Thursday, December 10, 2009

it's a good thing I don't design bridges...

...or skyscrapers. Or anything upon the construction of which lives depend. Because clearly my spacial sense is not the best.

Here's what I tried to do with my green dress project. It's a basic sheath dress with cap sleeves, and its the second pattern I drafted from my sloper. With right sides together, I sewed the lining to the dress at the neckline. Then I understitched it. So far so good. Then, with right sides together...

...I sewed all the way around the armhole. Yes I did. And if you've ever sewed a lined sleeveless dress before, or if you have a modicum of spacial sense (which I clearly don't), you realize that a dress sewn this way can't be turned. Believe me, I tried.

Here's the armhole seam that I tried to sew.

Not one to give up easily, I checked out the armhole on a similar ready-to-wear dress. It's clearly constructed in the way I had in mind: The lining is machine-sewed to the dress, and then understitched on the lower edge.

So what secret did the folks at BCBG know that I didn't? Things became clearer when I checked out the instructions from a pattern in my stash, Butterick 5147, which includes a fully-lined sleeveless dress. Here's how they pull it off.

First, you sew the dress and the lining, right sides together, at the neck and armhole edges. At this point, the center back and side seams are still open. This is critical, and I never would have though of it on my own.

Then, you turn the dress right-side out by pulling the two back pieces through the narrow openings between the neckline seam and the armhole seam. Again, I never would have thought of this.

Finally, you open out the lining and sew the side seams of both the lining and the dress in one go.

The Butterick pattern has you installing the zipper "the home-sewing way," but I don't think there's anything stopping you from sewing it Kathleen's way if you leave the edges of the neckline seam open at the center back until the zipper goes in. I admit, I won't be finding out for this project, since I'm planning on hand-sewing my armholes. But at least I'll know for next time.

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