There's one thing left to do before KCW starts, however. And that's my final post about my new Cashmerette Washington/ Lekala 4119 frankenpattern dress. I had the fabulous idea to double over the top so that I would be able to use a fairly sheer fabric, and so that I could skip hemming the neckline and armholes. When I cut it and sewed the two separate bodice layers, it was still pretty straightforward. Then I sewed the two parts together at the neckline, right sides together. Easy. And then? I sat staring at my creation for quite a while. Obviously just sewing the armholes while still having lined up the two bodices right sides together would make it impossible to turn the whole thing right side out.
I finally remembered what a friend had told me on how to attach the lining in another dress a while ago: "It feels wrong all the time." Unfortunately, I didn't finish the dress at the time. Okay, so let's have a go. If it's supposed to feel wrong all the time, then trying it out probably is the only way to find out if it works, right?
Step 1: Push the seam allowances in from the outside
When the two individually sewn bodices are joined at the neckline, turn them right sides out again. At this point, it still feels right. Just make sure that the two bodices are lined up correctly, that is shoulder seam with shoulder seam and underarm seam with underarm seam, not twisted anywhere. Then push in the seam allowances of both pieces at either the shoulder or the underarm seam and pinch all four layers together with your fingers.
Step 2: Align seam allowances from the inside
Now reach in between the two layers from the bottom (the edge that will be attached to the yoke/ skirt) and grab the seam allowances in the same spot you're pinching from the outside. Flip the outer bodice up and make sure the (shoulder or underarm) seams are aligned.
Step 3: Pin
Now pin. I used wonderclips instead of regular pins to avoid pricking my fingers and for added stability. Actually this was the first time ever that I've found these to be more useful than pins, but then again I haven't had these for very long.
At this point it really starts to feel awkward. From the spot you pinched from the outside, slowly move along the edges and pin/ clip every two inches or so. Make sure that both underarm seams and shoulder seams of both pieces are aligned. As you work your way around the armhole seamline, it feels more and more strange because the two bodice pieces seem to be twisted. Don't worry, just go on. You can very carefully check your progress by gently turning the to bodices right sides out again - but make sure not to mess with the pins or wonderclips. Turn it back inside out/ right sides together.
When you've pinned all the way around, you'll be able to place your arm in a tunnel between the neckline (which is already sewn in place) and the armhole edge you're about to sew.
Step 4: Sew
Okay, time to find out if you've done it correctly :-) Sew along the line you've just pinned. As you progress, the whole piece will twist around itself - and feel very, very wrong. I had to place small strips of parchment paper under the fabric while sewing because the fabric was so thin. See how the bodice pieces twist and the seam on the parchment paper seems to disappear in a huge mess? That's how it's supposed to look!
As soon as you turn the bodice inside out, the armhole seam will be perfectly fine - and you're ready to tackle the second armhole :-)
When I decided to sew the bodice this way, I was hoping to make things easier by not having to hem or bind the neckline and armholes. Now I'm not so sure it was actually easier. But it definitely worked pretty well for using the fairly sheer and slinky jersey knit that was sitting in my stash waiting for a suitable project. I don't think I could have found a suitable project to use this in a single layer.
So much for selfish sewing, now on to preparing some PJs for my kids. Kid's Clothes Week, here I come!