Over the past few weeks fashion writer, designer and sewing instructor Jamie Lau has shown us how to take an idea and turn it into a textile design for a custom dress! Today we wrap up her series as she shares how to put the finishing touches on an A-line shift dress.
Next, draw a parallel line ⅞” from the first line and cut along the true bias edges, creating a ⅞”-wide strip of bias fabric.
3. When pinning the bias facing around the garment neckline, pin the strip open at least 1” away from both sides of the shoulder seam, leaving 1” to 2” of the strip hanging on both ends.
4. Sew at a ¼” seam allowance along the neckline, removing the pins as you go.
5. Once you finish sewing around the circumference, pin the two ends of the bias strip together over the gap at the shoulder seam so that the bias strip fits the opening and lays flat against the garment.
Sew together and trim the seam allowances down to ¼”, then press open.
Sew the remainder of the bias strip to the garment at a ¼” seam allowance where it is still unattached near the shoulder seam and press again.
6. Next, I am going to understitch the seam allowances to the bias facing. This is a technique that will help the neckline lay flat and allow the bias facing to roll neatly to the inside of the garment so that no seams or bias facing will be visible on the outside of the garment. To do this, first press the seam allowances away from the garment and toward the bias facing. Next, understitch the seam allowances to the bias facing by sewing between 1/16” to ⅛” away from the seam line.
7. Press the bias facing toward the inside of the garment, rolling the seam line to the inside the garment.
8. Fold the remaining ¼” seam allowance under. Pin and press in place. Next, sew around the neckline between 1/16” to ⅛” away from the bias facing edge, removing the pins as you go. Sew through all layers of bias facing and fabric, then press.
Blind stitch hemming by machine
9. Now I am ready to move on to the final step - sewing the hem. First, finish the raw edge of the dress hem with a serger (overlock sewing machine). Then, change the settings on your sewing machine to blind stitch hemming and switch to a blind hem foot. On my machine, I turned the pattern selector dial to “8” (this consists of two or three straight stitches, then one wide zigzag stitch) and my zigzag width control from “0mm” to “2.5mm.”
10. Fold the serged hem edge under ⅝” toward the wrong side of the garment and give it a press. With the wrong side up, fold the hem back under toward the right side of the garment with the hem edge projecting ¼”, as pictured, and pin in place. Position the fabric on the machine so that the needle just pierces the folded part of the fabric when the needle comes over to the left side and lower the presser foot. Turn the guide screw on the blind hem foot and move the sliding guide next to the folded edge. Sew guiding the folded edge along the sliding guide, removing the pins as you go. (Tip: Do a few sewing tests on scrap fabric to figure out the best settings and placements first.)
The machine will sew a pattern of two or three straight stitches, then one wide zigzag stitch. When completed, the stitching is almost invisible on the right side of the fabric (there will be tiny tacks of thread from the zigzag stitch).
It feels so rewarding to create an entire dress design from start to finish - from drafting the pattern to designing an original textile print and sewing up my design. I am very satisfied with how my dress design turned out and look forward to making more in different sizes to add to my web store, as well as designing more of my own fabric prints for my dress designs.
If you have any questions about any of the above, feel free to comment below!
About Our Guest Author
Jamie Lau is a designer, sewing instructor, and fashion writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She received a sewing machine for her twenty-fifth birthday and hasn’t put it down since. For her line Jamie Lau Designs, Jamie transforms simple silhouettes into fashion-forward frocks sewn from Japanese prints, luxurious brocades, ikats, and her soon-to-be own original textile designs. In addition to doing custom work (including bridal), she teaches sewing, draping, and patternmaking courses at Textile Arts Center and across the country. Follow her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages for the latest updates and inspirations.