Summer Dress: altering the neckline

I raised the neckline without tapering it down and now the dress stood agape at my front. So I inserted two darts. They are pretty long but it’s what my fitting told me:
When I was satisfied with them I inserted them into the lining as well. Now I had to remake the neckline into a coherent line and restitch the lining to the fashion fabric and finish it with understitching.

Stitching lining and fabric together, securing the darts and creating a new fluent neckline:
Trim the bits and nick the fabric before turning it over:

turn dress so that I can redo the top stitching: stitch very close to the existing seam securing together the lining and the seam allowance of both lining and fashion fabric:

result! No picture of it but it looks good. All it needs is a bit of pressing but the new neckline on this half is good.

now the other one: stitch lining and fabric together creating a new fluent line. Looks good from where I was stitching.
but when I flipped it over:

Unacceptable. For one: it missed one of the nicks that were already in the lining. This would fray with wear, I fear.


Second: on one side the stitching doesn’t end in the little trench of the existing stitching line. It misses it by a mm:
This will give a nasty fold. Which will show on the good side as this stitching involves both the lining and the fashion fabric. Unacceptable.
Take it out, please.

Much better!

Perfection even. Look how nice it runs into the existing stitching line:

Let’s have a look to the other side:
it missed the ‘ear’ of the dart.
Take it out please.

your wish is my command:

I folded the ‘ear’ the other way and restitched that part:

let’s look at the other side:
It messed with the lining, creating a fold. It won’t be visible while wearing but still…

time for some chocolate and a little lay down. This needs to come out and be redone.


fixing the body

Pressing did wonders for the understitching of the bodice. It looks really ‘real’ now!

I closed the side seam and the center back seam. I tried it on and the back stood very wide away from my back. So I altered the pattern, gave it more of a hunch back line (which I seem to have).
In the front there’s something wrong too. Too much fabric at the neck line. I know not of fast solutions for than on so I’ll leave it as is.

The fit under the bust is fine. That’s why I will just tailor the darts from the skirts to the fit of the bodice. I have lost interest in alining the vertical seams exactly. I’ll do the best I can but right now I’d really like to work towards a finished dress!

another thing I noticed when trying on the bodice:
I’ve got stars at inconvenient places….

I think I can still claim innocence though.

Sewing the Dress: understitching complete

I managed to understitch the lining of the bodice, without having to rip and redo a seam. It was a lot of “frunniking”.

On the inside I had trimmed it nicely and clipped it in lots of places:

The bodice is now turned right side out. I’m hoping pressing will make it very tidy.

Oh. And lots of loose threads to sew in. From the frunniking understitching.

Sewing the Dress: Understitching

well BOOh!

the instructions on Butterick 5603 could have been clearer. It states: stitch neck line. Stitch armhole. UNDERSTITCH as much as possible.

I read this as steps:

  1. stitch neck line
  2. stitch arm hole
  3. do your stinking best at UNDERSTITCHING

now I find out you’re supposed to do understitching right after step 1. too. It is an addendum to a stitched line.

this video explains that you stitch fabric and lining together. Stop. Open up the seam and stitch the lining onto the raw edges, stitching close to the fold/ seam. This stitching will not be visible from the fashion fabric side of the garment.

It is to prevent the lining from rolling upwards and taking a peek into the great wide world.

hmf! Clearly Butterick is not meant for a beginner…. or I am too dumb today.

luckily I have a darning tool today…

btw, “grumpy girl” in the picture is never as grumpy as seen here. Steve Ford from the UK knows this very well and took the picture.

UPDATE. so the real instructions, for people who like lists and bullitpoints are:

1. stitch one seam

2. trim the raw edge and clip notches if it’s a curved seam

3. open seam, fold edges to one side (press if you want to)

4. sew the lining onto the edges, close to the seam from step 1. Leave the right side fashion fabric alone. No stitching there.


as I prefer to be lazy instead of tired I’m first trying to understitch without taking apart the seams. I remember seeing this on the internet….

it can be done, with a bit of fudging and folding. But now I am confused as to how far away from the seam I have to stitch. Close by? further away? that’s why I am online again.

ah, a good tutorial over at Diana’s Sewing Lessons! And at Sewaholic.

“close to the seam” it is. Also good for facings (“beleg” in Dutch)

Sewing the Dress: on to the bodice

I checked out the skirt and it lines up with the bodice bust darts acceptable. Certainly for a first dress!
The French seams look great!
I haven’t pressed them yet. Neither did I do the darts yet. I plan to use them to fine tune the ease.

I sewed the side seams of the skirt. Stopping halfway on one side to allow for the zipper. This presents with an interesting problem further along the line: how attach a zipper when votre seam est Francais??
I’ll figure that one out once it’s zipper time…

for now: the bodice.
I pressed the lower seam of the lining. Put the right side together and seamed the neckline and the arm holes, keeping track of the 1,5cm seam allowance along the way. Only on the fashion fabric though. The lining is so thin and flimsy than I cut it roughly.

Now I’m here to remember what ‘understitching’ is.
I think it’s when you fold over the stitching -after you’ve trimmed and notched the edges to be enclosed- and then you sew it a bit from the right side but so that the lining doesn’t show. Me, I would use my darning tool to make that crisp fold again but I would make it ‘askew’ so that the fashion fabric is a bit higher than the lining fabric.
I believe I saw an example of understitching in the dress my mother made me:

you see some at the arm hole: the fashion fabric extends beyond the lining, when looking from the wrong side. And some that could be improved in the front: the lining is visible from the right side.