Wow – December is already here! I hope, if you celebrate the holiday, that you are finding peace and serenity during what can be a very intense time of year! I know it can be difficult to sew for yourself this time of year. If you are joining me here to make yourself a holiday dress, a daywear dress, or just something special – good for you!
If you are here to make the dress as a gift – good for you, too! The sample dress I’m showing here, is going to be pressed and off to a friend just before Hanukkah. I hope she likes it!
So – who’s pumped to get started?
So, in our last post we talked about our supplies. Today, we’ll be preparing our bodice, including interfacing and darts, readying our button loop, and constructing our pocket. Remember, this is a fully-lined version with free-hanging pockets (not topstitched) so our steps will be different than the pattern. If you find any tutorials that demonstrate the pattern instructons or are helpful in any way, please feel free to comment or email as I’d love to link to them.
One more note. For this sew-along, I have not discussed layout and cutting as I usually do – but if you have any questions or issues, or if you are new, please please don’t hesitate to let me know!
So first – it’s time to interface! I like interfacing along the front edge of the front bodice. I just used the front facing pattern piece, and interfaced along that front bodice edge:
I also interfaced the entirety of the back upper bodice pieces. In my case, with this stable linen, I didn’t need to interface anywhere else. You may want to interface the cuff fold of the sleeve or even the hem, if you want a crisper edge (or are going to pad these hems). But in this case, I knew the linen hem would be just fine without interfacing.
So now – a cute little break. We get to make our button loop! I have a method for button loops – same as spaghetti straps. For an elegant, slender and strong loop.
I cut a piece on the true bias (from my scraps after cutting the main pattern), at 1 1/4″ wide. I make it extra long so I’m not fiddling around with a too-short piece. I fold the piece lengthwise, and start sewing. Below, here is my piece just before I centered my needle and started sewing, using the right foot edge at the raw edges. This results in a 1/4″ wide strap, with a similarly sized seam allowance. I stretch gently while I sew.
I then trim down close to that edge. Since you cut on the bias, the strap won’t unravel:
Now – time to turn right-side out! I have loop turners, but I favor the bobby-pin method. Plus I always have bobby pins in my hair that I can whip out to use!
Next – and this part is important – take the strap to the ironing board. Stretch it out as far as you can – and pin it down, making sure the seam runs along one side. Then steam, steam, steam. Walk away and let it cool entirely.
When you come back to it, you will have a slender and strong little belt loop:
Now fold to that (interfaced) top raw edge of the upper back yoke, and stitch 1/8″ into the seam allowance from the stitching line.
Time for darts! On linen, darts are so easy simply fold the notches together and pinch the dart terminus. You can then pin and draw a line (with washable marker or chalk), then stitch. Now for darts this simple in a crisp fabric like this, I usually don’t even mark that line. But if your darts are very deep or if you are new, you may want to baste the dart before sewing and/or mark the sewing line.
I sew into the dart from the raw edge in a smooth straight line, and leave long tails to knot:
Shown below: I repeated the same process for the lining. Then, I sewed a zig-zag stitch 1/16″ from the dart stitching line, so I could trim out the bulk in this dart. You don’t have to trim your darts down, but since my lining is on the heavy side I thought I would:
Shown below: after drimming and knotting both these lining dart stitching lines:
Now – let’s make up our pockets! At first, I found the pockets confusing. Then I realized the facing (cut from my shell fabric) would first be affixed to the smaller pocket semi-circle. This pieced pocket piece would serve as the pocket piece that would show if you were standing in front of me, and pulled the pocket out a bit. That way if the pocket gapes while sitting, you are seeing the shell fabric inside.
So let’s affix our facing! When sewing a stable fabric to a slippery one, I pin the stable fabric on top, so the machine’s feed dogs can ease in the slippery fabric while sewing:
I then pressed this seam toward the linen:
Next, I like to topstitch this fold. This is not necessary, but I find it helps the pocket behave better.
Now we can install the pocket to the dress! There are a billion ways to do this – and here’s a really, really great tutorial if you are not lining the dress and you want a good-looking pocket. In fact, it’s a good tutorial to practice even IF you’re lining your dress, because some day you might want a legit pocket in an unlined garment.
But since I’m lining and I’m feeling lazy, I simply pin all four pocket pieces, right-sides-together, to my dress shell:
Here’s the pocket pinned, right before I sew, and flipped open (for some reason). (The satin looks a little bunchy, but that’s because I haven’t yet pressed it after my last seam. Pressing will straighten it out!)
Go ahead and join all four pocket pieces.
We’ll be putting together our shoulder seams and side seams in our next entry!
Great work! Now make a cup of tea and enjoy a little downtime! You’ve earned it!
Make sure to comment or email me if you have any questions!