July 2, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Wrap Dress Bodice Construction

In a woven wrap dress, I believe that the neckline could always benefit from being stayed and so before we get into construction, let's do this. You'll need stay tape - I prefer the SewKeys woven 1/2" for this job - or strips of fusible tricot interfacing cut at 1/2" - 1" widths. Fusible tricot is a knit like interfacing that is lightweight but adds some stability to the fashion fabric. Pull your wrap front bodice and the yoke pattern pieces out again. Along the neckline edges, cut strips of the stay tape that coincide with the neckline edges at the seam allowance. If needed, mark your seam allowances onto you pattern to aid in this.

Now apply the stay tape to each piece. Sometimes, many times, the neckline has already stretched out a bit, so pin the stay tape in place, easing the necklines into it and adhere the stay tape with the pins in place lightly with an iron. Remove the pins and press again and get any pin imprints out.

On the back neck, you may need to clip into the stay tape to make it curve enough, like I've done here.

Now for construction! You'll need to gather the front and back bodices where they attach to the yokes. So here's a tip for that: If you're working with a fabric that won't be blemished by a needle prick, it's useful to do the two lines of gathering where one line is on the outside of the seam allowance and one gathering line is on the inside. I do a gathering stitch (just a long stitch length on the machine with long tails and no back stitch) at 3/4" and at 3/8". I've found that you get more even gathering in the seam allowance this way. Pull the top or bottom threads and gather up the bit. You know how at the ends of each side of the gather, it gets flatter. To stop that from happening, you can pull the threads you didn't pull for each corresponding side. So if you pulled the top threads, pull the bottom ones to stay the ends.

Next, we'll make the pleats at the waistline for both the front and back bodice. I mark the pleat legs with snips into the cloth and then from there I bring the pleat legs together, pin and baste in place. The pleat intake should point toward the Center Front for the bodice fronts or Center Back for the bodice back, but honestly, if you did them backwards, I don't know that anyone would ever know. Press or steam the pleats in place.

Stitch the yoke front to the yoke back. Those front yoke pieces are really easy to get backwards and upside down, so make sure that you are matching up the notches. There is one notch toward the tip of the shoulder to match with the back yoke. Finish the seams and press. If you used a plaid and took advantage of my tip on cutting the yoke as one piece instead of two, you can skip this step.

Attach the yoke fronts to the bodice fronts and the yoke back to the bodice back. Finish all these seams and press in place. The yoke to bodice seams should be pressed upward toward the yoke. If desired, you can topstitch the yokes in place (and the shoulder seam too, if desired). To topstitch, I enjoy the use of my machine feet for this task. I have a 1/4" foot that has an arm guide for the seamline and you stitch 1/4" away on the topside of the garment. You can choose from a plethora of topstitching threads (contrasting or heavier thread) or just go with what you have in the machine.

Before stitching the side seams, I find that it's easier to work the neckline in the flat. Take your facing pieces and attach them to the bodice neckline. This may still require some easing. When stitching, have the facing side up in the bed of the sewing machine so that the bodice neckline will ease into the facing. Feed dogs help in this matter.

Trim the facing seam allowance down to half its width. If necessary, at the back neck, clip into the curves of all the seam allowances. Understitch the seam allowances to the facing. I use my edgestitching for this job because it's so much easier.

Press the facing to the inside of the garment. If desired, stitch the facings in place. I like this myself, because I think it looks like a deep hem. I pin the facing in place all around the neckline, then use my edgestitching foot to stitch in place from the inside of the garment. You can also stitch only the back neck facing in place to the shoulder or stitch the facing to the shoulders by stitching in the ditch of the shoulder seams.

Stitch the right side seam (as worn on the body), seam finish and press. The left side seam has the zipper opening (you can switch this if you prefer). I apply a stay tape or some 1" strips of fusible knit tricot interfacing to the zipper opening and then I like to seam finish the seam allowances, stitch the seam allowance to the top of the zipper opening and press the seam opening above the zipper opening. I'll be showing how to do an invisible zipper and a lapped zipper application in later posts.

If you are working with a plaid, make sure that you are matching the plaids as you stitch the side seams in place. I place a pin at each major plaid and then stitch right up to the pin before taking it out.

Place the bodice fronts over each other - right over left is traditional - matching the notches and baste in place. The wrap dress bodice is now ready for sleeves and a skirt!

For more 2-in-1 Sew-Along posts, click here!

SHARE:

21 comments

  1. Thanks for this, and for all your helpful sewalong posts. I'm not following the sewalong, but I'm sure I'll be back to check these out in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Theresa in TucsonJuly 2, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    And leftovers bits and pieces of fsible tricot interfacing work in a pinch when you have run out of stay tape. Thanks for the reminder. I'm getting ready for a small project where it will come in handy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is there a difference between hem tape and stay tape?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Such a timely post! Just yesterday I was cursing the only type of stay tape that's available in my area--it's a silly piece of plastic that gets chewed up and eaten by my sewing machine every time! Why oh why do they bother to sell it? I can't imagine a scenario where it actually works as advertised. But, enough ranting-- I'll definitely have to invest in some of the better grades you're offering in your store. Thanks for helping to solve such a frustrating problem!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I used to be against stay tape too until I made a garment (sans stay tape) and it stretched out like crazy! Thanks for the recommendation on stay tapes!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't mind sewing tape - so I just save selvedges. Then I can get my 'stay tape' in a range of colours, not just black and white, and you use a bit of your fabric that you'd otherwise throw out :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm curious what I would do if an edge of the stay tape doesn't get completely enclosed in an inseam or binding. Would I trim the tape to a smaller width or just leave some exposed?
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
  8. I clicked on the links. The description says there are 3 different colors (black, white, natural) but the drop down only lets me have white. Is that a glitch in the system and you do have the others, or are you out and will have them in soon? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've never used stay tape, but it does seem pretty magical now that I see it in action. I'll definitely have it check it out, especially the next time I use knits.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry - its all sold out! Gack! It goes fast sometimes. I'll be getting more in soon, don't worry!

    ReplyDelete
  11. An awesome idea! Thanks for the tip.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would just leave it exposed. I mean, its on the inside and really no one is going to notice but you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes, I believe so. Hem tape is usually a bit heavier and thicker than stay tape. Usually stay tape is extremely thin/fine so it's really unnoticeable in seams. Seriously, magic.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh yes! I've used this too. I love fusible tricot! A most favorite interfacing of mine!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Truly, most sewing notions were developed to solve real problems. There is no shame in resorting to commercial seam tape, hem tape, interfacing, etc. Yes, you can make do without them -- people did for thousands of years -- but why not make life easier on yourself when you can?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'll be honest--I never really understood the point of stay tape. But now that I see it in action here, I can think of some failed projects that could have benefited from this type of treatment. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm sorry, I'm really a newbie to sewing but I really don't know what you mean by 'stretched out seams'

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think maybe once you start delving into fabrics that are more drapey, you'll definitely know what I mean. Also, seams that are cut on the bias, like the wrap dress front, can stretch out in any sort of fabric. When a seam has stretched and you simply sew up a garment with the seam still stretched, it will leave a rippled-like and gaping mess. This is especially true of curved necklines.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love this tape too - which is good because I recently bought 30 mts! Just be careful placing the iron directly onto it. Better to use an ironing cloth and more heat to ensure that seal is enduring.

    ReplyDelete
  20. A++ for usage of "malarkey"!!! I love that word! And I'm psyched that you're carrying this now, as once my Vilene Pellon bias tape is used up, I know where to get something just as fab :) It wasn't until I found that stuff that I became a believer in stay tape, too.

    ReplyDelete

© A Fashionable Stitch. All rights reserved.
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig