April 14, 2016

Welcome back for day 4 of the Colfax Dress Sewalong. Today we will pick up where we left off and finish up the side seams and armholes. Let’s get going.

First we will finish the side seams for View B. If you are doing View A (no pockets) then skip ahead to step 17.

Step 12 – Finish the seam allowance of all side seams and pocket pieces separately before stitching them together. We have to do this now because the way that the pockets are constructed, you won’t be able to finish all of the seams after construction. You can finish the seam allowances in a few different ways such as pinking or zigzag stitching. I am going to serge because it’s fast and effective.

With right sides together, pin one pocket piece to a coordinating dress front side seam, matching notches. Stitch at 3/8” seam allowance (The seam allowance is less than the 1/2″ for the rest of the dress so that the pockets will sit slightly inside of the dress and not be visible.). Stitch from the top of the pocket to the bottom. Repeat for other 3 pockets and side seams.

Step 13 – Press each of the pockets and seam allowances away from the dress.

Step 14 – Matching notches, pin the front and back dress together along both side seams, with right sides facing and the pockets extended.

Stitch down from the armhole, pivoting at dot, around the pocket, pivoting again at second dot, and down to the bottom of the dress. Repeat for the other side of the dress.

Step 15 – Clip the seam allowances for the back dress above and below the pocket. Press the seam allowances above and below the pocket open and press the pocket towards the dress front.

Step 16 – On the right side of your dress, press your pocket opening flat, with the pocket still lying against the front of your dress.

Put a few pins in to secure the pocket to the front of the dress. The pocket seam should hide about 1/8” inside the pressed fold of your pocket opening.

Make a small bar tack (about 3/8” long) through all layers just above and below the pocket opening. This will help support the pocket and keep it towards the front of the dress.

Repeat for other pocket. Keep pins in to help when hemming.

This next step is for View A (no pockets) only. If you are sewing View B skip to step 18.

Step 17 – With right sides together, sew up the side seams of your dress. Finish the seam allowances in your desired manner. This could be pinking, zigzag stitching or serging, but I highly recommend doing french seams for View A. The side seams are the only  exposed seams on the whole dress, so if you use french seams then it really will be as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. I am going to take you through the steps for french seams.

First stitch the sideseams together with wrong sides touching at 1/4″.

Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″.

Open up the seam. Press the seam allowance to one side.

Turn your dress inside out and press the seam, right sides touching.

Stitch the edge at 1/4″.

Open up and press the seam towards the back.

Step 18 – Prepare your armhole binding by folding it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and pressing.

Open it back up, fold each raw edge back in to meet the first foldline. Press.

Fold the whole thing back in half along the first foldline. It should look just like double fold bias tape.

Step 19 – Turn your dress inside out. Take one of the armhole bindings, and open one of its folded sides. Starting at the underarm seam, with about 1” of binding overlapping towards the dress back, pin the long, open edge of your binding around the armhole so that it is flush with the edge. The right side of the armhole binding should be touching the wrong side of your dress.

Step 20 – When you get to the underarm seam again, pin the armhole binding together, right sides touching, so that it fits snugly against the armhole. Mark the point where they meet up with chalk or a pen. Trim off the excess binding so that there is about 1” left on either end past your marking.

Step 21 – Unpin the binding just a couple of inches to the front and back of the underarm seam and pull the binding away from the dress. Unfold the binding and stitch it together where you previously marked it.

Step 22 – Trim the seam allowance to 1/4” and press open. Repin the binding to the bottom of the armhole and stitch around the entire armhole at 1/2” (within the crease).

Step 23 – Trim the armhole seam allowance to about 3/8” to reduce bulk.

Turn your dress right side out. Refold the armhole binding so that it is covering the seam allowance completely and reaching over onto the right side of the dress.

Make sure that it also covers the stitch line. Pin and press around the entire armhole. The armhole binding will slightly overlap the neckline facing and completely cover the visible shoulder seam and seam allowance.

Step 24 – Carefully edgestitch along the open edge of the armhole binding on the right side of your dress.

Repeat for other armhole. Press.

And that’s it for today. Tomorrow we will finish up the dress with the hem. Please let me know if you have any questions at all and tag your photos with #colfaxdress so that I can see your progress.

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  • Reply Tiffany Kirkpatrick April 14, 2016 at 6:03 PM

    Where is the navy handprint fabric from in the pics above?

    • Reply True bias April 15, 2016 at 11:47 AM

      It’s one I designed with my fabric designs. If you search for truebias on their site it will come up.

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