My Spring for Cotton Dress – Construction Details

Hi,

I hope you’re enjoying some spring sewing! Have you sewed any eyelet fabric? If you have any tips, please pass them on. This was my first experience sewing with it.

A few days ago, I finished the dress I made for Lucky Lucille’s Spring for Cotton sewalong. The challenge was to make something from a vintage or vintage-inspired pattern using 100 percent cotton fabric. I went through my small stash of vintage patterns decided to make a sleeveless dress. This pattern was for a 36 bust, 28 waist, and 38 hips. I added a lining to my version.

Simplicity 2439 - vintage sewing pattern - csews.com

My waist and hips are bigger than the pattern (especially because I’ve gained about ten pounds since last year – the result of a busy job and not making time to exercise). My waist is about 30.5 inches (77.5 cm) and my hips 41 inches (104 cm). I made most of my adjustments before I cut my muslin, which you can read about in my post WIP: a Vintage Dress Pattern and Japanese Top. Here’s my brief summary of the flat pattern adjustments before I made my muslin:

  • 1/4″ small bust adjustment,
  • dropped armhole 1 inch,
  • added 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) to side seams of front and back bodice (total of 2 inches),
  • added 1/2 inch to skirt waist
  • added 3/4 inch to hip area.

Here’s what my muslin looked like (pardon the bad bathroom lighting). I decided to leave off the pocket detail because I didn’t really like it on me. They were decorative anyway, not actual pockets.

Muslin of dress - spring for cotton - csews.com

At first glance it looked like it fit quite well and I thought, great, now I can cut my fashion fabric. But when I turned around and looked at the back, I could see that there was a little gaping of the back neckline, which is a bit of a scoop neck that’s lower than the front neckline. Hmmmm. I had not encountered this issue before. But I hadn’t made a dress with a scoop back neckline either.

So I went online to see what pattern adjustment to make – and stumbled across Ginger Makes post: By Hand London Anna Dress: Back Neckline Adjustment. I don’t have narrow shoulders so this was the first-time pattern adjustment for me. Before I did anything to my pattern, I took off my muslin, pinched in where I thought most of the gaping occurred, then pinned it in pace with safety pins. I guess that 1/4-inch (slightly less than 1 cm) would do the trick.

1/4 inch back neckline adjustment - csews.com

Back bodice – pinned.
Bodice - back adjustment muslin - csews.com

I tried it on again and it looked good (sorry I didn’t take a photo of that), so I decided to skip making another muslin. I made a 1/4″ flat pattern adjustment, following Ginger Makes’ clear instructions. It was easy – just draw a line from the armhole to the area that gapes the most, cut along that line and overlap 1/4″. The point turner is where I sliced the pattern and overlapped it 1/4 inch. to see a larger version of this photo, click on it once and it will open another window, then click on the photo again, you’ll see a large version.

Back neckline adjustment - Simplicity 2439 vintage sewing pattern - csews.com

Then I did a bit of a reality check, tried on the muslin one last time and realized that the waist needed a little more ease. So I added another 1/4-inch (.6 cm) to the waist of the bodice and skirt, crossed my fingers, and began cutting my fashion fabric.

Meanwhile, I also did a muslin of the jacket but decided I didn’t like the boxy shape. So I didn’t make it.

Jacket - vintage Simplicity 2439 - Spring for cotton - csews.com

The challenge of making this dress is that I was using eyelet fabric for the first time and lining the entire dress with a contrast fabric. Here’s an image I posted on Instagram when I was shopping for my fabric at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics for this dress.

Eyelet fabric with fuschia - csews.com

I chose the hot pink fabric for the color – more like a fuchsia – rather than its weight, which was quilt weight. I didn’t think it would make the dress layers too thick because the eyelet fabric was lightweight and had a bit of drape to it. So I thought they would balance each other out. As a general rule though, it’s better to match the drape/weight of the fabrics you’re sewing together. In retrospect, it would have been better to choose a lining fabric that was lighter weight as you’ll see below. But the challenge of this sewalong was to use 100 percent cotton and I liked this color so I went with it.

Materials

  • 3 1/2 yards eyelet fabric [amount for dress and jacket, which I didn’t make]
  • 3 yards of lining fabric
  • 1 1/4 yards of 3/4-inch ban-rol waistband interfacing
  • 1-inch buckle kit
  • Gutterman thread
  • Schmetz 60/10 needle

I got my fabric from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, ban-rol from Britex Fabrics (notions floor manager Natalie suggested that I use this for my belt), the buckle kit from Lacis in Berkeley. You can also buy the buckle kit at Lacis’s online store (search “buckle kit”).

As I began sewing this dress, I realized I needed to figure out if I would sew my hot pink lining fabric as lining or underlining. (For a good explanation of underlining, see Seamstress Erin’s post When to Underline your Sewing.) I decided that it would depend on the effect on the eyelet – and how thick the fabric would be. So the bodice was sewn as lining and parts of the skirt were sewn as lining and underlining.

I decided that the darts could all be sewn separately, rather than sewing the lining fabric together with the fashion fabric. so I sewed the all the darts first. Four in the front bodice…

vintage Simplicity 2439 - Bodice - front lining - csews.com

two in the back bodice…

vintage Simplicity 2439 back bodice - csews.com

and four in the skirt back. This is one side of the skirt back, which has a center seam and kick pleat.

vintage Simplicity 2439 - back skirt darts - csews.com

I also got a nice tip via Instagram from @sewbrooke, who blogs at Custom Style. She told me if the fabric seemed thick, I could press the darts one way for the lining and another way for the fashion fabric to take care of any bulk. I took her advice.

The directions called for cutting the darts and pressing them open, which I had not seen before. I posted that photo on my IG feed (@csews) and asked if I needed to do this. Brooke said that this is often done in menswear and more necessary with a suiting or wool fabric. So I just pressed my darts.

Dart instructions - csews.com

However, the pleats in the front needed to be sewn with both fabrics sandwiched together. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see any of the pink through the eyelet.

As you can see here, the darts are slim enough that you don’t really notice that there isn’t any pink behind them. The pleats are a bit thick – something I hadn’t thought about when I bought my lining fabric. (I forgot to make a loop to hold down the end of the belt but I did make one the next day so I had it on when I wore the dress to work on Friday. It doesn’t stick out anymore.)

Spring for cottonn - Simplicity 2439 dress front detail - csews.com

I sewed my bodice pieces, following the instructions in How to Line a Sleeveless Dress from Blithe Stitches, a tutorial I used when I made a dress a couple of years ago. This dress has a side zipper. I left open the area just below the left armhole.

The skirt got a little tricky. I had to figure out how to sew the kick pleat in the back with the lining. The instructions direct you to first sew the two back skirt pieces together with  5/8″ seam allowance, and then sew the center back seam, which is about three inches in from the other seam. You then fold over this three-inch bit of fabric to one side and sew it together when you attach the bodice to the skirt. This center back seam runs about 2/3 of the skirt length. The area below the center back seam forms the kick pleat. I improvised as I figured out how to sew the kick pleat with the eyelet and lining fabrics. (I cut my eyelet fabric perpendicular to the grain so I could use the scalloped edge of the selvage as my hem. The dress hem is a straight edge, not a curved one, which makes it possible to do this.)

instructions - kick pleat - csews.com

I skipped the first seam with the 5/8″ seam allowance and just sewed the center back seam, leaving the area below the pattern mark open.

Skirt back - kick pleat - csews.com

Then I sewed the center back seam of the eyelet fabric and pinned it to the waist of the lining fabric. Clearly, the dress would be too thick around the waist – six layers of fabric (kick pleat adds another two layers) – so I cut the fashion fabric above the pleat with my pinking scissors, close to the seam line. I didn’t trim the lining fabric.

Kick pleat - eyelet fabric - csews.com

Then I placed the lining fabric on top of the eyelet fabric and sewed the 5/8″ seam. Here’s a detail of the kick pleat before sewing the 5/8″ seam.

Kick pleat sewn

After I finished sewing the kick pleat, I was ready to sew the skirt side seams. I sewed the lining and the eyelet fabric together at the side seams. It was hard to line up the eyelet across the seam. I began at the bottom so I would be sure that the eyelet lined up at that scalloped edge. I pinned and eased as much as possible but it was all slightly off on the side seams. I decided to let that go and not get stressed out about it. I’m not sure what made it tricky – maybe because I cut the fabric against the grain or that the embroidery of the eyelet distorts the fabric slightly so things are slightly off? I didn’t use any stabilizer so maybe that would have helped.

Here’s what it looks like completed.  The seam in the center is that 5/8″ seam I mentioned above.

Kick pleat completed - csews.com

But you really don’t see that seam in the back pleat. Without the pleat, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to walk in this dress.

Spring for cotton - vintage Simplicity 2439 - csews.com

I attached the bodice to the skirt (note the zipper tape on the right). The waist seam is really thick – four layers of fabric and even more where the front pleats are. If I had to do this again, I would have picked a much lighter weight lining fabric. And I would add more ease in the hips. It’s not that it’s tight there but when I sit down, there’s small pool of fabric in my lap, which doesn’t look very good.

Waist seam - inside - csews.com

And here’s another photo of the finished dress!

Spring for cotton - vintage Simplicity 2439 dress pattern - csews.com

I really love the colors! I think I’ll do another post on accessories for this dress – the belt and fascinator. I was going to include info on making the belt and fascinator but it’s getting really long so I’ll save that for another day! Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!

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Spring for Cotton Dress

Hi,

I finally finished my Spring for Cotton dress! And just under the wire, too. Today, April 30, is the deadline day to post photos. I couldn’t take photos until I got home from work today. Yep – rushed home, changed into the dress, traipsed a couple blocks to my location, set up my tripod and took these photos. This dress is made out of 100 percent cotton – lining and fashion fabric.

Spring for Cotton - dress from vintage Simplicity 2439 - csews.com

As you can see, the sun is a bit harsh around 6 pm in California – thus the major shadows. I really didn’t have time to edit the photos so what you see below is just what I selected in a hurry. I’ll go back over my photos over the weekend and either add more or replace some of these with other versions.

Spring for Cotton dress - vintage Simplicity 2439 - csews.com

And here’s the back view – as you can see, the back neckline scoops lower than the front. Luckily I noticed on my muslin that I had a bit of a gaping issue but I fixed it. I’ll post construction details later! [Update (3 May 2015): I replaced the earlier photo. This is a better view of the back.]

Spring for cotton - vintage Simplicity 2439 - csews.com

UPDATE (3 May 2015): Here’s another photo of the dress. This photos shows how well the bodice fits. Unfortunately, the belt is sticking out a bit. I forgot to make the fabric loop to keep it in place. I finished the belt the night before I took the photos. But I made a loop the day after my photo shoot – just in time to wear it to work and then to a jazz concert that evening – Esperanza Spaulding at the San Francisco Jazz Center.

Spring for Cotton - vintage Simplicity dress 2439 - csews.com

A few construction notes: Top is lined, skirt front is underlined because of the pleats in front, back skirt is lined. I thought the combination of the eyelet fabric and the lining would be too thick to sew the darts together so I did them separately. There are four darts in the back of the skirt, two darts in the back bodice and four darts in the front bodice (two side and two front darts). And there are six pleats in front!

I made the belt last night using the same fabric as my lining.

I’ll post construction photos in a separate post. Thanks for visiting!

UPDATE, 6 May: My post on My Spring for Cotton Dress – Construction Details.

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WIP: A Vintage Dress Pattern and Japanese Top

Hi, are you doing any spring sewing this month? I’m attempting to make at least two very different garments: A dress from a vintage dress pattern – Simplicity 2439 – for Lucky Lucille’s Spring for Cotton Sewing Challenge and a top from She Wears the Pants, a the new English translation of a Japanese sewing book by Yuko Takada, to be released by Tuttle Publishing in May. This is a bit ambitious for me because I don’t usually make more than one thing a month, really. I’m not the speediest at sewing because I can only work on things after work or on the weekends. Last week in my Spring Sewing post, I decided that I was going to make this dress and something from this book. I did that post entirely on my phone and only looked at it on a computer today – there were some major image size problems, which I just fixed. Oops.

Last weekend I finally got around to tracing this uncut Simplicity pattern …

Simplicity 2439 vintage dress and jacket - csews.com

As you can see the pieces were not on big sheets of tissue paper. Instead, each pattern piece was separate but needed to be cut – or in this case traced. I didn’t want to cut the pattern because I know I’ll be making a small bust adjustment and adding more ease to the waist and hips. This pattern has a 36 inch bust, 28 inch waist, and 38 inch hips. I taped down the pattern pieces to my work table and then traced them. Before I used the tape I made it slightly less tacky by placing the tape on my pants and also on my hand. Then it would be less likely to tear the tissue when I removed the tape.

Simplicity 2439 vintage dress pattern - Spring for Cotton - csews.com

Here are the front and back bodice pieces.

Front and back bodice - Simplicity 2439 - Spring for Cotton - csews.com

After I traced this bodice, I compared it to my Emery Dress bodice for which I made a 1/4″ small bust adjustment (SBA).

Emery Dress bodice and Simplicity 2439 bodice - csews.com

Clearly, I need to drop the armscye (armhole) of the bodice. That’s a mighty high armsceye! I decided to make a few flat pattern adjustments before I make my muslin – and hopefully avoid having to make more than one muslin of this dress. I dropped the armscye about an inch, made a 1/4″ SBA, added 1/2″ to the front and back side seams of the bodice and skirt pattern pieces for a total of 2 inches, and I added 3/4″ to the hips of the skirt for a total of 3 inches. I’m aiming to fit a 30-inch waist and 41-inch hips. (The bodice and skirt pieces are cut on the fold – so just multiply by 4.)

Last week I bought this bright blue eyelet fabric for this dress and jacket. I’ve been contemplating these three fabrics to underline as a contrasting fabric: Lime green, turquoise blue, and a fuchsia/hot pink.

Eyelet fabric with lime green contrast - csews.com

Eyelet fabric with Turquoise - csews.com

Eyelet fabric with fuschia - csews.com

If you follow me on Instagram (@csews), you may have already seen these photos. Many people liked the turquoise but fans of bright colors really liked the lime green. A couple of days later I posted the fuchsia image. I like fuchsia the best. I think I’ll be making another trip to Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics to get my contrast fabric – that’s where I got the eyelet fabric as well.

All those pieces are traced and so is the pattern No. 4, Top with Epaulettes, from She Wears the Pants. It’s the striped knit top on the cover. But I’ll be leaving off the epaulettes – not my thing really. I have broad shoulders so why draw more attention to them with that detail?

I made a flat pattern adjustment to this pattern as well – a total of two inches of ease to the hips.

She Wears the Pants - Top with Epaulettes - csews.com

I’m planning on making the top using this striped knit from my stash. The stripes aren’t very wide though – slightly less than 1 cm – so I hope it doesn’t drive me crazy trying to get them to match. I have a couple of yards of it in my stash. I made a striped Cake Patterns Hummingbird peplum top from this fabric a couple of years ago.

Black and white striped knit fabric - csews.com

I guess you could say that my style is eclectic. 😉 What can I say? I like vintage patterns and I like Japanese sewing books. Next weekend, I need to cut my fabric and hopefully get sewing!

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Girl Friday Blouse – Fall for Cotton – Details and Giveaway!

Girl Friday blouse - front view-feather

I promised to post about the details of constructing my Fall for Cotton (a sewing challenge by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and Tasha of By Gum By Golly) project. I chose to make the 1940s Girl Friday Blouse from Decades of Style (Yes! you can buy the pattern).  I posted several views of it earlier this week in My Fall for Cotton 1940s Girl Friday Blouse Is Finished! But I didn’t have any time to write about the nitty gritty details of sewing this blouse, which took many hours to complete. It’s not that it was difficult to sew, but I had to spend some time figuring out how I wanted to finish the seams, plus I did some hand sewing and embroidering.

Be warned – there are many, many photos in this post but if you get to the bottom you’ll get a reward – details to enter my small giveaway – a swatch of the vintage Swiss dot voile fabric I used in making this blouse. The fabric is from the late 1940s, which I didn’t know when I made it. Really. Earlier this week – after I’d finished it – I contacted the fabric store, Maxie’s Daughter Fabrics in Philadelphia, to ask what decade it was from. What a nice surprise to discover that I made a 1940s blouse using fabric from that very decade! And thanks to Trice of SewTell for telling me to visit the Fabric Row area or I never would have stumbled on this store when I was in the area in August!)

The facts:

Pattern: 1940s Girl Friday Blouse by Decades of Style – $18

Fabric: 3.5 yards Vintage Swiss dot voile, 34 inches wide – $35
(Some vintage fabrics have smaller widths. If I used 45″ fabric I would only have needed 1 1/2 yards, 1 1/8 for 60″)

Notions: Invisible zipper – $2.79
Green and yellow embroidery thread – $0.90 (45 cents each)
Gutterman thread $1.80
Design Plus superfine fusible bias stay tape
70/10 Schmetz needle

Vintage fabric - swiss dot voile
Wrong and right side of vintage Swiss dot voile fabric

The fabric is very lightweight and the “dots” are actually woven in the fabric. On the right side, it almost seems as if the dots are printed on the fabric. On the wrong side, the “dots” are rather fuzzy and raised as you can see from the photos. It was rather delicate to sew because the weave wasn’t very tight. Thus the best needle was 70/10, not 60/10. The 60/10 pulled on the weave of the fabric. At first I thought I had a tension problem but then I switched to a larger needle size and the problem went away.

Vintage fabric  Swiss dot voile detail - front and back
Right and wrong side of vintage Swiss dot voile

The fabric is not transparent but you can see my hand underneath the blouse front – and you can see the tucks.

1940s Girl Friday Blouse - vintage swiss dot voile fabric

There are only five pattern pieces to the 1940s Girl Friday blouse: front, back, three collars and back facing. Then you make bias tape for the front neck facing and armholes.

Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style

I didn’t bother tracing the pattern because I got a late start because I changed my mind on what I was going to make because the fabric I initially chose wasn’t 100 percent cotton. Frankly I wasn’t entirely sure this was 100 percent cotton but I was told it was a voile and when I did a burn test, I didn’t get any hard residue. But

My waist fit the pattern’s size B/36 bust but my hips were closer to the next size up (41 inches). The pattern provides the finished bust and waist measurements. For the 36″ bust the finished measurements were 42″ best and 32.5 inch waist. So I graded up around the hips and made a muslin of the front and back pieces. (See the earlier post My Fall for Cotton Project – Sewalong Update for details on that.) Do not skip the muslin.

The  front and back pieces are straightforward – four darts in the back, two tucks on either side of the two front pieces and two shoulder darts. I didn’t realize until later that one shoulder dart ends nearly an inch lower than the other! Oops. But you really can’t tell because the collar hides it. So I left it as is. Darts were a bit tricky on this fabric because of the bumpy Swiss dots. I think that’s why I went a little further on one side. I pinned my darts but with this fabric I should have also basted everything. but I was a little impatient.

You don’t sew the center front seam until after you attached the collar.

The pattern instructions are clear but she doesn’t provide any suggestions on how to finish the seams on the front and back pieces. I decided to sew a french seam at the shoulders and on the right side. Christine Haynes has a good explanation on Craftsy: Seam Series: How to Sew a French Seam Tutorial.

The tricky part was installing the side invisible zipper on the left. I decided to use fusible stay tape on the fabric next to the seam for the invisible zipper. I thought about a skirt I have where the fabric is getting a bit frayed at the bottom of the side invisible zipper. I didn’t want my fabric to eventually tear near the zipper so I thought this bit of reinforcement would help.

I decided to go with black fusible stay tape because it was less visible than white. I didn’t want to sew through the stay tape because it was going to be bulky from the zipper tape. Thus I fused it so it would go right next to the 5/8 seam. It’s probably not so great to have such a curve on an invisible zipper but I didn’t want the blouse to be too loose around the waist.

Black bias fusible stay tape

The pattern doesn’t provide any directions on installing the zipper. It just says: “Insert invisible zipper in left side seam below notches as per manufacturer’s instructions.” Really. So I turn to the Coletterie tutorial Installing an Invisible Zipper to refresh my memory, install the zipper, and then sew the seam above and below the zipper. Luckily it went fine and lined up at the top.

I did end up sewing over the bias tape in some areas. I finished the seam by stitching the fabric to the zipper as you can  see on the left. Thanks to Brooke of Custom Style for suggesting that! Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics also gave me that advice.

Left side - invisible zipper - bias tape

The Collar

The collar is the most unique aspect of this blouse so I’ll spend some time here going over my experience with it. The most important thing is to mark the collar notches (the 3/8″ line(s) on the left side of each pattern piece) – two on the bottom collar, three on the middle collar, and one on the top collar. I just clipped right through the pattern pieces and the fabric to ensure accuracy. You will need to use those markings to line up the collars after you’ve sewn them. The instructions are very clear so be sure to follow them to the letter. The only challenge is that you have to figure out how you’re going to finish the seams.

Pattern collar pieces - Girl Friday Blouse

About an inch before I got to the collar point, I reduced my stitch length to 1, sewed to the point, pivoted, stitched about another inch and then increased my stitch length back to 2. You only stitch on two sides, leaving the notched edge open. I trimmed very close to the edge of the collar points so I wouldn’t have any bulk there. You can do that when you have a very short stitch length.

I trimmed the seams and clipped the curves. To prepare the collars for pressing, I used a point turner on the points and ran it gently over the curves areas to push out the fabric from the seam.

Point turner on collar curves

After you press the middle and bottom collars, the instructions say to “finish the remaining un-notched raw edges as desired.” Hmmm. I had to think about that. How should I finish that part? I decided to press a 1/4″ fold and sew close to the edge (see pinned side below).

Middle and bottom collars - Girl Friday Blouse

Now I had to decide whether I wanted to add any embroidery. The pattern says a collar embellishment is optional and suggests a running stitch with each stitch 1/4″ long and each line of stitches 1/4″ apart from each other. Because my fabric had two colors I decided I only needed two rows of embroidery so I went with one row of yellow and one row of green.

embroidery instructions - Girl Friday Blouse

It took me a while to mark each collar piece. I decided to use the Pilot Frixion Erasable pen because the ink just disappears with heat. You just use your iron on it and the ink goes away. Of course I tested it on a scrap to make sure it would disappear and it did. I wrote about using it in Tracing Patterns with the Pilot Frixion Pen and learned from a comment by Mallory of Daze Like This who told me about the heat factor.

Mark embroidery lines on collar

I marked my lines because it’s really easy to go off track when you embroider. The running stitch is easy to do. I loaded about three 1/4″ stitches on my needle before pulled the needle through. I used a two strands of embroidery floss doubled.

The important thing to to make sure your floss isn’t twisted. After you’ve threaded your needle, hold your thumb and index finger on either side of the floss and pull the needle up. The oils from your fingers and the action of pulling the floss between your fingers helps to get the twists out. I learned that tip from the Alabama Studio Sewing + Design book. I think Natalie Chanin called it “loving” your thread. I embroidered a ton of spirals last year before I figured that out (see Getting Started on My Alabama Fur Wrap and The Embroidered Wrap). 😉

Oh, and when you start your embroidery, you start your stitch on the inside of the collar. I didn’t think about that until I had already finished the bottom and middle collars. On those two collars, I started with my knot on the outside of the collar – uh, not sure what I was thinking there. You can see my knots in the photo of the backside of the collar.

You could also machine stitch your embellishment or just skip that part.

Here’s one row of yellow embroidery on the top collar.

1 row of embroidery on top collar

After all the collars are embroidered, you line them up starting with the bottom collar, matching the notches.

Collars pinned together - Girl Friday blouse

The you baste the collar together along the notched side and then hand stitch the underside of the collars together where they overlap.

3 collars hand stitched together

Next you pin and baste the collar to the front neck edge, which includes several inches of the front center seam. There is a circle you mark on the collars and the center front seam that you use to line up the pieces.

Collar pinned to front neck edge

As you can see, precision is important. Things will not line up if you don’t measure accurately. I was super careful in all my markings and in sewing my 5/8″ seams.

Next you sew on the back neck facing – once again, the instructions leave it up to you to decide how you want to finish the edges.

I pressed a fold 1/4″ from the edge and then folded it over a second time and pressed it. after I attached it to the back neck, I realized that I needed to finish the sides so I just improvised by pressing a fold and sewing close to the edge. A little sloppy as you can see below but at least the edge wasn’t left raw.

Back facing - finishing

Here’s what the front neck looked like at this stage. You can see that there are many layers of fabric where all the collars overlap in the front center seam. And you can see the shoulder darts in this photo as well.

Collar sewn on Girl Friday Blouse

The instructions say to make 1 1/2 inch bias tape for a facing. I had a 1 3/4″ bias tape maker so I cut my fabric for that but ended up making it by hand as I mentioned in an earlier post. I think my brain defaults to thinking double-fold bias tape whenever I read bias tape but the facings in this pattern only need single-fold bias tape. You can see the extra fold in the facing here.

Bias tap on neck - Girl Friday Blouse

I used single fold for the neck area but double-fold for the armholes because I liked the way it looked.

There’s no mention of understiching in the instructions. I understitched the neck facing. Then I hand stitched the neck facing to the blouse.

I sewed bias tape to the armholes. Rather than pressing the seam to the inside, I folded my seam to the outside, trimmed it and folded the bias tape over it and blind stitched the facing to the inside seamline. So there’s about 3/8″ of fabric added to the armhole. I didn’t take a photo of that so I’ll add it later.

One of the last steps is sewing the center front seam. This means sewing through all the collars – as many as six layers of fabric – and then just the two layers below the collar. I was nervous about sewing this seam and asked for advice on Instagram – Samina (Saminakaty on IG) of Sew Everything Blog suggested using a longer stitch length, bigger needle size and maybe walking foot, Laura (Laruahoj on IG) of A Make It Yourself Mom’s Diary suggested using a Jean-a-ma-jig which helps going from bulky to not-so-bulky areas.

I was still undecided about how I would sew this last seam so I dropped by Lacis in Berkeley because I knew that Erin had made the blouse. I asked her how she sewed it and she said she didn’t do anything special and said, “just sew it!” I also called up Stonemountainand Daughter Fabrics when I was at work and asked their advice. The person I spoke with told me that I didn’t need to do anything special but suggested that I do a test on some leftover fabric, which I did. I decided I could just use the same needle and stitch length.

I also decided to reinforce the center seam below the collars and iron on some fusible bias stay tape along the seam line.

I pinned and basted the center seam then I opened up the seam and saw that I could see the stitches where the collars were sewn together. I looked at the basting and saw that I was slightly off on one side. My seam allowance was slightly under 5/8″ on one side. So I removed the basted where the collars met and lined up the edges and basted again. I was good to go.

There was no way to do a French seam because of all layers. I ended up just pinking the edges. My finger is pointing to where the collars meet at the center front area.

Collars at center seam

Next, I tried on the blouse. I really had to shimmy into it and decided that I needed a little more ease. I have broad shoulders so I was afraid that I would be putting too much strain on the seams getting it on and off. I decided to remove two of the back darts. So I’d have two back darts instead of four – a small sacrifice. I highly recommend trying it on before you hem it!

I used seam tape on the bottom of the blouse to which I blind stitched a hem. The photo below shows the bias tape along the center seam and the hem.

Ctr front seam - bias-seam tape

Whew! And that’s why it took me more than 30 hours to make this blouse!

And now to the giveaway! If you’d like a small swatch of the vintage fabric I used in my Fall for Cotton project (it’s more than 60 years old!), just comment below on whether you’ve made anything with vintage fabric or with Swiss dot fabric, include a link (if you have one) of what you made, and what your experience was like. If you haven’t made anything with those fabrics, just let me know why you want a swatch! You have until Friday, Oct. 11, 6 pm Pacific to enter your comment. I’ll announce winners on Saturday. Then winners can send me their mailing addresses.

Here’s one last image for you – you can see the black feather in my vintage hat in this photo.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

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