Ahoy there Sewalongers! This week things start looking real good… and today we’ll be getting the bulk of it done and making up the bodice of the Elisalex Dress, sleeveless. For those of you making up the dress with sleeves, your bodice post can be found here.
If you are making the Reversalex (and excitingly it seems that a lot of you are!), this is the bodice post you need to be following. The sleeveless Elisalex bodice is reversible by nature, in that it is finished flawlessly and there are no visible seams or raw edges. When we refer to the lining in this post, that's really just the flip-side of your reversible bodice.
So assuming you’re not too traumatised by the FBA post last week, let’s start sewing!
*In case you’ve just joined us, click here to be taken to all the Elisalex Dress Sewalong posts*
Today’s post will be broken down as follows:
- Princess seams at the back
- Princess seams at the front
- Shoulder seams
- Repeat for lining
- Joining bodice to lining
- Side seams
Step 1: Princess seams at the back
We’re going to start by joining the Side Back panels to the Centre Back pieces. Princess seams (the rounded seams on the bodice that hug our curves creating that beautifully feminine shape) can be a little fiddly at first, getting the hang of easing the two rounded edges together. The back pieces are much easier, so let’s start with those!
Gather your Bodice Back pieces – 2x Centre Back & 2x Side Back panels, and a bunch of pins.
With right sides together, place the Side Back panel onto the Centre Back piece and begin pinning the curved edges together from the waistline, matching the notch and underarm.
*TIP: when manipulating fabric together, especially at curved seams or sleeve heads, it is important to remember that you are matching the two pieces along the line at which they will be stitched ie. 5/8″ from the raw edge. Do not try to match the pieces together at the raw edge!*
Stitch into place, remembering the 5/8″ or 15mm seam allowance. Don’t forget to backstitch at the start and finish of your line of stitching! Press towards the side seam.
Repeat this on the other Centre Back piece, and finish your seams either by overlocking/serging or trimming the excess seam allowance.
Step 2: Princess seams at the front
Now we’re going to do the exact same thing to the front pieces. This will be a little trickier as we have a more dramatic curve to ease in.
Pin the Side Front panel to the Centre Front piece, right sides together, matching waistline, notches and underarm. At this point, the more pins the better! A good way to do this is to first pin at the waistline, then at the notches and underarm, then keep filling in the gaps with more pins!
Carefully stitch into place. Repeat for the other panel, press seams towards the side seams and finish excess seam allowance.
Step 3: Shoulder seams
Hard part over! Now, with right sides together, pin the Bodice Front to the Bodice Back at the shoulders.
Stitch, press open, finish excess seam allowance.
Repeat Steps 1-3 for the Bodice Lining - DO NOT CLOSE THE SIDE SEAMS!
Step 4: Joining the lining to the bodice
This is where things differ from the construction of the Elisalex Dress bodice with sleeves... First, we're going to join the bodice and the lining, and then we turn it all out to the right side and close up the side seams at the end. Confused? Don't worry. It's totally straight forward and you'll end up with a flawlessly constructed, reversible bodice.
Lay out one of your bodices flat, right side up. Now lay the other bodice directly on top, right sides together. Pin the two bodices together along the neckline and armholes.
Stitch along the neckline and armholes. Snip the curves or trim the excess seam allowance.
Now (and it was impossible to take a clear photo of this process so bear with me...) carefully pull the back pieces through the shoulder straps and out of the front piece to turn your bodice to the right side. Press the neckline and armholes.
Step 5: Side seams
How the f*** is this gonna work??? we hear you cry!
OK, lay down your bodice, side seams together. Start by pinning the side seams (right sides together of course!) of one face of your bodice, from the waistline up to the underarm.
You will now see that you can continue this pinning straight down the side seam of the other face of your bodice seeing as they are connected at the underarm:
And when that continuous line of bodice and lining side seam is pinned and you turn it to the right side it should look like this:
When you're happy, stitch into place, being extra careful that your underarm seams match as perfectly as possible. Press the seam open, finish the excess seam allowance and repeat on the other side.
And look! A reversible sleeveless bodice!
And that is that for today guys! Before we go into the construction of the tulip skirt, we’ll be back soon with a little tutorial on how to add side seam pockets – not just to the Elisalex Dress, but to pretty much anything with a side seam! Until the next time, ciao for now!