Farrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Back

Today we’ll be assembling the back of the Farrow dress. Let’s get started!

To begin align the angled edge of one of the back bodice pieces with one of the back skirt pieces. Make sure your right sides are facing each other. Stitch along this seam line at the 1/2″ seam allowance.


Finish your seam allowance as desired – we’ll be serging for this tutorial – and press the seam allowance towards the back of the garment.

I’m topstitching my seams on this linen version of the Farrow. It’s completely unnecessary, I just think it’s a cute detail on fabrics like this.

If you’re using a slippery fabric or a fabric that shifts a lot, like this Cotton + Steel rayon, I’ve got a little trick for you to reduce the bias stretch of the fabric on these angled seams. Cut a 1″ strip of woven interfacing on the straight grain. Align your back shirt fabric piece on top of the actual pattern piece to make sure your piece hasn’t stretched out of shape. Cut the 1″ strip of interfacing so that it fits the top seam line and fuse in place.

Note that if you’re using a taped together PDF pattern you will not want to iron on the tape!


Only fuse a strip to the back skirt piece so that it’s less visible on the inside of the garment and isn’t irritating to your skin. Align the back bodice and back skirt pieces and stitch along the seam line.

Finish your seam allowance and press towards the hem.

Repeat these steps for the other side of the back. At this point you’ll want to finish the center front seams. Again we’re serging in this tutorial and we’ve found it easiest to finish the seams before you sew them together because of the width of the serger foot. If you plan on using a zig zag stitch to finish yours now works great for that, but if you’re planning on finishing your seams using the turn and stitch method or by binding them if you’re not using too heavy of a fabric, you might want to wait on that till after the next steps.

Align your center back seams with the right sides of the garment facing and stitch along the seam line from the hem edge up to the top notch near the neckline. I usually baste the area above the notch closed so that I can get a good, even press in the next step, then take the basting out after I’ve pressed.

Press the seam allowances open, from the neckline to the hem edge.

It’s a bit hard to see here, but I’ve topstitched on either side of the seam line. If you’re topstitching you want to make sure that you stop at the notch for the back neck opening or you’ll have difficulty attaching the facings later.

That’s it for the back, next up is the front!

Patterns used in this tutorial

Farrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Back | Grainline StudioFarrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Back | Grainline Studio

6 replies on “Farrow Sew-Along: Assembling the Dress Back

  • Viv

    I’m really new to serging so I just want to make sure– if I finish the seam allowance before sewing, I’ll cut off about 1/4 inch of the fabric edge with the serger. That means I’ll end up sewing a 1/4 inch seam allowance because half of the original SA was cut, correct? It seems to be working out so far but my seam looks a lot smaller than the one in these pictures. Thanks!

  • Rebecca W. Johnson

    I need a longer back opening as it is easier for me to put on the dress. Would it be possible to accomplish this by inserting a zipper in the back of the dress rather than a hook and eye? Thank you.

  • happymichele

    I am using linen for my farrow dress and thought it was stable until I started to cut and realized it moves more than the Liberty prints I am used to. Based on your recommendations above, I fused a 1″ strip of fusible interface on the top of my skirt panel. Unfortunately, after I fused the interface to the top of the skirt, I noticed that that fused area of the skirt piece shrank. I thought it was in my head until I placed the skirt over the paper pattern and saw that indeed the top 1 inch had indeed decreased from side skirt to side skirt. Worried, I pulled the fusible off, thinking it would distort the skirt after assembling everything.

    Usually I use interfacing on an entire piece like a facing or armhole and never noticed shrinkage. I’ve never done it as a part of a piece. Is it normal for the fused area to shrink a bit? I didn’t notice it on your rayon fabric above. Or did I make a mistake and iron too long or did I perhaps used the wrong type of fusible interface?

    • Jen

      This one depends a lot on the fusible you’re using. Most of it is pre-shrunk these days but as you discovered some are not. You can soak the fusible in cool water, then hang to dry and supposedly that will pre-shrink it before application, though I’ve never tried it personally. You could test this out on a scrap piece as well as try fusing without a damp cloth or steam.


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