Today in the Felix Sew-Along we’ll be attaching our skirts to the front and back bodices and it all starts to look like a dress. I love the moment when a garment turns the corner from flat thing into something to wear! So, let’s get started!
To begin, lay your dress out so that the back bodice is out of the way and the front bodice self and lining are aligned with the right side of the bodice facing up. Lay the front self skirt on top of the bodice with the right side facing down and match the center front notches.
Pin from the center front notch to just over the neckband. This will be off center and that’s okay because we’re pinning from the center front over to the left side.
Stitch from one pin to the other, backtacking at either end.
The lining side of the bodice will look like this. You can see that I’ve stitched through all layers from the center front over to just past the neckband.
Lay your dress out as shown, the back of the bodice is still out of the way behind the garment.
Fold one side of the lining over the front so that it’s out of the way. We’re now going to attach the self skirt to the self bodice.
Flip the dress over and align the pocket notches together and pin. From the center front to that notch you’ll need to ease the skirt into the bodice. I recommend finding the centers of each section and pinning those together, then working outward from there. If you’re using a fabric with a lot of body you may want to place a few rows of gathering stitches to make the easing easier.
As for the pockets, align the inside edge and bottom of the pocket and pin together.
Head over to your machine. I like to sew with the fabric that I’m easing facing down. The feed dogs move the lower fabric through the machine at a slightly faster rate than the upper fabric so I like to use that to my advantage when easing. Begin by lowering the needle down into the point just in front of where the lining attaches to the bodice as shown above. Lower your presser foot, stitch forward a few stitches, then backtack to, but not over, that point and continue on.
When you get to the pocket, pivot down to sew the side of the pocket, then pivot again to sew the lower edge.
Here you can better see the first pivot point. Make sure that you maintain your 1/2″ seam allowance when pivoting down from the waistline seam to the pocket.
Repeat these steps for the other side of the bodice. You now have a dress that looks like this and the hardest part is over! Now we’re going to attach the front lining.
You’ll begin the same way as you did for the self skirt. Lay the bodice out with the lining side facing up and place the front skirt lining on top of it with the right side facing down. If you have a fabric like ours that is two sided, it doesn’t matter which side you place down because the pattern piece is symmetrical. Align the center front notches and pin from there, over to the exact point where you stopped stitching when attaching the center of the self skirt.
Stitch the skirt lining in place following the stitching line from the self skirt, again backtacking at either end.
Now move the self out of the way and align the waistline seams of the bodice and skirt lining. There is no easing for this part. Stitch across from the center out to the edge, sinking the needle as you did for the outer layer.
You now have both layers of the front attached! Since these layers are hidden by the dress being lined you don’t need to finish the seam allowance if you don’t want to. We still did because we found our outer fabric frayed a bit. If you’re finishing your edges follow the next few steps.
The easiest way to finish the seam allowances is doing each side separately, then the center front section where everything is anchored to the neckband.
You can see here that we clipped into the lining to move it out of the way to finish the seam line.
We’re not done with the front quite yet, we need to anchor our pockets in place! You can see them sticking out the side in the above photo.
Begin by pressing the skirt pocket under following the 1/2″ seam line of the waistline.
Align the side seams matching the understitching at the pocket and the notch at the side seam. Pin and stitch within the 1/2″ seam allowance to anchor the pocket in place. Repeat for the other side.
Now align the back self bodice and the back self skirt with right sides facing. Match the edges and center back notches. From there you can evenly align the remainder of the skirt to ease into the bodice. Again if you’re using a fabric with more body than this you may want to place a few lines of gathering stitches in before you pin.
Sew the two layers together and finish the seam allowance.
Press the seam allowance towards the bodice.
Now align the back lining bodice and skirt together with right sides facing and stitch from one edge to the other. Like the front there will be no easing on this layer. Finish the seam allowance as desired and press the seam allowance towards the skirt.
Your front and back dresses are now assembled! Next up we’ll be sewing the side seams together and after that we’re almost done! If you have any q’s let us know in the comments below, otherwise we’ll see you back here Wednesday.