There are a few things you'll want to clean up by hand at this point before hemming (and therefore finishing) your new dress. There's a very good reason I put these steps BEFORE the hem: if I save them for last, I end up getting impatient and never doing all this stuff, and then the dress doesn't hold up as well in the future. So do this now so you could in theory wear your dress as soon as it's hemmed!
1) Hand sew the seam below the bottom of the zipper to connect to your machine sewing, and stitch across the bottom of the zipper to lock it in. I also hand stitch just a few stitches down the side of each zipper to help lock the thread in.
|Hand sewing to connect the bottom of the zipper to the seam|
|Sewing over the bottom of the zipper (I had already trimmed|
off the excess zipper here)--see my stitches over top of the
|Finished zipper from the outside|
2) Tack down the ruffle. I made the mistake of not doing this on my first coffee date dress, and the ruffle kept blowing up in my face! About a half inch above the bottom of the ruffle, stitch the underside of the ruffle (only the underside so the stitch doesn't show) down to the ruffle below it. You just need to make a few stitches here to tack it down. It shouldn't be visible, but it will prevent the ruffle from blowing up. I did this at four places:
|Tacked down ruffle|
|The places I tacked down mine|
|Another view of my tacking|
3) Hand sew your lining opening to the zipper. When you're finished, you should barely be able to tell there is a zipper from the inside, either. I use a blind stitch to do this so it's not visible, but if you're not comfortable doing that, you can do it however you want. Just make sure not to stitch right up to the zipper teeth or else the zipper won't go up and down (it will get stuck on the thread).4) Depending on the fabric, you may want to tack the lining to the outer dress at the seams that connect the bodice to the skirt. This will prevent the lining from shifting. I would just make a few stitches within the seam allowance (on the inside, not too tight) at the base of each dart in front and at a similar location on the back. I did not feel that it was necessary to do this step on my dress.
|This is what I did before when I took out the baste|
stitching and sewed down the raw edge--I'm now going
to sew this down to the zipper tape
|From the other side|
|Hand sewing the lining to the zipper, using a blind stitch|
|Zipped up zipper, from the inside of the dress|
I'll give you two days to do all this hand sewing, and then on Sunday, I'll post the final steps (hemming the dress)!