Practice Dress: the darts

I sewed together the center front and center back of the bodice. Stitch width 2 mm because it will not be permanent. Pressed the seam open but did not finish it properly. Because I expect to have to take it apart a few times to make adjustments.

I aligned this seam with the middle of the back/front panel of the skirt. (Put a dot with a pencil in the middle of the skirt panels for guidance.)

Here’s the inside of the back of the bodice, without its darts sews, lining up with the skirt. The skirt seams tell me where to sew the bodice darts exactly:


the difference between theory and reality:
a nice illustration in fabric of my learning curve: don’t draw the line where you want it, séw the line where you want it. I thought I was bound by the middle line of the dart having to follow the grain of the fabric. I now suspect this is not so.

The front gave me a chance to retry: lined up the fabric, took cues from the skirt where the bust dart seam had to end and sewed that line:


nice! The line up is good.

The width of the dart is a guess. From the muslin I know the bust dart needs to be 7 cm wide but because I added length I’m not sure at what point it should be 7 cm. Try and adjust for errors, I guess. I added length because experienced sewists saw my muslin and said: “if you are going to take in the empress waist you need to allow some extra length in the bodice because you are forcing it to reach further than it has to now.”

I sewed and pressed all darts. No, I pressed them, then I sewed them, then I pressed them some more. But not all the way to the pointy bit.
And it was pressing, not ironing. Tips I read: “make smaller stitches in the top of the dart, don’t press the top. steam rather than press. Start with folding and pressing the center line of the dart (but not the top point! it will pucker otherwise)
usually round darts are better.”

Tilly has a good tutorial for beginners

another good tutorial, this one has two vertical darts under the bust and great fabric choices. Two darts are a good idea when you are decreasing a lot of fabric. Like I am doing… well, maybe in the next practice dress.

I sewed the top to the skirt, put in the zipper.

I did not close the skirtdarts yet as I couldn’t asses their fit properly without the zipper. During fitting I found out about two skirt panels that should be identical which they are not. I must have made a mistake in sewing the seam allowance as the pieces were cut exactly alike. Because I finished all the seams on the skirt already I will not alter the panels. But it is something I brought back to the muslin and will concentrate on in the next dress.


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