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Simple Sew Brigitte dress Sewalong. 4: Shoulder seams and neckline facing

May 10, 2014

It’s time to start actually putting our dress together, hurray!  We’ll start with easy-peasy shoulder seams – sew the front shoulders to the back shoulders, right sides together.  Mine didn’t line up exactly, so I just lined them up as best as I could – it was only a few millimetres out so nothing major to worry about.

Shoulder seams pinned together - front to back - ready to sew

Shoulder seams pinned together – front to back – ready to sew

Once you’ve sewn these seams, press them apart, and then you can finish your seam however you like.  (Maybe you already finished all your edges prior to sewing, as per the instructions, but I prefer to do mine as I go along).  I overlock my edges, but a basic zigzag stitch on a regular sewing machine would be enough to stop your fabric from fraying, or using pinking shears, or turn and stitch, or French seam… well I could go on all day!  Choose your method, and use it for the shoulder seams!

Finished raw edges

Finished raw edges

Now it’s time for the facing.  If you haven’t already done so, affix your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  You can use fusible interfacing for this, just make sure it’s only fusible on one side.  You could use sew-in interfacing instead, if you prefer.  Then you would need to baste your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric by stitching around the edge keeping well within the seam allowance.  If you don’t have interfacing, you could cut the same pieces again from your main fabric and use that as a sew-in interfacing.  It wouldn’t be my preferred method, but it would work ok for this dress I think.  Once your facings are interfaced (face face face!)… pin them together at the shoulder seams and stitch!

Facings pinned at the shoulder seams ready to be stitched

Facings pinned at the shoulder seams ready to be stitched

Press the shoulder seams apart, and finish the raw edges.  Next, finish the centre back and lower edge of your facing.  You don’t need to finish the inner curve, as you’ll be trimming this down after you have sewn it.  Again, I overlocked, but if you don’t have an overlocker, I would recommend a narrow hem to finish these edges so that it looks nice and clean and neat.  At this point it’s also a good idea to finish the edges of the centre back of the dress, too.

Bottom edges and centre back edges finished

Bottom edges and centre back edges finished

Now, pin your facing to the dress, right sides together.  My facing didn’t line up exactly as you can see, it was a bit shorter than it should have been.  I’m not sure if this was due to an error on my part, or a problem with the pattern, but, whatever.  It actually doesn’t affect the finish or the fit of the dress, so I didn’t let it bother me too much.  When you’ve pinned the facing to the dress, sew carefully around the curve.

Facing pinned to dress and ready to stitch

Facing pinned to dress and ready to stitch

Once sewn, you’ll need to trim the seam and notch the curves so that it can lie flat when you turn it to the inside of the dress.  I cheat, by using my pinking shears, which simultaneously trim and notch.  You have to be really careful here – you need to get the notches close to seam line, but be careful not to actually cut into the seam line or you’ll end up with a hole in the neckline of your dress.

Trimmed and notched, the cheat's way ;-)

Trimmed and notched, the cheat’s way 😉

Once you have trimmed and notched, turn the facing to the inside of your dress and press.  I also chose to understitch the neckline even though the pattern instructions don’t include this step, but I find it helps to keep the facing in place.  To understitch, fold the facing away from the garment with the seam allowance underneath pressed towards the facing, then stitch through the facing and seam allowance very close to the seam line.  This won’t show on the outside of the dress.

The stitching is on the facing, close to the seam line, and it holds the seam allowance (underneath) in place

The stitching is on the facing, close to the seam line, and it holds the seam allowance (underneath) in place

After you have understitched, turn the facing back to the inside of the dress.  And that’s all for today!  See you on Monday when I’ll be helping you to insert the sleeves!

The finished facing, from the inside of the dress

The finished facing, from the inside of the dress

 

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsey permalink
    May 10, 2014 8:15 pm

    Hi Tabatha, firstly thank you so much for your tutorial, as a novice, I am finding it invaluable. This is my first attempt at dressmaking so this is all new to me, I’m praticising with an old cotton bedsheet first. I have a couple of questions about the neckline.
    1. When I came to press the neckline I noticed it isn’t exactly flush and is puckered at the front apex, will repeated pressing get rid of this or have you any advice to avoid puckering in future?
    2. When I came to the understitching, I’m not sure if I fully understood. I tried to turn the pinked hem back onto the interfacing and stitch it but it is really narrow and I’m struggling to stitch it, I cut it close to the seam, similar to your pictures, so was wondering if I’m doing it wrong. TIA

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 11, 2014 6:30 pm

      Hi Lindsey. To help get rid of the puckering you can notch the seam allowance very close to the stitching, just be careful not to actually cut through the stitching. Notches that are closer together help to avoid puckering on very rounded curves. As for the understitching, it sounds as though you’ve done the right thing – just stitch as close to the seam as possible. Good luck!

  2. May 11, 2014 3:09 pm

    Hi Tabatha,
    Your sewalong has been so helpful and easy to follow! Really appreciated your tip here about using pinking shears rather than layering and clipping seams – saves so much time!
    Looking forward to the next bit!
    Emma x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 11, 2014 6:41 pm

      Hi Emma, glad you’ve found it helpful!

  3. LucieA permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:49 am

    Thank you so much for the sewalong. It has made sewing up the pattern so much easier. Like you my facing didn’t match up with the dress. After making a small hem, each side was about an inch short! Should I recut the facings a bit bigger and redo?

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      May 25, 2014 9:52 am

      An inch is quite a lot, so I guess if you have enough fabric left then yes, recut them a bit bigger.

  4. May 28, 2014 11:16 pm

    Again, really useful thanks. My facings didn’t line up either. I found the overlapping in the pattern really off putting. My front and backs are quite different lengths, but as I’m pretty short anyway I’m hoping this won’t be a problem. Coming together nicely…

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