to know!! This will not start until May, but I will let everyone know on my blog when the posts are up on the Sew News blog. Exciting, isn't it?!!

    2. Hi Rhonda.
      That is very exciting news. I feel privileged to be the first to know!!!! May is not far away. Time seems to be going faster these days... maybe the world is spinning faster....haha. Thankyou for your reply.

  3. That's an interesting effect. I used horsehair stiffening on my fishtail ballgown skirt to achieve a good shape front and back.

  4. That is such a beautiful and elegant hem treatment!
    I'm filing the idea away for future reference :-)

  5. That is beautiful. I wish I had seen this before we did my daughter's wedding dress. It would have been perfect. I will keep it in my sewing ideas for the future, though. Thanks.

  6. Rhonda, My grandmother, your great grandmother, Bama Dill Brown, could look at a picture, cut out the pattern and make whatever Mary D. and I wanted. You must have gotten all of her talent since Mary D and I didn't at all. I am soooo impressed. I'm trying to figure how to vote for you. Maybe someday I will meet Geraldine's family. LOL

    1. Hi Annie B. what a lovely surprise! I had no idea that Bama was such an incredible seamstress. I guess the branch doesn't fall too far from the tree!! Thanks so much for your note and a big thank you for the vote too. I need all I can get:)