Summerdress: final adjustments.

Joehoe, I’m back in the city near pins and sewing machine.

I’ve taken out a bit of the length in the back, at the (raised) waist seam. No more blousing effect there.
I’ve inserted small bustdarts at the armpit because there was loose fabric there. For this I had to loosen the lining including the understitching. This was ok and I felt easier loosening it in other places too.
That’s when I inserted some big darts in the front:

it now lays flat. I will pick apart the whole stitching at the top of the frontpanel, cut a nicer line, seam lining and fashion fabric together again and topstitch it again.

In the sides there had to be a little bit of additional shaping. It was a fingers’ width I needed on both sides and only at my waist, not at my ribcage. On one side seam I used the sewing machine. On the other side I used the zipper. I handstitched the fabric and used it to add shaping.
Untitled Untitled
normal people might think I was just cross eyed when keeping the fabric in place but actually it was a bright eyed decision… Whether it’s a good one we’ll see when I wear this dress.

You might remember that I proudly used French seams on the skirt. I have now faced the problem of inserting a zipper is placed in a french seam:

as I handstitched my way down the zipper I brought the two sides together, just below where the zip ends. I sewed it together, all four pieces (2 fashion fabric, 2 zipper tails)
I used what in knitting is called a mattress stitch.

Below that I sewed with my sewing machine, from the inside. I folded the two sides of the fashion fabric twice and stitched them together. The fraying ends are caught in the seam. It’s a Faux French Seam.
Where it transfers to the actual French seam I had nicked the fabric so it would open up and allow for folding the other way around.

in short: I fudged it untill it was secure.


  1. make the neck line in the front beautiful
  2. small additional adjustment at the side seam
  3. attach the lining to the dress around the midrif section
  4. hemming

all in all I can already tell you the fit is very good. It’s much better than in the previous post. When it’s all finished I’ll find someone to take pictures from me in my beautiful Summer Dress 🙂


PS what is the acceptable way of securing the loose threads from the sewing thread? 3 knots and weaving the end under doesn’t sound very ‘couture’ to me…

anybody knows? I’ve got lots of ends to secure, what with all the alterations.


Sewing the Dress: French Seams

The try-out of the French seams in cotton looked very good. Not too bulky.

So handy I did a try-out first because it took a bit of practice to figure out the relation between how wide the seam will be and where to sew.

The gap between the edge of the fabric and my green tape sewing guide is how wide the actual seam is going to be. I will have to cut the fabric even a little smaller than this gap, before folding it.

I started sewing the real fabric! As this is a batic fabric it took a lot of looking and flipping over to determine the right side from the wrong side. But I figured it out. And promptly sewed the left front panel to the right side of the center front panel…
not a darning tool in sight!

So I chose to sew the back panels first, get some more practice at French seams, while my husband picked up a darning tool as he was in the city anyway.

Sewed the first seam of the back panel. Pressed the seam to one side and cut the fabric close to the seam. Scary!
(what a blessing sharp scissors are!)

I then pressed it again and tried to make a neat fold to stitch along. Stitching, using the memory of how narrow the seam is supposed to be:

End result seen from the right side:
it’s a French seam!
I like it. I liked making it and I like the look of it. It’s very neat on the inside. No fraying! (I’m already thinking silk and chiffon and pongé)

I did make a beginners mistake: you see some fraying from the raw egde peeping through. I did not make the seam wide enough at that place or -more probable- I didn’t dare to cut the fabric away so close to the seam.

For the next seam I did not press the seam before cutting the fabric. I found it easier to sew the wrong sides together and then trim directly. Getting more courageous by the minute:
I folded the fabric over and used the darning tool that had by now arrived at my house to make a line in the fabric along it would fold easily:
you see the left side which has already had received a stern pressing with the tip. On the right the seam as is, straight after trimming.
It folded over beautifully, with a crisp fold. I did not use my iron, I just pressed with my fingers.

I took apart the two wrong sewed panels and attached the left one on the left side. For the width of the final seam on the other side of the front panel I laid the dress top close by to get an idea how broad I should make the seam.

you can see the holes that remain from the wrong stitching. It serves as a guide. The finished seam needs to be a little broader so the first stitching of the seam needs to be a little closer to the raw edge. Also: only at the very top needs this line to be so precise in order to match the lines of the bodice.

I stitched it by eye. Now front and back of the skirt are in possession of French seams!

(I forgot to take a final picture of the lining up of the lines -I’m not even sure they do!- I just cut the threads and went to have a sit down and blog about it. By now you have probably figured out that I’m working with brain fog many a day, what with all the silly mistakes I make and things I forget. You’d be correct. It is caused by Adrenal Fatigue and sleep depravation. It’s OK. I’m a stumble bumble bee but I get there eventually)

Sewing the Dress

today is Sewing the Dress day.
I just finished that other seam on the shoulder of the lining. I thínk it’s a flat fell seam.

Now I am online again to decide finally on the treatment of the seams of the skirt as that will not be lined.

Sewing is about attaching two pieces of fabric to each other. Well, that’s do-able. But somehow you have to make sure the raw sides of the fabric don’t fray or ravel. You have to enclose them. There are numerous ways of doing that…

When I have chosen the way I will enclose my fraying ends I will start with the skirt panels. I want the front panel to line up with the bustdarts so I will sew the skirt panels first (without the darts) and make sure some of the lines match. Then I will use the side seams and the placements of the darts to line perfectly.

ps. one of the wonders of seam treatment is that ironing pressing is a viable option. You press a part in place and you could be done! If you have a way of preventing raveling (by zig zagging along the edge or serging it or capturing it in bias band) you make the process into two steps:

  1. sew two pieces together
  2. prevent fraying

no folding necessary. Just press it into place and you’re done.

I don’t have a zig zag stitch on my machine, I don’t have a serger and I don’t have (the lust for) bias band. So I’ll have to do some folding I guess. Or use pinking shears

(I’m afraid to. This cannot work. Making little cuts in fabric cannot prevent fraying! It is against common sense)

(but they’re orange, that gives some confidence. If not cheer. Orange scissors wouldn’t lie!)


ooh, looky here a .pdf with seam treatments from medieval times. People back then had the seam problems: to fold or not to fold?

seams in history1

copyright by The New Varangian Guard Inc. (NVG Inc) of Australia, an historical re-enactment organisation. Excellent site and .pdf.


here’s a good tutorial on French seams on Craftsy.

would it be ‘wrong’ to use French seams on plain cotton fabric? I really like it and my vintage foot treadle machine would be good with it.

would it make it more difficult for me to line up the panels?

PS. 4

I should chose and get sewing instead of surfing!

ps 5.

some thoughts on using French seams from The Little Tailoress:

“Maybe to be on the safe side you could do a sample seam on a scrap of the fabric and just assess whether you think the seam is coming up particularly bulky.
Also- French seams are best avoided in particularly curved seams but the gentle curve of a skirt is fine.”

a try-out on a piece of scrap fabric, I could have thought of that myself!

there’s my reason to go to my sewing machine NOW 🙂

while there, treadling away, I’ll think about how curvy my seams are.