After cutting the pattern pieces, I assembled the dress with French Seams along the side seams. I did a simple turned hem and turned the center back seam twice and topstitched. I always find pressing early and often is the key to getting a professional looking finished garment.
To create French Seams, start with 5/8″ Seam Allowance (SA). Sew wrong sides together at 1/4″. Trim to 1/8″(shown Upper Left). Press SA to left, then right, then press with right sides together. Sew 3/8″ Seam allowance(shown Upper Right). The finished French Seams has 3/8″ SA and has all raw edges enclosed so that it will not fray or unravel with heavy use and washing.
The only pattern pieces with facing and interfacing are the shoulder caps and the collar. To get those to lay as flat as possible, it is important to clip and notch the curves and also grade the seam allowances.
Grading- trimming the seam allowances to reduce fabric bulk at the seams. Usually the shortest layer is trimmed to 1/8″ and the next to 1/8″ longer, etc.
Notch- removing triangle shapes from the curve when the seam allowance is wider than the finished piece. Like front curve of the shoulder piece, the wider seam allowance must be reduced to get it to lay flat
Clip- to allow a smaller seam allowance to spread out over a larger area. For example the center front where the collar meets the dress it must spread to lay flat
To create a simple topstitched hem, baste with a wide straight stitch(shown left), press hem up(shown right), turn again and topstitch to finish. Remove the basting stitch line that will now be at the top fold on the inside of the hem. This dress’s basting line is at 1/4″ and the finished hem will be 1/2″shorter than the cut pattern was. Always press side seams to the back so that it lays flat from the front.
For a chiffon or silk fabric this is a nice hem technique because the basting thread adds some weight and structure to work with, but the seam should be trimmed to 1/8″ before turning and it is essential to remove the basting stitch after finishing.
Using Bias Tape is a nice way to finish an armhole. Bias means on an angle so that there is the most give to the fabric to fit around curves. If there is a glut of extra fabric it is really great to make one with leftover fabric using the 45-degree line on a rotary cutting mat. This tape is 1/2″ Single Fold bias tape, which means to create your own it should be 1″ and folded in 1/4″ on either end. I bought one in a contrasting fabric because I thought it would be cute and also it is less expensive.
To attach the tape, stitch in the first fold at 1/4″ as shown on top left. Turn, press and understitch: topstitch close to edge of tape to keep the tape from rolling to the finished side of the garment once completed(understitching shown on top right). The finishing is done by using a hand-sewn running slipstitch on the bottom edge. The lower photo is the bias tape pinned and ready to be hand sewn.
This is the finished garment. It is sweet but I have a few ideas to change the design for the next iteration, the graphic florette look.