A Little Slapdash Sewing

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So. I still haven't begun to take apart the chambray dress. But I am very pleased with the way I finished the armholes, so I thought I would share that with you all.

To recap: I added both a lining and piping to the bodice of The Monique Dress. Everything was going very smoothly, see?


 I dutifully graded and clipped the neckline seam allowance, then I tried to turn it right side out as described many places about the web (most recently at The Slapdash Sewist). Alas! The straps are quite narrow and with the addition of corded piping, there was no possibility to turn the bodice right side out through the shoulder "tunnels".

I posted the above photo in the pattern modifications forum at Pattern Review.com and got one response telling me that there was nothing to be done with the piping already in place. Well. I knew there had to be something. But here I am, away from home during renovations, all my sewing references packed away, etc. So I made something up.

First, I picked out the stitching along the armholes.

Then, I made bias strips from my lining fabric (bemburg rayon). This is not an easy task without my rotary cutter and mat. Slippy slippy slippy.

I then pressed the bias in half lengthwise and pinned it to the armhole, raw edges together. I used a technique I like to call "The Thousand Pin Method".

Next I stitched the bias to the armhole using my zipper foot.

Here are my stitch settings for that part: a straight stitch almost 3mm long and moved to the left almost 2mm (to get the stitching as close as possible to the piping).

I then graded and clipped my seam allowances. Here you can see that I made a "sandwich", if you will, of the seam allowances. The bodice seam allowance was left as is, but clipped. The piping seam allowances were graded one side shorter than the other. The bias was left as is (it didn't add significant bulk, and I felt it would help hold everything in place).

The next step was to trim away the seam allowance on the armholes of the bodice lining. This proved to be fairly easy because the holes from my previous stitching were visible. Then I pressed the bias back over the bodice lining and secured it again using The Thousand Pin Method.

Finally, I hand stitched the bias to the lining. I think this is called a catch stitch, but all of my hand sewing has been self-taught, so don't quote me on that one.

Here's what the finished armholes look like: on the inside

and the outside

And to entertain myself through all of this craziness, I watched episode after episode of Mad Men. (I am trying to catch up to the current season.) While watching a show with fabulous vintage fashion might be inspiring, I suppose it could also be a tad distracting...

Comments (4)

Well, I certainly wouldn't call that slapdash! It looks very neat and tidy. Can't wait to see the finished product!

Good save on the project! It is beautiful on the inside.

I love the name --- thousand pin method! Nice job --- looks clean and beautiful!

Wow - good on you for such a good fix! I inow you've already solved your problem for this dress, but there's a fabulous tutorial here:

http://buzzybeesworld.blogspot.com/2010/07/tricks-of-trade-all-in-one-facings.html

which might be helpful for a similar project in the future. (And doesn't tv make it all so much less painful?)