Monday, February 23, 2015

Simplicity 1277 Garment Construction, Part Three of Three

Step 9 Neck (cont'd) and Armhole Edges
Press clipped seam allowances to facing
Under stitch seam allowances to facing side
When under stitching, be sure clipped seam allowances stay under facing rather than garment
Trim seam allowances to between 1/4" and 3/8"
Press neckline edges in place; seam will roll to inside of garment
Pin armhole of garment and facing, right sides together, with facing extending 1/4" beyond garment at shoulder seam
Close-up of facing extension
Stitch armhole 5/8" from garment cut edge (not facing edge)
Stitched armhole
Press seam allowances of armhole flat
Shoulder seam allowance was caught incorrectly in seam; rip and redo this area
Press lower portion of armhole open on ham
Press armhole near shoulder seam open on ironing board or seam stick
Pressed armhole seam allowances

Clip armhole seam allowances
Grasp hem of Skirt Back; pull through shoulder seam to front of garment
Press armhole in place without changing pressing of neckline done previously
Neckline and armhole facings are complete

Step 10 Invisible Zipper
Top line is 3/4" down, second line is 7 1/2" below top line
Mark zipper above plastic top stop
Mark on reverse also
Mark point above plastic top stop on other side of zipper
Mark 7 1/2" down from plastic top stop
on both sides
On low heat, press zipper coils open
Pin one side of zipper on right side of garment, with stitching line of zipper 5/8" from edge
Using a zipper foot and with needle moved to far left position, stitch between top and bottom marks
Top of stitching
One side is stitched
Pin second side in place
Move needle to far right position; stitch along coils between top and bottom marks
Both sides stitched between marks
View from inside of garment
Pull slider up and close zipper
View from right side of garment.  Seam below zipper still needs to be closed
Our dress has a waist seam that must match across the zipper.  Stitch the first side of the zipper in place.  Then mark the waistline seam with chalk on the second side of the zipper.
Baste chalk line to waist seam on other side of garment.  Move zipper up or down as needed to align with first side.  Stitch second side between top and bottom marks.
Right side of garment, neckline on left, hem on right.  We need to close the seam below the zipper now.
Pin seam below zipper right sides together
Begin stitching at hem.  You are still using a zipper foot but the needle is in the center position.
Our stitching is approaching the bottom of the zipper. 
Meet the bottom of the zipper stitching and continue another 1/2"
Press seam allowance open
Tack bottom of each side of zipper to seam allowance, keeping garment free
Cut off top of zipper above plastic top stop
Apply seam sealant if desired
Tack facing in place along zipper tape, leaving room for slider to operate
 Step 11 Side Seams
Baste side seams, wrong sides together, with 1" seam allowances.  Open facings as pictured above. 
Try on dress.  Analyze fit and either let out or take in side seams as needed. 

Use chalk and french curve to mark changes evenly on both side seams.  Here I am narrowing the garment 1/2" from underarm to waist

I am letting the hip area out 3/8"; mark with chalk and french curve.  Trim seam allowances evenly to 5/8" if possible, and remove basting stitches.

When you repin side seam allowances right sides together, carefully match facing seam at underarm

Also match front and back bodice side panels along hip

Most of the side seam is stitched from top of garment to hem.  However, to avoid trouble with the bulky seam allowances where the facing meets the armhole, stitch up to the facing, rather than down this portion of the side seam.  Therefore I have divided each side seam's stitching into two steps.  Keep the facing seam allowances pressed up to the facing.

Nice matching of the bodice side panels at the hip

Press seam allowances toward garment back, overlock raw edges together, and seam seal overlock threads at top of facing

To hold facing in place at underarm, pin facing side seam to match garment side seam

Stitch from finished edge, on right side of garment, 2" or to bottom of facing.  Stitches should be invisible as they are placed exactly in the side seam stitching.  Note the yellow plastic device behind the presser foot; it keeps the foot level so the machine does not struggle to start the stitching.  Use a rolled scrap of fabric if you do not have a "hump jumper".

Step 12 Hem
The hem stitches should be invisible on the outside of the garment.  A top stitched hem is not appropriate for this style of dress.
You have two options for utilizing the blind hem stitch: by machine or by hand.  Light colored fabrics and thin fabrics will look better with a hand stitched hem.  Dark colored fabrics and medium weight fabrics support a machine blind hem stitch very well.  Here are both hem applications:
By hand:
Press up 2" hem allowance
Fold 2" hem allowance in half and pin in place.  Use hand sewing needle and blind hem stitch to hem garment
By machine:
Serge raw edge of 2" hem allowance which has been pressed to inside
Place pins horizontally, 1/3 down from serged edge
Fold back hem allowance and place garment in this position.  Use blind hem stitch on machine to stitch invisibly.
Press hem in place.  In the above photo you do not see a row of stitches but rather a fold from machine stitching the hem that will be pressed away
This sample shows the machine stitching; hem allowance to right, garment to left; you are working on the inside of the garment here
View of hem from right side of garment
 Step 13 Final Press and Embellishment Work
I am adding 6mm hot-fix antique brass round nail heads to the front and back bodice side panels.  The nail heads are placed at the intersections in the diagonal top stitching.  I ran out of nail heads, so I will show you a photo of the finished embellishment when it is done!
A sleeveless dress should have bra strap holders that prevent a bra strap from showing outside the dress.  Attach the female portion of a snap to the shoulder seam of the facing by hand.
Attach the male portion of a snap to either a self-fabric scrap or, in this case, a strip of cotton stay tape.
Attach the cotton stay tape to the facing shoulder seam, and close the snap
Now just press, making sure all seam allowances are pressed in the correct directions and the garment body is without wrinkles.  Place the dress on a hanger.  Finished!


  1. Lovely clear instructions and pictures, as always.
    Can't wait to see the completed garment.
    As always, thank you for your fabulous blog.

  2. There are over 200 photos in this tutorial, so a person with no sewing experience can follow the steps and complete the garment successfully. I am looking forward to adding further embellishment to the side panels.

  3. I learn so much from your blog. Beautifully explained and photographed! Thanks so much!

  4. My students at COD say the photos are very helpful to understanding garment construction. Technology enables us to learn in new ways (and have fun socializing).

  5. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I used this while I made my dress, and probably would have failed without it!! :-)