Flora Dress Sewalong #8: Assembling your tank bodice (Variation 2)

Aloha Sewalongers! All of you making the Flora Dress tank bodice variation - today is your day! And just feast your eyes upon this delicious and delightful floral lawn we're using for ours...

Today we will be:

  • Stitching darts
  • Assembling & basting the shoulder straps
  • Joining the bodice lining
  • Closing the side seams

*To be taken to all the posts in the Flora Dress Sewalong, please click here*

Step 1 - Darts

The first thing to do, to create the shaping on the bodice, is to stitch the darts at the bust and waistline on the bodice front, and the waistline darts on the bodice back.

Pinch a dart between your fingers, right sides of the fabric together, and pin the dart into place matching the notches and the dart legs that we marked out in the last post.

Start your line of machine stitching at the notches, remembering to back stitch to secure your line of stitching, and ending at the dart's vanishing point.

Press bust darts down, and waistline darts towards the side seams. Repeat for lining.

Step 2 - Assembling the shoulder straps

Before we join the bodice lining to the shell (NB. the "shell" is simply the outside of your bodice, made up in your main fabric), we first need to assemble and baste the shoulder straps.

Take one pair of shoulder strap pieces and place them right sides together. Stitch the long lengths with a 3/8" or 10mm seam allowance, as indicated by the notches. Repeat for second pair of shoulder strap pieces.

Using pinking shears (zigzag fabric scissors), trim away the excess seam allowance - but not too close to the stitches!

Now turn out the shoulder straps to the right side and give them a goooood press.

For a pretty alternative to the wider shoulder straps provided in the Flora Dress pattern, we also have a tutorial on how to make quick and easy rouleau straps, which look super cute on the Flora!

Step 3 - Basting straps & joining lining

In this step, we are going to baste the shoulder straps and join the lining kind of simultaneously. In a nutshell - we start by basting one end of the straps to the bodice front, then join the bodice front lining, then baste the loose ends of the straps to the bodice back, and finally join the bodice back lining. OK, phase one...

Start by taking your bodice front and laying it out, right side facing you. Place one end of your straps - pointing down towards the waistline - along the neckline of your bodice front, 5/8" or 15mm in from the armhole's edge.

Baste the straps ends into place with a straight machine stitch, 3/8" or 10mm seam allowance as opposed to the usual 5/8" or 15mm. This is so that the basting stitches don't show when we come to joining the lining with the usual 5/8" or 15mm.

Still with your bodice front laid out and right side facing you, place your bodice lining, right side facing down onto the bodice shell. Pin the shell and lining together all along the neckline and armholes (your straps will be hidden inside for now).

Stitch into place, being careful not to catch the sides of the straps, and pivoting at the corners.

Clip into the seam allowance at the curves and snip the two corners to enable you to turn the bodice out to the right side and give it a good press. It should look something like this (yay!):

And now we come to phase two...

Take your bodice back pieces, and lay them out, right sides facing you. Take your bodice front (which is now complete with straps and lining) and lay it down, right side facing the bodice back, and pin the loose ends of the straps to the bodice back neckline, just as you did before in phase one.

Baste straps into place as before.

Now take you bodice back lining pieces and lay them (right sides together) onto the bodice back shell. The bodice front will now be sandwiched between the bodice back shell and lining. Pin all along the neckline and armholes.

Stitch as before, clip into the curves and turn to the right side and press. Look!

Step 3 - Side seams

The final thing to do now is to close the side seams of the shell and lining, which we're going to do in one fell swoop - easier than it sounds and results in a flawless finish both inside and out.

Lay out your bodice. You'll see that you have four layers of unstitched fabric at the side seams: the two outer layers make up the bodice shell and the two inner layers making up the lining.

Start by pinning together the two inner lining side seams, matching the waistline and underarm. You'll see now that you can actually continue pinning, as once you've gotten to the underarm seam of the lining, it simply continues into the side seam of the bodice shell.

Once it's all pinned into place, stitch the side seams of the lining and shell in one continuous line.

Repeat for the other side, and press seams open.

Woo hoo all done!! Hopefully our gloriously floral fabric has brightened up your Monday, even if just a smidge. If not, Fats Domino always does the trick for me, any day of the week. 

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
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