Friday, December 21, 2018

Sewalong Week 6: Constructing the Neckline

Another fabulous guest post from Rachael from Carnivale Vintage (@ms.carnivale)--thank you!

So in the original 1940s pattern, in typical vintage brevity style, it states, "Finish neckedge with bias underfacing, mitering underfacing at corners." And that's it. Well there's a box about making bias underfacing but REALLY! This I'm afraid is typical of vintage patterns, which assume a much greater depth of sewing knowledge than most folks have these days. But never fear, I've messed it all up in advance so I can hopefully help you through it!
Fundamentally bias binding (bias underfacing) provides stability to the neckline so it doesn’t get pulled or stretched out of shape. It also allows you to finish the neckline neatly without any visible stitching on the outer fabric - a common tactic used in vintage garments. Bias binding is a fairly narrow strip of fabric, cut, unsurprisingly, on the bias, so it doesn’t fray. I used 1” tape, in a colour which worked with my fashion fabric.
1.     Unfold the narrower edge of the tape (bias binding) and line this up against the cut edge of the fabric on the right (pretty) side of the fabric, so that the fold of the tape is upwards.

2.     Pin it on first, and then you are going to sew using a normal stitch, just a spot away from the fold line towards the outer edge. This allows the bias binding to fold on the fold line easily.

3.     Now the slight complication with the neckline is that is has right angles rather than being curved. Never fear though! All you need to do is what is called ‘mitre the corners’; this effectively means fold the bias binding at right angles, so that you can get a nice sharp corner.


4.     I pinned as normal until I was 1/2” away from the corner; I folded the tape at a 90 degree angle and used my fingers to press it into shape. I pinned this and then continued on pinning as normal along the raw edge.

5.     When you come to sew it in, you sew just slightly away from the fold line, and when you get to the corner, ensure your needle is in the fabric, and lift the presser foot to pivot 90 degrees. You can now continue sewing along the next edge. Do this all the way around until you meet the start of your tape. Overlap the tape a little and then cut the excess off. Backstitch to lock in your stitches.


6.     Use your iron to press your sewing. Use a small, sharp scissors to cut regular snips from the raw edges to just before your stitch line, and diagonally in at each corner to the stitch line. This basically allows the fabric to fold really nicely so you get a sharp, clean line.

7.      Then using the fold line, fold it over so that all the tape is on the inside and none can be seen from the outside. Use your iron to press everything neatly. Pin in place.

8.     Now you are going to hand sew the bias binding in place using slip stitches to catch a tiny bit of the outer fabric and some of the tape to sew the tape down in place. We do all this so there is no visible stitching on the outside of the neckline. Neat huh? Press again for luck/perfection.
9.     For the bow at the neckline, it's really fairly easy. Fold the fabric strip right sides together, and sew along the seam allowance, leaving a small spot large enough you can turn it through the right way. You'll close this by hand later. Press.

10.  Cut off the excess seam allowance about 1/4" away from your stitching and cut off the corners near your stitching.

11.  Now the infuriating bit! You need to turn it the right way out. I hate this. I used a pen and a lot of swear words. Be careful not to poke anything through your stitches. Press.

12.  Hand slipstitch closed the space you left unsewn for turning.

13.  Pop it into the space you left free on the bodice band (or create one if you forget to leave a space!)

14.  Tie in a pretty bow and voila!

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