This week I finally got back into the swing of things, sewing-wise, and made my very first Emery Dress - finally! I've been saying I was going to do it since it was released last fall! However, I'm glad I waited until after I learned a bit more about fitting. I did have to make several changes to the bodice, although the original form was passable. But that's why we sew, right? Or at least that's one of the reasons - to have a well-fitting garment.
I'm going to talk about my fitting changes in a separate post, since they may be helpful to some of you. None of the changes I made were difficult to do, and many of them were changes I've learned I need on pretty much any pattern. But there were some surprises in there.
I'm also not going to show you any pictures today of me wearing the dress, as I've just gotten back from a very long walk and don't quite have the energy to take photos! Here it is on a hanger though:
I'm very happy with it :-) I got several questions on Instagram about whether or not the fabric is vintage. It is in fact quilting cotton! I believe this print is no longer being produced, but it is called "Boxed Dozen" by Martha Negley. I'd been in love with it for quite a while, and when I came across it on clearance last year on Fabric.com, I immediately bought 4 yards.
Instead, today I thought I'd share how I did the lining on my sleeveless dress. I did a little google search and couldn't find any tutorials (on the first couple pages) for lining a sleeveless dress to the edge - most of what I saw was bias binding for the armholes. I'm not a big fan of bias binding, looks-wise; I much prefer pieces that are lined to the edge. But I can never remember how to do it and always have to look it up! So as I was making this dress, I made sure to take pictures of each step to share with you and as a reference to myself in the future. Because I think there will be many more sleeveless Emery dresses in my future :-)
Lining to the Edge on a Sleeveless Bodice
1. Cut out your outer and lining bodice pieces, front and back. Stay-stitch the necklines on all these pieces, as per the pattern instructions, and then sew and press the darts.
2. Sew the backs to the fronts on both the outer and lining pieces at the shoulder seams. Press these open, and trim the lining shoulder seams in half.
3. With right sides together, sew the lining to the outer at the neckline, starting and stopping 1.25" from the edge. I made a little mark at these positions to make it easier on myself.
4. Starting and stopping at the armhole curves, trim 1/8" off the edge of the armhole on the lining piece only, making it slightly narrower than the outer bodice. They will look like this:
5. Pull the edge of the lining over to match up with the edge of the outer, then sew the armhole seams.
6. Grade the armhole and neckline seams, then clip the curves. However, make sure not to cut away any of the neckline seam at the 1.25" you left unsewn - you'll need it to be there when you install the zipper.
7. Now turn the lined bodice right side out, pulling the back through the shoulder to the front:
8. Once the whole bodice has been turned right side out, give everything a nice press, making sure that the lining is pulled to the inside a bit. This will be really easy to do at the armhole edges, since a bit of extra was trimmed away. It will look like this - just a scant 1/16" of outer fabric showing:
Here's the whole bodice so far, pressed and ready to go on:
9. Now, pin the lining side seams and outer side seams right sides together. Sew this as one long, continuous seam:
Make sure to have the armhole seam allowance folded towards the outer side, like so:
Press these seams open. Now you have a bodice that is completely constructed and lined to the edge, but open at the center back for the zipper installation.
10. Assemble the skirt as per the instructions. Then attach the skirt to the outer bodice only, keeping the lining pulled up out of the way:
11. Finish the entire center back edge on both sides - I like to serge these edges. Still keeping the lining pulled out of the way, install the back zipper as per the instructions. The 1.25" opening you left at the neckline will make this easy to do. Once the zipper is in, you can finish sewing that last 1.25" of the neck seam.
12. Press up the waist edge of the lining 5/8" to prepare for attaching it to the waist. Then flip the lining piece to the outside of the bodice so that the right sides are together. Line up the center back edges and sew the lining to the zipper tape using a regular zipper foot. Note: you don't finish the center back edge of the lining, because you want to minimize bulk here.
13. Trim the corner, and also the remainder of the neckline (not shown here), then turn out the dress to the right side. Give everything a good press, then sew the waist edge of the lining to the waist seam of the dress by hand (or if you prefer, by stitching in the ditch from the right side).
Now all you've got left to do is to hem the dress! You shouldn't need to do any understitching, as the trimmed armhole on the lining should keep the lining from peeking out. If you want a little insurance understitching at the neckline, you can do this before closing up the lining in step 13. You won't be able to understitch the whole neckline, but you should be able to do most of the front. Or, you could understitch later by hand if you enjoy doing that - I sometimes do.
I'm very happy with the finish I got using this method, which I learned from Connie Long's Easy Guide to Sewing Linings. I hope this will be helpful to some of you too!