DAY 4 | BODICE SIDES, POCKETS, CUFFS, HEM
written by Kate Ng
This is the last blog post of the VONDEL dress Sew Along. Whilst we are feeling fresh, we are going to start with the trickiest part. This is getting the bodice side seams (step 10) to lie nice and flat, especially around the pockets. Take your time to cross check the instruction booklet against the photos in this blog post so you know how the finished pieces are meant to look.
Let's get started!
STEP 10: BODICE SIDES (INCLUDING WAIST TIE OPENING AND POCKETS)
Mark the waist tie positions again with chalk if needed (you might need to pull out the pattern pieces again). Then place front and back sides wrong sides together.
Stitch down the sides with a ⅜” seam allowance in two parts. Start from underarm and stop at the top of waist tie. Then go from the bottom of the waist tie to the hem - when you reach the pocket keep sewing, just go around the edges of the pocket.
Trim the allowances down to ⅛”, except for the waist tie opening (in the picture the scissors are pointing to where they are untrimmed). Then snip into the pocket corners (marked with arrows) close to, but not through the stitching.
Press open the side seam allowance. At the waist tie opening, tuck the seam allowance under to enclose the raw edge. You can see here where I’ve done this to the left side (marked with a white arrow).
Then secure the bit you just tucked under with a short line of machine stitching.
Now turn your dress inside out. We are going to close the french seam, so stitch the side seams together again to enclose the raw edge of the seam. Make sure you do in two parts again like before so the waist tie opening remains open. For reference, your finished side seam at the pocket should look like this:
STEP 11: CUFFS
Fold each cuff piece lengthwise and press. Then fold the bottom edge up by ⅜” and press again. Finally, pin the short ends together and sew (you can see where I’ve pinned it).
Now we join the cuff to the bodice. Pictures speak louder than words so follow the diagram in the picture.
Before you sew the cuff to the bodice, you might want to check the cuff hasn’t stretched out due to it being cut on the bias. I basted the cuff into the armhole to make sure it fit properly. If it doesn’t fit, you can always unpick the short ends of the cuff and sew them again.
Once the cuff is machined to the hem, fold it back on itself lengthways in half and also at the bottom edge where you pressed the folds earlier, so all raw edges are enclosed. You can secure this by either edge stitching it with machine (sew the edge where the pins are in the picture) or slip stitch it into place by hand like I did.
Note: steps 11-13 relate to the sleeve and can be skipped for the cuff version.
STEP 14: HEM
Nearly there! Time to look at the hem - where it runs straight across the bottom, fold it up by ¼” and press lightly. Where the hem is curved on the bottom of the front bodice, use a zig zag or gathering stitch and make a line of stitching ⅛” from the raw edge, leaving long thread tails. Then pull the thread tails so that the fabric bunches up towards the inside of the dress and you can press it down neatly around ¼” from the edge, like so:
Fold over the curved bits and bottom hem once more, this time by ⅜” to enclose the raw seam. Pin or baste it in place (I basted since I wanted to be sure the curved bits didn’t move before I machined).
An edge stitch machine foot is useful for this, if you have one. After you have stitched it down permanently by machine, guess what ….
YOUR DRESS IS FINISHED, CONGRATULATIONS!
Here are some pictures of my finished version. I made it up in linen and it is now summer in the northern hemisphere, so I’m enjoying wearing mine with a straw hat and basket. It would equally be nice in autumn with a polo neck underneath and tights though!
I hope you’ve enjoyed making the VONDEL and that the Sew Along was useful to break down the main steps. As with all sewing, the key is to check the fit before you cut into your fabric, take the time to prepare your pieces properly, sew slowly and really enjoy the process. And of course, wear with pride when you are done! If you’re on Instagram, don’t forget to use the hashtag #wraptopvondel so we can see your creations.
Kate is a sewist who believes sustainable fashion and sewing should be accessible to everybody. Awareness is key; the more we know, the more conscious we can be about our clothing and fabric choices. Follow her blog Time to Sew for interviews with fashion & sewing change makers, opinion pieces on the going-ons in sustainability, and posts about fabric production. Originally imported from Australia into the UK, Kate now sews and blogs from the Netherlands.
@timetosew on Instagram