Thursday, November 13, 2014

Swirl Sew-along : Part 5 : Bodice Facing and Pockets

In our last post, we put our bodices together.  Now we finish the bodice!

Get the three bodice facing pieces (one front, two back) and pin them together like so:

Sew along the shoulder seams and press flat.  You will have a shape that looks like... a bottle opener!

The inside edge will be sewn to the bodice you've made, but the outside edge won't be sewn to anything and is therefore prone to fraying and getting ugly.  You could just use your pinking shears to cut the zigzaggy lines so the fabric won't fray, or you could put in a bit more effort and bind the edge with bias.  And thats what I'm going to show you now!

Get your bias tape, open one side, and pin it against the outside edge on the wrong side of the fabric like this:

You can pin it all the way around if you want, but I find it just as easy to hold it against the edge as I sew, so no need to pin.

Sew the bias to the facing next to but not on the fold line in the bias.

It can be a bit tricky to go around the curves, but you can do it!  Just take it slow and ease the bias around.  But we do have two corners that we can't go around.  Just finish it off at those points, and do the other long side.

To finish binding the raw edge, refold the fold you stitched near, and then fold the bias in half over the raw edge.

Then sew in a nice neat line near the folded edge!

Trim the ends off and then repeat the process for the short edge of the front facing.  You can leave raw edges of bias on the ends because bias is cut on the diagonal and won't fray!  Your facing will now all be edged and neat!

Now to sew it onto the bodice.  I like to start by matching the front up, so pin the front facing on.

Then I work my way down one side, and then the other so its all pinned together.  Now you can sew the facing to the bodice.

But before we can continue by turning the facings right side out, we need to clip the corners and the curves so they lie flat.

Once thats done, you can turn the facings and press the seams.  Hooray!  Your bodice is done!!

No, wait, there is one more thing - the buttonhole.

Find the points for the buttonhole that you marked from the pattern.  The buttonhole will be made on the left back bodice piece (as you look at the bodice)

I am going to use my machine to make the buttonhole, so I won't talk you through the process because each machine is different.  Just make whatever buttonhole you are going to make in that spot.

Then sew on your button

and your bodice is FINISHED!!!

Please note how high the bodice sits at the back - some of you that might think you have gaping bodices might not have gaping bodices...

Now for those that are making Pocket 2, this is how to go about it.  Get out your pattern pieces and lie the pieces in pairs, right side together, and pin them.

You will see that I've put double pins in two places at the bottom of the pocket.  That reminds me to stop stitching there so I can leave a spot open to turn it through.  Stitch both pockets and clip the corners and curves.

Turn it through and press it nice and flat.  Once again I used my trusty bbq skewer to get all the points and edges nice and clean.

If you want, you can leave it like that, it will be just as functional BUT it never hurts to have more decoration!

Take some bias tape, and using the method explained above, run it around the centre of the U shape.

You see that X of pins - thats to remind me which way is the front

Make sure to leave the tails of the bias a little long - you will need them long to make the finish neat.

Now that we have both styles of pockets made, we can attach them to our front skirt piece!  I have used pins to show me where the ends of the line we marked are.  Find the centre of this line and mark it with something - a pin is best.

I have used a chalk pencil here, cause it will be covered.

Centre your pocket on that point using whatever you need to make sure it lines up with the imaginary line between the pins.  Note that with Pocket 2, the two inside corners sit together, not apart.

For Pocket 2, neatly fold the bias under and pin it, then pin to the skirt piece.

For Pocket 1, line your pocket up along the line you marked on your fabric.

For Pocket 2, make sure the outside points of your pocket are the same distance from the top edge as each other.  That goes for both pocket styles.

Sorry - a bit blurry....
Note that the outside points of Pocket 2 will sit a little higher than the centre points

Now make sure the edge of your pocket sits neat and flat around its edge, and pin it in place.

As you pin the pocket down, make sure that it is an inch or more away from the edge.

And then its simply a matter of top-stitching it on!

Note that with Pocket 2, you also top stitch across the top of the pocket, leaving only the biased edge open.

Done!  Now pat yourself on the back and have a cup of tea, or a glass of wine.

I think I'll have wine.



  1. Beccie, thank you so very much for making such an effort. We all deeply appreciate the love and time you put in that sew-along, especially as you have not been so well lately.

    To be honest, I was doubtful about the swirl dress, couldn't imagine to feel properly dresses with a garment that wraps on the back, but now I see this style really rocks! Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks Beccie, Beccie. Hope the wine was joyfully good. You've certainly earned it.



  3. "Sew the bias to the facing next to but not on the fold line in the bias." . . I never knew to do this. Talk about adding icing to the cake. :-)