A big hello to you! It’s our final week of The A-Line Dress sew-a-long – you made it! After this your A-Line Dress will be finished and ready to take out on the town.
As before, if you are only just joining us you can catch up at any point. If you haven’t got the pattern you can buy your version here and join our Sew-A-Long:
Need some fabric inspiration? We’ve sourced some gorgeous options for this pretty dress – have a look here!
If you’ve just joined us you can catch up here:
Let’s get going and finish this beautiful dress!
Note: your seam allowances for the sleeve are 1cm
We are going to show you two ways to insert the sleeve. Quite frankly, we like using pins but will also show you how to create the gathers with hand stitches.
Open out the dress so that you have the curve of the armhole flat on the table, right side facing you. Can you see that the back sleeve has three notches and the front sleeve has two notches? These match up to the dress notches! We have marked the notches with pins below to show you.. you could do the same if it helps you to match up the pins/notches.
Tip. It’s very important that you sew the front of the sleeve to the front of the dress and the back of the sleeve to the back of the dress.
OPTION 1 – USING PINS
Flip the sleeve onto the dress so that the sleeve and dress are right sides together.
Match up and pin – the top notch of the sleeve with the dress shoulder seam and the corresponding notches on the back and front of the dress.
Tip. Place the pins facing as shown as this will help you shape this piece (look at the following pictures to see how we have placed our pins).
Now, we are going to work slowly and carefully between these pins, easing this sleeve into the armhole. Your sleeve piece will fit with a bit of patience, time and lots of pins! Check that no fabric has mistakenly folded and the sleeve fabric is flat before sewing.
When you take this piece to the sewing machine, remove the pins as you get to them and always check that no fabric is getting caught underneath. Don’t forget your seam allowance is 1cm!
OPTION 2 – GATHERING STITCHES
On your sleeve create two rows of hand stitching within the 1cm seam allowance. Keep your stitches small and even. Keep your threads at the start and finish very long, as you are going to pull on these to create the gathers.
You can now match up your notches and pin just where the notches are.
Start to pull on the threads and the fabric will gather but you will need to manipulate the gathers so that the sleeve now fits into to the armhole. Start to fit the sleeve in to the armbole at the shoulder point and then work on either side.
Place pins to hold the two pieces together, once you have gathered each section.
When you take this to the machine, sew these pieces together using a 1cm seam allowance. You’ll have to check that your gathers don’t fold on to themselves but are smoothed out as you sew over them.
No matter which option you chose, the important bit is that your sleeve hasn’t been caught and is smooth on the right side.
This is a great time to iron the sleeve head. Pull it on to your ironing board and, on the wrong side, see if you can get the tip of the iron it to the sleeve curve.
Turn it to the right side and marvel at your beautiful sleeve. Um, now repeat on the other side (sorry!)
We have a little trick for you… turn up your seam allowance of your sleeve and give it a good iron. Later on, when we stitch this you will already have your sleeve ironed and it will be so much easier to sew!
We are on the homeward stretch now! woo hooo
Place the front and back dress right sides together, pinning:
- Start of the sleeve (fold the ironed bit flat)
- Underarm (seam lies flat towards waist)
- Bust dart (should lie flat towards waist)
- Waist seam (seam should be open)
- Pockets Hem
Then pin in between these pins, ensuring that the edges of the fabric are flush.
Sew this section using a 1.5cm seam allowance, pivoting at the pocket (remembering those guides you drew earlier, plus the pocket notch guide – see our pics below before you start). If you are not sewing the pocket, continue to sew to the hem line.
PIVOTING AT THE POCKET
Sew down to the pivot dot (if you are using a heavy fabric you may need to reverse stitch before you turn). Keep your needle in the fabric and turn towards the pocket. All seam allowances are facing towards the pocket.
When you get to the other side of the pocket, all seam allowances still need to face towards the pocket so check this before you sew over it. Sew to the pivot mark, keep your needle in the fabric and turn to sew down the hem – keeping to 1.5cm. (Did you reverse stitch earlier if you are using heavy fabric? Do that again now)
Repeat on the other side of the dress. Iron/press open the seam allowances.
This image is showing you the side seams of the bodic, matching up 99% perfectly ;)
SLEEVES & SKIRT HEM
Turn in the sleeve hem on the ironed piece (see how much easier ironing it previously has made it?) and sew. We remove the our arm of our machine to slide this piece on and sew.
TIP – always start sewing on the seam join – this way your stitching is lovely all the way around and no one will see your reverse stitches.
The hem allowance of the bottom of the skirt is 2.5cm. However, this depends on the thickness of fabric you are using. For thicker fabric use a smaller hem allowance.
Tip. For the perfect hem, place your dress on your ironing board and work your way around the hem, using your measuring tape or hem gauge to ensure the hem allowance is consistent. Iron in place on a warm setting and then place pins to keep in place.
Ensure seam allowances are open and then stitch in place.
Turn your garment inside out and iron completely. Turn back to the right side and you’re finished!
Love how your garment turned out ?Well, go out and show the world your creation! Wait wait – not before you’ve shared it with us! See the next page for all the ways you can share your look, tips and advice with our community of avid seamstresses.