Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sew along, day 10: Start sewing!

Today is the first real sewing day! We'll sew all the bodice darts and sew the front and back pieces together (for both the dress and the lining). If your alterations included skirt darts like mine, then you'll sew these as well.

You should have marked darts on each bodice piece. Keep in mind that I'm doing a side zipper, so I have a front piece and a single back piece for both the dress and lining. Fold along the center of each dart, "right" sides together. Match up the dart lines you drew with your fabric marker. Pin along them, with the pins perpendicular to your lines.
Bodice lining front--folded along the dart centers
Starting at the wide end of the dart (the bottom of the triangle, not the pointy top), sew your straight line. Backtack only at the beginning of the line, then sew straight along the fold and off the fabric at the end. Tie the loose ends by hand. This will prevent your dart from having a pointy end on the "right" side. I didn't take a picture of this step... I don't know what came over me!

Then, you'll have to press the darts toward the middle. I do this by first ironing over the stitching, then pressing the darts outward (toward the sides), then pressing them to the middle. Doing the first press in the opposite direction will make them lie flatter. Finally, flip the fabric to the "right" side and iron over the dart crease.

First press the darts toward the sides. I didn't take a picture of the
pinning step, but here are the sewed darts on the same part--
see the text below for details of how to sew the darts
Then press toward the middle
The "right" side of the fabric, darts pressed nicely
I've demonstrated here with the front darts, but you'll do the back darts the same way.

After you sew all the darts, you'll sew together one side of the bodice lining front to the lining back, and one side of the bodice dress front to the dress back. You have to choose which side carefully! You want the zipper to be on the left side. Keep in mind that the "right" side of the lining will face you (if you tried on just the lining, it would appear inside out). Pin the right side seam together, "right" sides of your fabric facing (I'm using the word right here to mean two things--"right" as in the opposite of "wrong," and right as in the opposite of left). If you're confused, open it up and hold it up to yourself before you try it on to make sure you pinned correctly. Sew that seam (it's just a straight line). It looks like opposite seams of the lining and bodice are sewn, but that's just because you open one to be right side out and not the other.

Side seams are sewn together--it looks like opposite seams

Finally, press open the seams you just made, as shown below.
Side seam of the lining pressed open
Side seam of the lining, after pressing, from the "right" side
That's all for today! Tomorrow, we'll do the ruffle!


  1. If we are doing the zipper in the back, we should sew both sides of the bodice back to the front, right?