Wednesday, July 3, 2013

tutorial - chevron bodice

For this tutorial, I used the Heidi & Finn Chevron Dress pattern which has not been released yet, but any basic bodice pattern should work.  Just remember that this method is only intended for knits, as wovens fray which may result in a small hole at the point of the chevron!

First things first, we need new pattern pieces.  I used the bottom chevron from the dress pattern to determine the angle of the chevron on the bodice so everything matched when sewn, but you can use a straight edge and draw it at any angle that looks good to you :)  I used a red marker so you can see where I drew the line, but it didn't show up as well as I hoped.  If you click on the picture, it will zoom in a little more so the line is easier to see.

Next, cut the pattern along the line you drew creating a top and bottom half to the bodice.

Take the new top pattern piece and trace unto a new sheet of paper.  Then flip it over and trace the other half being sure to accurately line up the edges.

Add seam allowances to the bottom edges of the pattern.  Be sure to pay attention to the seam allowances listed in your original pattern so everything is consistent.  For my pattern, I added 3/8" to match the seam allowances used in the Heidi & Finn pattern.

Repeat the last two steps with the bottom pattern piece being sure to add the seam allowance to the top edge this time.

Cut out both new pattern pieces.  I also taped my original pattern back together because I needed to use it for the bodice lining.  Just a little tip: Be sure to label the new pattern pieces with the original pattern name and the size.  I have discovered so many miscellaneous pattern pieces in my pile and I have no idea which patterns they belong to :)

Tip: If I am using thin knits (in this case tissue knit), before I cut my fabric, I use spray starch (generously!) and iron to prevent my fabric from stretching too much while sewing and to keep the edges from curling.

Once you cut your new pattern pieces from your fabric, notch the top piece (pink fabric) just short of the seam allowance.  You also need to cut a small slit in the bottom piece just short of the seam allowance (brown fabric) - this is shown in the second picture. Pin the two halves of the bodice right sides together matching the edges and the center point.  I like to pin generously at this point because thin knits often slide around a lot while sewing. 

I start on one end and sew with a straight stitch to the point of the chevron, stopping at the notch and being careful not to catch the material from the other pinned side.  A stretch stitch is not needed for this seam since it runs on the bias on the finished bodice.  Then repeat with the other side of the chevron.

Before going any further, check to make sure you didn't catch any fabric you shouldn't have which will cause a pucker on the front.  As you can see here, I did exactly that :)  At this point there are two options.  If it's really bad, you can remove the whole line of stitches and try again, or you can do what I did and be lazy try to salvage it.

All I did to fix it was remove the last couple of stitches from the point of the chevron.  Then I ironed it flat with the seam pressed upward.  Since I plan to topstitch next and my garment bodice will be lined, I knew the seam would hold just fine.  If you are concerned that the seam will unravel, flip it back right sides together and stitch about 1-2" along each stitch line right at the point.  Just be sure to stay right on top of your previous stitches or you may end up with another unwanted pucker on the front.

Flip the bodice over, iron the seams flat (press heavily on iron, but don't slide it as that can cause your knit to stretch and loose it's shape), and topstitch 1/8" from the edge with a long straight stitch.  This holds the seam allowance in place and helps create a nice point on the chevron.  Although the picture below still appears to have a bit of a pucker, it actually doesn't.  I had just stretched it too much while I was messing around with it in the earlier steps.  Fortunately, washing the finished dress erased all lingering traces of that nasty little pucker :)

Here's a sneak peek of the finished Heidi & Finn Chevron Dress.  I will post a complete review next Friday including the changes I made, but for now, I will just say that I loved the pattern and intend to use it again!

Brown knit - cotton/rayon tissue knit from
Fuscia knit - cotton/bamboo tissue knit from
Eleastic - clear 1/4" elastic (Lastin)


  1. Great job! I'm very new to sewing clothes. I wouldn't be able to modify patterns yet. Thank you for this. I think it adds a really nice detail to the chevron dress.

    1. Thanks! Once you are familiar with how patterns work and modify a few on your own, it gets a lot easier. Just keep trying until something works :)