Paying Attention to the Details

In preparing for this year’s Costume College, I decided to return to working on my striped summer bustle.  I’m using Truly Victorian pattern 401 for the blouse, and while I absolutely adore their patterns, I realized today that their instructions are really the bare minimum.  Case in point: if I did not have extensive experience in working from modern patterns, I would not have known to grade and under stitch the facing.  Let me explain.

The directions say to attach the ruffle to the neckline and right front opening.  So far, so good.  Then attach the facing, press the facing edge under, press it to the back, and top stitch it down. So simple, but thankfully, I thought twice before proceeding.

As I looked at that neck edge, with the outer layer, the double layer of fabric for the ruffle, and the facing, I realized that I was going to want to grade this seam; otherwise, I’d end up with a very noticeable ridge where the edge of the seam allowance was.

Then, as I thought about how the facing was going to be top stitched, but that the stitching would not catch in this neck edge seam allowance, I thought that I’d probably want to under stitch the seam allowance as well.  This is something we often do with modern sewing because the facings are typically just tacked down in a few spots.  The under stitching keeps the facing from rolling towards the outside of the garment.  In this case, I wanted to too stitch the seam allowance so that it does not end up bunching up (especially after washing) in a place where I can’t get at it to iron it flat.

Graded seam allowance

Graded seam allowance, with the facing on top, ruffle behind, and outer layer at the back.

Bottom line to stitching is the seam, above that is the basting line for the ruffle, and to top line is the under stitching.

Bottom line to stitching is the seam, above that is the basting line for the ruffle, and to top line is the under stitching.

The understitching as seen from the right side of e facing.

The understitching as seen from the right side of e facing.

The finished front edge.  All you see is the top stitching described in the TV instructions.

The finished front edge. All you see is the top stitching described in the TV instructions.

The understitching is only visible from the back of the garment.

The understitching is only visible from the back of the garment.

 

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