This week we put it all together.
- Trim to Bodice
- Pocket to Skirt
- Skirt to Bodice
- Zipper and Hem
- My project
This is the fun part we’ve all been waiting for! Don’t you love that moment when it all comes together and it’s as beautiful as you imagined it to be!?!
First, I will go over the assembly process, and at the end I include my personal fittings and adjustments.
Assemble the bodice
Being on the bias, this trim could give you a bit of trouble. The main thing is to handle it carefully, press and pin then baste it an accurate distance from the fold, then measure and compare again. The one area that may need to be patted, eased, and coxed into place is that long waist band (trim) and tie on the right side.
Before we worry over the part that might give us trouble, let’s conquer the easy stuff first. In this first video I show you how I put the trim on my bodice:
With my trim sewn into place, this photo shows you the stitching from each segment of the bodice- the front and the side front- and how they match up to each other- no overlapping.
With the trim on, it’s time to pin the lining to the bodice. Sew over the top of your stay stitching (sew with the front towards you), but getting those corners perfect is the trick.
I’ve marked the corner for you so you can see how I didn’t quite catch that trim or square off that neckline just right in this first run through.
This is what the neckline corner should look like. Once the neckline is perfect it’s time to trim the seam allowance and clip the corners.
For the neck to turn properly it must be clipped all the way to the stitching. Your understitching will help hold your fabric fibers, but just a tiny drop of Dritz Fray Check on the inside edge of that cut will be enough to hold it.
I use my ironing board to press the lining and bodice toward the outside and pin that sleeve edge to finish that armhole.
Turn that edge under and stitch close to the fold, stretching the fabric to fit around that curve at the under arm. It won’t reach to the end, but it doesn’t need to.
Sew the side seams and you are ready to add the trim to the drop waist. Here is what mine looks like.
Assemble the skirt
We all love pockets in our clothes so I made a downloadable pocket pattern to go with this skirt just in case you’d like to add this handy detail. If so, do this before you do anything else (besides stay stitch). Get the pattern and tutorial on my blog here:
Sewing a zipper
If you haven’t already done so, pin your tie ends out of the way and sew the bodice and skirt together sewing over the first bodice basting stitches (remember following your chalk line?). Check the seam to make sure your trim distance is still right on. Remove any basting that may show. Press the trim toward the skirt.
Make sure your side seams are the same length and that the horizontal seams and trim match up to each other. Baste your opening closed. In this video I go over the details of installing the zipper.
One additional note about that final top stitching step: I’m letting my zipper foot guide me, but if you are worried about wobbly top stitching, use your chalk and a ruler to create a guide line at about 3/8” beyond the foldline to follow (make sure your line misses the zipper teeth). You notice that I often stop and adjust the fabric to keep it from rippling under my foot. A walking foot combined with a guiding chalk line works wonderfully at keeping your fabric flat, and your stitches straight while sewing all those layers.
Hem your dress
First watch this video segment on marking your hem then follow up with the clarification below the link:
I do stumble over my words. The point I didn’t make is that a hem is marked from the floor. Decide how long you want your skirt and then measure that distance from the floor. It can’t be any longer than the shortest measurements of your skirt- which will be with the grain (length and cross grain) so start there. Rather than using a dress form like I am, it’s better to grab a friend or neighbor and mark your hem while you are wearing the dress, and not just the dress, but with your shoes and include a petticoat if you’ll be wearing one. If you don’t have a hemmer, use a yard stick. All circle skirts must be marked while upright. There is no other way to get it right!
Sewing my pattern
With my bodice neckline trim in place and my shoulder seams sewn, I pinned the side seams to do an initial fitting with my actual bodice. It fits well, but that bust point doesn’t line up with mine, and is a little too pointy for my liking.
I lengthened and reshapes that dart to create a bit of an “S” curve for a nice transition from flat fabric to darted/shaped fabric. It’s a tiny bit of stitching that makes a big difference.
My final bodice fitting confirms that dart length and shaping is perfect.
This dress is as cute as I hoped it would be and I’m looking forward to getting the jacket done next week. The short bolero style keeps your arms warm on chilly days, and I love that matching “put together” look too, but the best thing about a bolero is that it broadens the shoulders and bustline making the waist look smaller. It’s a great illusion, so don’t stop here. Make a jacket and this dress is ready for year ‘round fashion!