Hello stitchers! It’s time to get back to our wonderful HP shift dress!
In our first post we talked about our supplies. Then we prepared our bodice, including interfacing and darts, our button loop, and our pocket tabs.
Now, since this sew-along is vastly different than the instructions (given it is a fully lined version and we are doing pockets a little differently), I am going to give you a heads-up on the process. Not everyone likes to sew without knowing where we’re going!
We will basically be making a dress, sans sleeves, out of both the lining and the shell. We will attach at the neckline for a clean finish. Then we’ll affix sleeves and lining together at the hem, and sew sleeves to the shell. Next, we’ll insert the sleeve lining to the bodice. Then hem both the lining and the shell, and install thread chains to secure the hanging lining.
Before proceeding, now is a good time to talk about your lining length. For the lining pieces, I simply subtracted 1″ from the hem foldline. I know I’ll also lose another 5/16″ when I double-roll my hem, for the satin.
Now, you can easily trim off lining length later on in the process – even as your penultimate step in making the dress. But some people like to mark their lining and even cut the lining to the hem length early in the process. (Please note, too, that many dresses require you hang the dress before cutting and hemming it – not so much, for a shift dress in stable fabric, that is cut on grain.)
OK – now that that’s out of the way, let’s join our bodices! We’ll be focussing on a clean, gorgeous neckline.
Go ahead and steam-press these open.
Now, we are going to pin and stitch around the entire neckline – from the bottom raw edge of the short edges at center back. If you want to understitch this neckline (skip down to where I discuss and link) then you’ll want to only stitch the curved edges before the short edges, or else understitch less than the full neckline length.
Again, I like to pin and stitch such that my slippery/unwieldy lining is against the bed of the machine, and the linen is facing up:
Make sure as you stitch around the shoulder, that the seam lines are pressed flat, and the seams line up at the neck edge:
Now, it’s time to trim and grade the seams. The curves around the shoulder are pretty tight, so you’ll want to pink or notch there. After you’ve trimmed and graded, go ahead and set the seam with steam before proceeding.
Shown below is the pressed-out back closures (after being affixed to the back bodice, but for now you can ignore that seam):
Using a tailor’s ham and presscloth (to keep the shell from getting a shine), patiently press this neckline. The lining will be anchored at the sleeve, which (along with a good press here) will keep the neckline from turning out. And while I’m not afraid to understitch, I like to leave it without if possible because the effect is so gorgeous. But if you think understitching would help, you can understitch by machine or hand prick/pick-stitch before turning and pressing.
And – that’s it for today! We get to install our sleeves in our next entry and stitch our side seams.
Any questions or difficulties? Make sure to comment or email me and I’m happy to help!