It’s an easy day today in the Felix Sew-Along, today we’ll be attaching our pocket pieces. It’s pretty straightforward, especially after the last two sew-along posts.
Begin by taking two of your pocket pieces to use for the bodice. If you lay them out as shown above it’s easy to make sure you’re sewing everything in place correctly.
Flip one pocket piece up onto the bodice and align the side seam edge and the notch. The right sides of the pocket and bodice will be facing. Stitch across the pocket using a 3/8″ seam allowance. This will ensure that the seam line stays hidden later.
Repeat for the other side.
Grade the seam allowance of the pocket pieces in half.
Press both pockets down, away from the bodice and edge stitch along the seam line through the pocket and both layers of seam allowance.
Here you can better see the edge stitching.
And here’s a view of what you’re looking at from the back! Set the bodice aside.
Now we’ll attach the pocket pieces to the skirt. Align the pocket and skirt as shown above, matching the side seam and notch with the right sides facing. Stitch across the seam line using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Grade the seam allowance of the pocket as you did for the bodice.
Repeat for the other side and press the pockets up, away from the skirt.
Understitch along the seam line through the pockets and both layers of seam allowance. Your pockets are now attached! In our next Felix sew-along post we’ll sew the bodice and skirts together, so get ready for that on Monday. If you have any questions on attaching your pockets before then, let us know in the comments below!
Today we’ll be attaching the neckband to the bodice. This is a bit of a non-standard procedure but it produces a completely clean finish and might make you feel like a bit of a sewing magician in the process! I won’t show you how to construct the bodice unlined since we’re sticking pretty close to the intended instructions, as we do for all of our sew alongs. If you’d like to make the bodice unlined, it helps to think of the neckband as more of a facing. So with that, let’s dive in!
Lay your self bodice out so that with the right side facing up as shown above. Place the neckband over top of it with the outside facing down. Pin from the angled end, through the shoulder and center back, over to the other shoulder seam.
You can see in this closeup that the inside of the neckband (the side with the understitching) is facing up.
Sew the neckband and bodice together within the 1/2″ seam allowance along the area you had pinned. We sewed ours at 3/8″.
Clip the neckline of the bodice to, but not through the seam line along the center back neck between the shoulder seams.
Your bodice now looks like this from the wrong side.
Lay the bodice out so that the wrong side of the self fabric is facing down and the neckband is facing up. Place the bodice lining over top with the right side facing down. Align the angled end, the shoulder seams, and the center back. Stitch along the 1/2″ seam line through both layers of the bodice and the neckband. Backtack at the shoulder.
Grade the seam allowance as shown above. The lining will be graded to the shortest width, followed by the seam allowance of the neckband.
Press the lining away from the neckband from the angled edge up to about the intersection of the underarm and side seam. Then press the self bodice away from the neckband to the same point at the underarm.
Align the angled edges of the self and lining and sew them together within the seam allowance, approximately 1/4 – 3/8″.
Flip your bodice so that the right side is facing up and bring the loose end of the neckband down as shown above.
We’ll be attaching the un-sewn section of the neckband to the angled edge now.
Bring the right side of the top layer of the neckband over to align with the angled edge of the bodice. You’ll want the top notch of the neckband to sit right at the neckline edge.
Bring the other side of the neckband around to the lining side of the bodice as shown above.
Here we’ve flipped the bodice over so that the lining is facing up and aligned the inside edge of the neckband with what we pinned on the front.
Stitch through both layers of the neckband and the bodice to anchor the neckband in place.
This is what you’ll be looking at from the right side after it’s sewn.
Grade the seam allowance by trimming as shown above.
Press both sides of the neckband away from the left front bodice. Pin the loose edges of the neckband together and stitch inside the seam line (approx. 3/8″) to anchor the two layers together.
Flip the right bodice self over top of the neckband and align the edges. Sew the right bodice self and neckband together just inside the 1/2″ seam allowance from the point where you stopped stitching previously, down to the waistline edge.
Flip the bodice over and align the right bodice lining in the same manner. Stitch along the 1/2″ seam line from the shoulder seam where you previously stopped stitching, down to the center front waistline. You have now attached the right front to the neckline.
Grade the seam allowance of the remainder of the neckline as you did previously with the lining as the shortest layer, followed by the neck band.
Finally, press the remainder of the self and lining away from the neckband. You’ve now attached your neckband and the hardest part of the entire dress is over. Well done!! If you have questions let me know below.
Okay, are you all ready to finally start sewing? Today we’ll be assembling the neckband of the dress as well as the self and lining bodices. Let’s dive in!
Begin by aligning the neckband pieces as shown above. Place the longer right neckbands down face up, then the shorter left neckbands on top of them face down, aligning the center back seam. Stitch across the center back seam line.
Press the center back seam allowances open. Lay your neckband pieces out as shown above. The neckband in the top of this photo will become the inside neckband and the lower will become the outer neckband. Grade the seam allowance of the inside neckband in half.
Align the inner edge of the two neckbands. Match the end of the left side, the center back seam lines, and the notch at the right side. Stitch from the left side, up through the center back, and over to the notch at the right side, ending here with a backtack.
The edge of the right side will look like this.
Clip into the seam allowance at the notch to, but not through, the stitching line. Trim the entire seam allowance down to 1/4″, then trim the top layer (inside neckband) down to 1/8″.
Here you can see a better view of the clip to the seam allowance at the notch.
Open the neckband flat and press the seam allowance towards the inside neckband from the notch/clip all the way over to the end of the left side.
Understitch along the seam line through the inside neckband and both layers of seam allowance. You’ll stitch from the left end, up around through the center back, ending a stitch or two before the split at the right end.
Here you can better see the right end of the neckband. You can see how I stopped about a stitch before the notch/clip.
Fold the raw edges of the neckband together so that the right sides are facing out. Pin from the left edge, up through the center back, ending at the shoulder notch on the right side of the neckband.
Anchor the two neckband layers together by stitching within the seam allowance along the pinned edge.
The left end of your neckband will look like this at this step.
Here you can see that we stopped anchoring the two layers together at the shoulder notch on the right side of the neckband. Set neckband aside.
Now take your self front bodice pieces and staystitch along the neckline edge within the seam allowance. We stitched ours here at 1/4″.
Align the shoulder seams of the bodice fronts and back with right sides facing. Stitch along the seam allowance.
Press your seam allowances open.
You now have your front bodice ready to attach the neckband.
Now we’ll assemble the bodice lining. Most lining fabrics don’t have a clear right or wrong side which means it’s very very easy to sew your bodice lining together backwards. To prevent this from happening, lay your self bodice out with the right side facing up. Then lay the right front bodice lining on top of the right front side. You’ll need the side of the lining that’s facing up now to be the right side of your fabric while you’re sewing. Mark RS on a piece of painter’s or artist’s tape and stick that to the right side of the bodice lining.
Repeat this for the left front. It will now be impossible to sew your bodice lining together backwards!
Align the bodice lining fronts and backs at the shoulders with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. You can see the outlines of our tape marks above facing inwards. Stitch across the shoulder seam.
Press the seam allowances open and set aside.
That’s it for today! Wednesday we’ll be back here attaching the neckband so stay tuned for that!
Today we’re going to be cutting our dresses as well as prepping our pieces to sew by applying the fusible interfacing. I love getting that step out of the way all at once in the beginning so you don’t have to keep pulling out your press cloth and interrupting your sewing. So with that, let’s get cutting!
Cutting Your Dress
Cutting the Felix is pretty straightforward, and you’ll need to cut your self fabric (again this is the main fabric), your lining, and your fusible interfacing. If you’re using a slippery fabric such as a silk, you may want to cut it between paper, as we show in this tutorial, but for rayon, linen, and cotton you should be just fine cutting normally. We cut our rayon dresses just like we’d cut chambray. Trace the pattern piece out, pin, and cut! A lot of you have asked and no, I don’t do any starching or soaking of the fabric in gelatin.
When cutting according to the pattern layouts you’ll notice that we have pieces 1 & 2 stacked along with this text in the cutting instructions: Please note you will need to trim piece 2 to size after cutting. In order to cut on the fold and save fabric space we have you cut two of piece 1 during your initial cutting of the pattern pieces.
After you’ve cut two of piece 1, lay them out and place the pattern for piece 2 on top of the left front. Trim along the center front to create the angled edge. You now have pieces 1 and 2 cut.
Fabric Piece Guides
Because there are so many pieces to cut I’ve laid out these maps of what you should have for each view after you’re done cutting. By double checking that you have everything you need before moving on to fusing and sewing, you can save time by not having to get your fabric out and pressed again later to cut anything you may have forgotten.
Interfacing the Neckbands
Now that everything is cut, we’re going to apply the interfacing. When working with slippery fabrics that can shift out of shape like rayon or linen, I often like to use the following method to make sure the pieces stay in shape while fusing.
We’re starting with piece 4 here. You’ll need to trace one with the pattern piece right side up, and one with it wrong side up. The reason I trace rather than laying the fabric out on top of the pattern piece is that the heat it takes to fuse the interfacing can distort the paper pattern. If you want to use that piece again that’s not a great option.
On the left here you can see how easily the rayon wants to shift out of shape. On the right the piece has been aligned to the correct shape inside the traced pattern piece.
Fuse the interfacing to the fabric on top of the paper according to the instructions included with your fusible interfacing.
Repeat these steps for the left neckbands. Remove all neckband pieces from the paper and set aside.
Applying the Interfacing Strips
Since this pattern is cut from shifty fabric and has many seam lines that fall on the bias, we’re going to do a bit of extra fusing to keep things from stretching out of shape while you work. In these next steps we’ll be fusing the interfacing strips you cut from the remainder of your interfacing yardage in a few select spots. The strips should be 5/8″ wide so that they overhang the 1/2″ seam allowance by 1/8 of an inch.
Trace the left front pattern piece onto a sheet of paper. You’ll be tracing the pattern piece upside down since we’re applying the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. Align the left front.
Fuse a strip of bias interfacing to the neckline edge of the piece. Then fuse another bias strip to the angled front edge.
Take a strip of interfacing cut on the straight grain and fuse it along the shoulder of the piece. Remove from the paper and set aside.
Repeat these steps for the right front fusing a bias strip to the neckline edge and a straight grain piece to the shoulder. Remove and set aside.
For the back bodice you’ll first fuse a bias strip of interfacing along the neck edge, then a straight grain piece on each shoulder seam.
You can optionally apply a piece of interfacing to the skirt and bodice pocket seam. It’s not completely necessary, though it may help keep things aligned if you’re working with a fabric that has a lot of bias stretch. It won’t cause anything to sit away from your body in the way the neckline does if you skip this step, which is why you definitely want to apply the fusible to the pieces above.
That’s it for cutting and fusing. There was a lot I wanted to say in this post so hopefully it came across clearly. If you have questions let me know in the comments below and we’ll be back here Monday to start sewing!
Patterns Used in this Tutorial
Length Adjustment Method 1
There are a few ways to lengthen or shorten the bodice which will also result in a lowered or raised neckline. The first one is shortening the bodice above the V placement but below the armhole.
To begin, choose a place above the V but below the armhole on your pattern. Draw a line across the pattern perpendicular to the center front line.
Cut across the pattern along this line. You’ll now either spread or overlap the pieces depending on whether you want to lengthen or shorten the pattern piece. We’ll be shortening it here so we’re overlapping our pattern pieces.
Blend along the side seam and front neckline to smooth the jagged edges created when you adjusted the pieces. This is your new pattern piece. You’ll want to perform this same adjustment to the other front, the back bodice, and both neckband pieces. Walk the seam lines of your new pattern pieces to make sure your adjustments were uniform throughout the different pattern pieces and if they match, you’re good to cut your new pattern pieces from fabric!
Length Adjustment Method 2
The second way that you can adjust the bodice length is through the armhole and neckline. This will raise the armhole as well as the neckline so if you feel that you need to raise your armhole this is a great choice.
To begin this adjustment place a line through the armhole above the notch perpendicular to center front.
Cut across the pattern along this line. Same as we did above, you’ll now either spread or overlap the pieces depending on whether you want to lengthen or shorten the pattern piece. We’ll be shortening it here so we’re overlapping our pattern pieces.
Blend along the side seam and front neckline to smooth the jagged edges created when you adjusted the pieces. This is your new pattern piece. You’ll want to perform this same adjustment to the other front, the back bodice, and both neckband pieces. Additionally since we went through the armhole, we’ll need to adjust our sleeve cap.
The sleeve cap adjustment is the same no matter which sleeve you’re using, but we’re showing you on the flutter sleeve since it’s possibly a shape people are less used to looking at. To begin, draw a line perpendicular to the grain line above the front and back notches. You can eyeball this or measure along the seam line of the armhole and sleeve cap, but you want this line to more or less correspond to the point you cut on the bodice.
From there, cut across the line and overlap the pieces the same amount you took out of your bodice (or added if you were lengthening).
You’ll now blend the sleeve cap as shown above, between the notches and the top of the sleeve. Walk your new sleeve with the armhole of the bodice to make sure you’re adjustments were precise and make adjustments if needed.
Length Adjustment Method 3
If the bodice is the proper length for your torso but you’d still like to raise the v, this is an easy method to do so that doesn’t involve pattern drafting. It’s a combination of the methods we’ve used to lengthen and shorten the bodice and is relatively quick and easy.
Note how much you want to raise the V. Split this amount in half and use that measurement shorten the bodice through both the armhole and side seam. Then cut along the lengthen / shorten line printed on your pattern and lengthen the pattern the full amount that you shortened the top half.
Blend the side seam and neckline to smooth the jagged edges you created by adjusting the length.
This is your new pattern piece! Note that you’ve raised the armhole by following this method. If you do need your armhole lower, you can trace the original armhole onto this piece, or simply lower it the amount you feel you need for your body. You’ll need to make these same adjustments to the other front, the back bodice, both necklines, and, if you keep the raised armhole, the sleeve. Walk your seam lines after these adjustments are complete to make sure you’ve done the same adjustment to each pattern piece, and if all aligns you’re free to cut your fabric. This might be a great place to do another muslin though to check the adjusted fit.
Full & Small Bust Adjustments
Now lets talk Full Bust Adjustments. The Felix is drafted for a B cup (like all our patterns) so if you’re a C you may be able to get away without a FBA. If you’d like to do a small bust adjustment you would do the opposite of what I’m showing here. This is the same as any other dartless F(S)BA so if you have a method you use that works well for you, go ahead and use that.
The first thing you need to do before you start your full bust adjustment is to figure out how much of an adjustment you’ll need. To begin you’ll need your upper bust measurement and your full bust measurement. Once you have those you’ll subtract your upper bust from your full bust. If the number you get when you subtract your upper bust from your full bust (the total adjustment) is over 2″ (B cup) you may need a full bust adjustment, whereas if the number you get is 2″ o
To start I prefer to tape the upper and lower pattern pieces together along the stitching line so that you’re performing the adjustments on one piece rather than two. You can definitely adjust the top and then spread the bottom piece to match the added width though, it’s just what you find works for you.
Usually when working with a full front that’s seamed such as the Farrow or Yates I like to tape the two pieces together and work the bust adjustment as one piece. In the case of the Felix since the skirt is gathered, we’re going to work on just the bodice. Since the skirt is eased in we’ll measure it at the end to see if we want or need to add extra width to it.
Locate the apex of your bust and mark. We highly recommend making a muslin to mark your exact apex for the most exact adjustment. Everyone’s apex falls at a different place and the only exact way to find it is to try the garment on and mark it yourself. If you followed along with our previous Felix post and made a muslin, you’ll have this point already.
Draw a line from the apex out to the side seam. Next you’re going to draw a vertical line from the apex down to the hemline of the pattern piece making sure to keep the line parallel to the CF / grain line. From there draw a line connecting the apex to the approximate center of the armscye. These are the lines that will form the full bust adjustment.
Slash through the hemline to the bust and up to the armscye taking care to cut to, but not through, the pattern at that point. You want to make sure that the two pieces are hinged together. Then slice through the line connecting the side seam to the apex, taking care to not cut through the apex point, you want the pieces hinged. You’ll then open the vertical slit the amount of your full bust adjustment making sure that the two edges of the opening are parallel.
You’ll notice that when you move the side out for the adjustment it becomes longer than the stationary part of the pattern. Use the lengthen / shorten lines printed on the pattern to realign the pattern piece. Cut along this line and lower the newly freed piece so that it’s even with the lengthen / shorten lines on the outer section.
This method of adjustment results in a dart being formed. Fold the dart legs together bringing the lower dart leg up to meet the upper, and re-blend the side seam. I like to score the bottom dart leg and center line lightly with an awl to help the pattern fold right where you want it to on the first try.
You can either cut across the side seam / dart or mark it with a pattern tracing wheel and cut when the dart is open. This is your new right front bodice piece.
Rather than doing the same thing to the left front bodice, trace out a copy of the right front onto a piece of paper. Lay the left front bodice piece on top of it (the pattern piece will be upside down) and align the shoulders. Trace the center angled line onto the paper and extend it to meet the lower edge of the bodice.
Cut the pattern piece out and flip so that the right side is facing up. You now have adjusted pieces for the right and left fronts. Keep in mind that since we lengthened the front bodices you’ll need to make the same length adjustment to the right neckband and the back bodice. You’ll also need to make a width adjustment to the front skirt lining if you’re using that piece.
Depending on the size of your bust adjustment you may need to adjust the front skirt piece. If you did a small bust adjustment I do recommend making the front skirt a bit narrower since you may have trouble easing the skirt into the bodice. If you did a full bust adjustment you can measure the waist seam lines of the bodice and skirt and make a call on whether you want or need to add more fullness. If you do want to add, draw a line parallel to the center front in approximately the same place that the vertical line of your bust adjustment fell on piece 1.
Now spread the two pattern pieces keeping the hem level. The amount you spread will either be the amount your bodice spread or slightly less if you want the skirt less full. You do need to make sure that your skirt waistline doesn’t end up smaller than the bodice waistline seam, but that’s the main consideration here.
Now blend across the waistline of the skirt and you have your new front skirt pattern piece. Your bust adjustment is complete!
That’s it for pattern adjustments, I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions just let us know below, otherwise we’ll be back Friday for cutting and fusing!
Patterns Used in this Tutorial
I’ve decided to break our typical pattern adjustment post down into two segments so that we can go into a bit more detail and talk about making a muslin. We *always* recommend making a muslin for a new pattern, especially if it’s a style you aren’t used to wearing. In this post we’ll cover making a muslin, gathering what info you need from your muslin, blending between sizes, and lengthening and shortening the bodice and skirt. Please refer to our previous post on choosing a size if you’re unsure which size you should muslin.
Making a Muslin
Cut one layer of the fronts and back out of muslin. Sew the shoulder and side seams together and press the seam allowances open.
Cut one layer of the neckband pieces. Sew them together as shown and press the seam allowance open.
Align the ends and notches/shoulder seams of the neckline and neckband. Stitch along the seam line and press the seam allowances towards the neckband. Stitch along the 1/2″ seam allowance of the neckline so that you can see where the actual finished neckline will lay.
Sew the two fronts together along the flat edge of the left front to close the front of the dress. Press the seam allowance up in the same direction it has already been pressed. You may want to press the neckline seam allowance under at this point.
Now you can try on the bodice and see what sort of adjustments you may need to make. You can see above where the bust point and seam of the waistline seam should fall. You’ll want to mark where your bust point hits as well, especially if you think you’ll want to do any sort of bust adjustment. Your muslin should give you a pretty good idea of what adjustments you might need to make. For example, if your bust point level hits pretty close to the line shown above, but your waist hits higher or lower, you’ll want to adjust the lower portion of the bodice.
Blending Between Sizes
As we discussed in the previous post on choosing a size, if you happen to be a smaller size in the bust than hip, you can check the finished garment measurements to see if you need to make adjustments. If you happen to have the opposite problem, your hip measurement is smaller than the bust, you may want to blend between sizes. In this example we’ll be blending from a size 10 at the bust to a 6 at the hip.
The light blue above is our new pattern piece. You can see that we kept the 10 untouched above the underarm point, and started blending to the 6 along the side seam approximately at the side seam notch. Repeat for the back bodice piece. In this example you would cut a 10 sleeve and neckband, and a 6 skirt. Make sure that when you blend you’re blending between the bust and hip so that you maintain the original measurements of each section.
Basic Length Adjustments
This method is the easiest way to lengthen or shorten your Felix bodice because it only affects one of neckbands and avoids the armhole. If you need to lengthen or shorten your bodice below the V – this is where you’ll want to do that. We’ll be lengthening in this example.
To begin, cut your bodice along the lengthen / shorten line printed on the pattern. Spread the pattern pieces the amount you need to lengthen, or overlap them the amount you need to shorten.
Blend any jagged edges along the side seam and neckline edge, then cut your new pattern piece. You’ll need to make this same change to all pattern pieces affected, so in this case it would be the other front neckline, the back bodice, and the right front neckband.
The same method applies to the skirt pieces, though you can also add or subtract from the hem. After you’ve finished your adjustments, walk the seam lines of your pattern pieces to make sure that everything aligns before you cut your fabric, and you’ll be all set!
That’s it for today. We’ll be back Wednesday with more adjustments for you. If you have any questions on these, let us know in the comments below!
Patterns Used in this Tutorial
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