Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No-Pattern Wing-it Chemise Tutorial Part 5

We're almost done! We did cuffs and sides last time, all we have left are the top and bottom edges and some grommets for lacing! How exciting! (I apologize that I can't seem to get most of these images to load in the correct direction. I hope they still help!)

Before we tackle the neckline, though, we need to fix something. I made a mistake when I didn't extend the front facing all the way to the top edge because those three inches will need to be hemmed somehow and I can't figure out a good way to do it. So, we'll fix that by adding another piece of front facing. Cut a strip from your scraps that is 7 inches long by 1 inch wide. (If you don't have enough scrap for this, and I still have plenty, you can use the triangles from cutting away the shoulders. Cut two pieces 3.5 inches by 1 inch. If you're really in a pinch for fabric bits, even a bit of white muslin will do as this will be turned under just like the front facing.) Cut your 7 inch strip in half so you have two 3.5 inch pieces.

Just like before, on the front of the chemise with right sides facing, line up the new facing piece with the edge of the slit. Fold up the bottom half inch - you can match it with the existing facing seam - and sew very close to the edge.

Pin the new facing piece.
Fold the new facing under and press. You may also want to turn under a small bit of the back edge and press that too. Most of this facing will be encased in the elastic channel, but a small bit on the bottom will not be.

This is the inside. You can clearly see that small bit on the bottom edge hemmed.

Top stitch this seam flat, very close to the edge, around the bottom fold, and up a little bit of the side. Yay, front facing fixed! Moving on!

Facing fixed!

We're going to do the neckline just like the sleeve cuffs. With your measuring tape and tailor's chalk, mark 3 inches from the raw top edge all around, including the sleeves, on the inside of the chemise. Fold the raw edge over to the mark and press. Take care around the shoulder seams and the front facing to make sure your edges are lined up. Your seams won't be lined up without adding some darts, which I did not do. Just work a few inches at a time as you press to make sure you have those three inches folded over evenly all around.

Mark three inches from the edge, just like we did with the cuffs.

To make a little ruffle, stitch all around 1/2 inch from the fold. I'm using the same elastic as I did for the cuffs (I know, we haven't measured the elastic yet; that's coming!), so make another line of stitches 5/8 of an inch below the first. (Note, my bobbin thread ran out here, somewhere in the back panel. If running out of bobbin thread in the middle of a stitch line annoys you as much as it annoys me, load a fresh bobbin before you begin this part.) Lastly, turn under the remaining raw edge and stitch very close to the fold to finish the hem.

Before we move on with the elastic, I decided to make a couple ties to go above the grommets and hold the elastic bit together at the neck. If you have ribbon that matches your linen, or is a nice contrast, just use that (neckline ties are in ribbon on my existing chemise). I don't have any ribbon I want to use, so I'll make the ties. Cut a piece of your scrap 21 inches by 1 inch.

Cut a strip 21 inches by 1 inch.

Turn both short ends under 1/2 inch and press (I marked this with tailor's chalk, but it's not important to be super precise here). Fold this in half lengthwise and press. Open this up, fold the two raw edges in to the center and press again.

Carefully press the raw edges into the center.
Maintain that center fold too, to encase the edges.
Work slowly, the thin piece of fabric can be difficult!

Now fold the whole thing in half and cut. you should be left with two pieces, roughly 10 inches long, folded at one end, and 1/4 inch wide. Sew along the open edge, very close to the fold, and the folded end. The un-hemmed end will be sewn at the edge of the front slit with our elastic. On to elastic!

Two front ties!

It's difficult to measure the neckline on my existing chemise because of how much it is gathered, but I got about 33 inches and I'm comfortable with that if it's a little off. I cut my elastic at 34 inches (because I added half an inch for the seam allowance on either end), which was about a foot shy of the rest anyway. Just like the sleeve cuffs, thread this through your elastic channel and pin at the edge of the fabric on either side. There is a lot of fabric to gather here, so take your time. Try not to twist the elastic in the channel and be patient if you come across a part that's just a bit too tight. You'll make it through! We're going to work the unfinished edge of our neck ties into this channel too, about an inch in so we'll be sure to catch it when we sew up the ends. Don't do what I did and lose your elastic in the channel. You'll have to start over!

Remember that the front facing is about a inch wide, so sew your first line of stitching over the elastic channel 1 inch in. Next, sew over that channel 1/2 inch in. Pause here to pull out the elastic end and trim it back, just like we did with the cuffs. Then stitch from the top edge down to the base of the elastic channel very close to the edge.

Sew three lines of stitching across the front facing, over the elastic channel.

This is how it should look from the front. We're almost done!

Check out your work! Turn it right side out and put it on! You have a gap in the front because we haven't added grommets yet, and it might be too long depending on your height (mine is actually perfect), and it's going to feel very tent-like because we made it big on purpose. How does the neckline sit? Can you push your sleeves up over your elbows if you get too hot without having the elastic cut into your arm? Good job! We're almost done! Give yourself a pat on the back and come back next time for finishing!

It fits my 19.5 week baby bump just fine! And some!

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