Welcome back to the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along! Today we will attach the sleeves and sew the sides of the dress together. I’ll show you how to do French seams too! If you are just joining in, that’s fine! Order your pattern and fabric now, and you can catch up!
If you are running a bit behind, take a peek at the Introduction, Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 posts! You have until July 15, 2011 to complete your Family Reunion Dress and post your photo in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group, and one person will be randomly drawn to receive a $20 gift certificate to Above All Fabric!
As directed in the pattern instructions, for each sleeve, sew a line of basting stitches 3/4”from the sleeve hem edge. Fold the raw edge to the basting stitch, then fold along the basting stitch. Press in place. Do not stitch yet.
Additionally, sew two lines of basting stitches between the notches along the curved edges of the sleeves, one at 3/8” and another at 5/8” (so they don’t interfere with your actual stitching line that will be at the 1/2″ mark). Leave thread tails a few inches long for gathering.
Pin each sleeve in place, matching the notches and using the basting stitches to ease the sleeve into place. As much as I don’t like pinning, this is a spot where you really need a lot of pins to get a good result.
Sew the sleeve onto the shoulder with the dress towards the feeddogs to minimize the chance of puckering. Sew with a 1/2” seam. Inspect your stitch and ensure that the shoulder and sleeve looks smooth from the right side. If not, remove stitches and correct. When you are happy with the seam, finish the seam allowance by zigzagging, overlock stitching or serging the raw edges.
Turn sleeves right side out and remove the visible basting stitch from the sleeves.
You certainly don’t have to do French seams, but they are a favorite of mine, and I sneak them in whenever I can. They create such a nice finish, and it’s really durable for washing and wearing too! French seams aren’t appropriate for tight curves or heavy fabric though, so use your judgment for each pattern and fabric choice.
This will use the same total 1/2″ seam allowance as a typical seam, but to begin you will place your fabric WRONG sides together. Align the sides and pin in place.
Attach your 1/4” foot (or align to 1/4” mark) and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then trim seam allowance down to 1/8”.
Now turn along your seam line, right-sides-together. Either pin or press to ensure that the stitched edge is turned out as far as it can be, and is your new folded edge.
Stitch along your folded edge with a 1/4” seam allowance.
The 1/8” raw edged seam allowance from the previous seam will now be fully encased. From the outside of your garment, everything looks the same, but on the inside, you have a beautiful clean finish too!
Now it’s time to hem to the sleeves! The hem is already pressed in place, so simply refold along the creases. I use the edgestitching foot to achieve against the edge of the hem and sew from the inside of the sleeve to achieve an even stitching line.
That’s it for today! I’ll be back on Tuesday, June 21st where we will put the finishing touches on our Family Reunion Dresses! Take a quick picture of your progress and post it in the Family Reunion Dress Sew-Along Flickr group! If you have any questions, feel free to ask here or in the discussion over in the Flickr group.