A bodice update, and I need some advice!

When we last met, I basically had an organza corset. Now I’m proud to say that I have what is turning into an actual bodice!

Bodice seam gradingThis one was a bit more of a process, since the more opaque nature of the fabric necessitated hand-basting everything together first, and then later removing a lot of that basting. Also, I have two underlining layers, so grading the seams was a must! (On a side note, LOVING this new camera.)
Inside bodice
Then I had to stitch down all of those graded seams to the underlining, which was much trickier around the princess seam curves this time. I was having a bit of difficulty getting the seams to press flat, and ended up having to re-do the darts in particular a couple of times– I finally resorted to slicing those open and pressing the majority of them flat to try and reduce the bulk. The side seam in particular looks much less bubbly now, since I re-pressed it after taking this photo.

Inside bodice post-boningThe next step, which has taken the last couple of days, was hand-stitching that organza corset layer into the bodice. It was more time-consuming than anything else.

Inside bodice post-boning closeupI did have an interesting time trying to figure out what to do with the princess seam part in particular. I finally settled on this whip stitch, which actually does go into the outer layer– I think I probably should have made the stitch length a bit shorter here, because I noticed that there was a little gapping between stitches after I pressed it. So while you can’t actually see the stitches from the outside, I did take it into the seam just to reinforce it a bit.

Bodice front, in progress

Here it is on me so far. I know there’s a little rippling in the center front, but I think the weight of the skirt will help that. If this were a strapless, I’d have to do a bit of tweaking to the fit at the top, but I think that having those sheer sleeves will help a great deal.

Bodice back, in progressThe side seams are sitting in a good place, but I will need to take in the back some, I think. At least at the top of the bodice, it fits well where it meets the waistband. I’m thinking my best bet will be to wait to sew the center back seam of the skirt until I know just how much to take it in, just to make the zipper easier to install. Plus I still have to figure out that whole lapped zipper thing.

So here’s where I need some advice–the next step is going to be to add the nude organza for the upper back, and possibly the sleeve, and then get some lace on this thing. What I need to figure out is how best to tackle finishing the edges–the back neckline, the armholes, the sides of the sleeve cap, and the center back. Here’s my thoughts so far:

  1. 1. The center back seam is going to be open above the dupioni part of the bodice — I don’t want to put a zipper here because it would show too much–although I think I’m going to have to put one button at the top to keep it closed. To further complicate things, since I’m doing a lapped zipper and not a centered one, there will be different widths of seam allowances on these parts of the bodice.
  2. I think that for this particular edge, if I’m really careful where the organza meets the dupioni, I might be able to just turn it under with the lace and do a narrow hem sort of thing. Which I’ll probably have to do by hand to keep the lace from snagging on the presser foot, but that’s just how this dress rolls, I guess.
  3. To keep the finishing nice on the inside where the shoulder seams meet, I plan to sew those two seams wrong sides together, though I am leaning towards just using the pinking shears to finish those edges rather than stitch them down for maximum invisibility potential.
  4.   Where I’m most stuck is how to deal with getting the lace on these sleeves, and the back neckline/armholes that go into this.
  5. For the sleeves, I’ve resigned myself to having to hand-gather the lace, since the net parts of it are open enough that machine-basting would be ineffective and likely to tear the lace to shreds. But I’m not sure how to do the sides of those pieces, since sewing and turning the raw edges to the inside would really show through. Unless I do something like take a piece of the nude organza and layer that on top of that inside seam allowance and stitch that down before turning, to camoflage the seam allowance as much as possible. The only other option I can think of is binding the edges with the lace. Or more likely, a layer of organza plus the lace, since I can see the raw edges of the sleeve lining organza fraying and poking through the netting otherwise.
  6. For the back neck and armholes, probably either a narrow binding or an organza facing would be best. The binding would look best if I do binding on the edges of the front sleeves too, I think, and the facing better if I do turn it into the inside, but the facing wouldn’t look as nice on the inside and may show through more.

So, if you were making this dress, what approach would you take? Or can you think of any solutions that I haven’t come up with yet? I’ve got some time before I need to decide, since sculpting the lace around the darts and princess seams will take me at least a few days. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


    2 thoughts on “A bodice update, and I need some advice!

    1. soisewedthis.blogspot.com

      i think the narrow binding sounds like a good idea and i'd probably do french seams with the lace and maybe hand sew it if it's very delicate. you'll figure it all out!


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