Tuesday, November 5, 2013

tutorial - adding facings to an aline dress

Yesterday I posted a free aline dress pattern in sizes 18 months - 5T that you can download for free here.  Today I will show you how to draft facings to finish the dress.

*** Download the pattern and print from Adobe Acrobat... do not print directly from Dropbox as it will not print correctly ... also check to be sure the 1" box is the correct size on the first page of the pattern before cutting your fabric *** 

Aline dresses are generally finished differently than a yoke bodice dress since there are no linings involved.  With an aline dress, all edges including the neckline, the armscyes in a sleeveless version, and the hemline need to be finished.  One method is to use a narrow bias binding, but that often results in a wavy edge.  Personally, I prefer to face any exposed edges which results in a nice smooth finish.  As an added bonus, if you are using a lightweight fabric, the facings help give the the dress a bit of structure.


The directions included here are for one of the most basic dresses you can make, a simple back closing aline dress without any embellishments.  There are many, many ways to customize this dress, one of which I will share later this week :)


Preparing the Pattern:

1. Click on the link above to get your free Basic Aline Dress pattern pieces.

2. Print the pattern pieces being sure to select no scaling or the print actual size option.  You can print just the first page to start and measure the 1" test box if you are unsure whether the pattern is going to print the correct size.

3. There are only two printed pattern pieces: the front and the back.   But you will also need to cut out several facing pieces later in the sewing process.

4. The pattern pieces need to be assembled by matching the stars on pages 1-8.  You will need to trim some of the pages to overlap the others.  For reference, the size 18 months back piece should measure 16 3/4" along the fold line if the pattern is printed and assembled correctly.



Cutting your fabric:

This pattern uses approximately 2/3 of a yard for the size 2T.  I did not measure for the other sizes, but none of them take more than 1 yd.  The facings can be made from the same print or about 1/4 yd of a coordinating print.  You will also need one button and 2" of elastic cording or 1/8" elastic.

5. Cut one front and one back piece, both on the fold.  Make sure to iron a crease along the center line of the back piece.

6. Cut a 5" long x 3" wide piece of fabric for the back opening.

7. Now you need to cut the facings for the neck, armscyes and hem (optional).  First you will need to use the pattern pieces to draw the cutting lines for the facings.  To do this, draw lines 1 1/4" away from each of the three edges that require facings.  I "borrowed" my daughter's compass to make sure the lines were a uniform distance from the edges, but you could also make small tick marks with a ruler and then draw a line connecting them.  Make sure to make note of the grain line (parallel to the front and back center line) for the armscye facings. I labeled the three facings on the picture below:


8. Now use those lines for the facings to create new pattern pieces or just be lazy like me and cut them out one at a time and then tape the pattern back together after cutting each facing piece :)

9. Cut the front neck facing on the fold.  Cut two of the back neck facings (mirror images) and add 1/2" to the center back of each one. I traced them in the picture below just for illustration purposes ... you can just cut them :)


10. Cut out two front and two back armscye facings, mirror images of each other, as shown in the picture below.


11. Cut the front and back hem facings on the fold.  Sorry, no picture of this step :)


Sewing the Basic Aline:

Tips:
All seam allowances are 3/8"
Clip all curves before turning right side out
Iron frequently - this isn't my favorite step, but it really does make a difference :)

12. Finish the bottom and sides of the rectangle needed for the back opening.  Fold the rectangle in half long edges together and iron in a crease along the fold. Open the rectangle with the right side facing down. Make a mark 4" down from the top.  Draw a line on either side of the crease at an angle as shown in the picture.


13. Pin the rectangle on the back of the dress, right sides together with the top edges and the center creases lined up.


14.  Start on the top and sew down one side of the crease following the lines drawn in the previous step.  When you get to the bottom, pivot the fabric with the needle raised and start sewing back up the other side stopping a couple of inches from the top.


15. Lift the edge of the rectangle on the side you haven't finished sewing yet and insert your 2" piece of elastic cording 1" from the top edge.  Tuck it tightly up against the line sewn in the previous step.  Continue sewing to the top edge.  Make sure to back and forth over the elastic cording a couple of times to keep it in place.


16.  This is what the cording should look like at this point.


17. Cut in between the two lines of stitching all the way to the pivot point being careful not to cut through any stitches.


18. Turn the facing to the back so the wrong sides are together and press well.  Topstitch along the opening.


19. Place the front and back pieces right sides together.  Sew and finish/serge the shoulder seams.  Press the seams toward the back.


20. Iron the lower edges of the neck facings under 1/4"


21.  Pin the short edges of the facings, right sides together and sew.


22. Press the seams open.  Now you are ready to attach the neck facing to the dress.


23.  Pin the facing to the dress right sides together matching the raw edges.  The back facings should overlap the back opening by 1/2" as shown in the picture.


24. Sew the facing to the dress.  Clip the curves.


25.  Turn the facings to the inside of the dress.  Your back and front neckline should now look like this:


26.  Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge of the facing. 


27.  Place the dress right sides together and sew and finish/serge the side seams.


28. Now it is time to attach the armscye facings. This is done pretty much the same as the neck facings.  Please reference the pictures in steps 20-25 if you are unclear on any step.  For some reason, I forgot to take pictures of this stage, so if you need help muddling through my way less-than-perfect directions, please leave a comment or contact me via email using the button at the top of the page :) Iron under the longer curved edges of the facings 1/4" (step 20).  Pin a front and back facing rights sides together (step 21) and sew into a circle.  Make sure you are sewing the top of the front facing to the top of the back and the bottom to the bottom.  Pin the facing to the armscye right sides together with the raw edges lined up (step 23) and sew.  Turn the facing to the inside of the dress (step 25) and topstitch close to the facing edge (step 26).  Repeat for the second armscye.

29.  This is what the topstitching should look like on the front of the dress.  Now all that is left is the hem and a button :)


30. The hem facing is sewn the same way as the armscye facings.  Or you can just sew a narrow hem if you prefer.  I like the look of the facings so I finished the hem that way in the picture :)


31.  Add a button and you're done!


I know this isn't my best tutorial, but it's late and my brain seems to have reached it's capacity for the day :)  Once again, if you need clarification on anything, please leave a comment below or use the mailto button (looks like a little envelope) at the top of this page to email me.

Materials:
Dress - Cotton print from Joann's
Facings - Michael Miller Dumb Dot
Button - Joann's

35 comments :

  1. Awesome job!!! The dress is adorable!

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    1. Thanks! I think it's the fabric that makes it cute ... although it might be a bit springy for November :)

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  2. This is looking so cute! I like using that style of closure, it just adds a little something.

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    1. Thanks! I agree that it's always the little details that make clothes special :)

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  3. Love this! I've been fully lining stuff like this, but it's nice to know how to make facings!

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    1. I often line aline dresses too, but sometimes with a heavier fabric I prefer not to add more weight so I use facings instead. It's funny that most vintage patterns use facings, while modern patterns do not. I'm guessing it's just because fabric is cheaper and more accessible now than it used to be :)

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  4. Thank you so much for that beautifull pattern and the tutorial

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  5. Oh my goodness...this dress is darling. I just found you on Hawthorne Threads and you now have been added to my Bloglovin site. I'm a quilter but I'm teaching myself how to make toddlers size clothes (I have a beautiful 17 month old granddaughter) for my sweet girl. Thank you so much for your amazing tutortial!

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    1. You're welcome! You're kind of the opposite of me. I make plenty of toddler clothes but would really like to make quilts as well :)

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  6. Hi, thank you so much for this tutorial, other than a basic circle skirt I haven't sewn anything so this dress is my first real pattern. I am most of the way through the dress and have had no problems, I do however have a question, I am sewing this dress using a jersey/knit fabric and I am up to the hem part, because the fabric is already thick will adding a hem give me a bulkiness at the bottom and possibly distortion of the shape?
    Many Thanks
    Wendy

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    1. I haven't personally made this dress in a knit fabric, and it's hard to tell what the hem will do without actually handling the fabric. If it has a lot of stretch, it may be difficult to hem without distortion. But the nice thing about knit is that it doesn't fray, so you should just be able to stitch the facing to the main fabric without folding it under an additional time. Let me know if I can do anything else to help!

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    2. Thank you so much for responding, I think based on the way the neck and arms are (after adding the facings) it probably would cause an odd shaped hem so I may just sew the facing straight on flat or do without and add a trim at the bottom. Thanks again for a great tutorial :-)

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  7. I've made the basic A-line, the Izzy AND used the basic bodice for a dress with full skirt for my daughter....in 2 days! And I LOVE the patterns. There are just SO many options...it is fantastic...and I love the finishes....looks very neat...THANK YOU

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    1. I'm impressed! You've accomplished way more than I have in the last two days :) I'd love to see pictures ... here's a link to add them to the flickr group if you're interested:

      http://www.flickr.com/groups/climbingthewillow/

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  8. Dear madam,

    I made a little dress with your instructions and it turnes out just beautiful. Tomorrow my husband will take a foto of the dress and I will send it to you by e-mail. Ik would like to thank you again for the tutorial; to me it was very clear and I am not a great sewer -))
    Have a nice evening,
    Marie - Europe - Belgium

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  9. Hi, it seems you're famous in Belgium, I also live there and I just finished the Izzy top for my daughter Izi �� so easy! The tutorial was fantastic and the top is adorable. Thank you!

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  10. Hi, can I ask a few novice questions?
    When you say the seam allowance is 3/8" does that mean, cut the material to the size of the pattern then you sew 3/8" inside the edges?
    Also when top stitching the neck and arm facings is that also 3/8" in? Would that not make the shoulder width very narrow?
    Sorry if I'm being a bit dim, I'm learning as I go. I am being a bit ambitious and trying to make 2 dresses though :)
    I've found you're instructions very easy to follow so thank you.

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    1. The 3/8" seam allowance does mean that you cut your fabric to the size of the pattern pieces and then sew the pieces together 3/8" away from the edge. When you topstitch the facings, you should sew about 1/8" away from the folded over edge. Topstitching does not make the shoulder any narrower, it just secures the facing to the dress along the loose edge. If it still isn't clear, go ahead and email me at teri@climbingthewillow.com and and I would be more than happy to help :)

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    2. Great thank you Teri, I have one more question. I'll email you now.
      Thanks for the pattern, I'm excited to see if they turn out as nice as yours. :)

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  11. Are the seam allowances included in the Aline dress pattern? Sorry if it seems like a silly question but I'm a beginner and wanted to be sure

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    1. Not a silly questions at all! Yes, 3/8" seam allowances are included in the basic pattern.

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    2. Thanks :-) I should've read the comments before! I'm excited to make this dress for my little one.

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    3. No problem! I don't mind answering questions more than once :) Let me know if there is anything else you need!

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    4. Hi Teri, for the square piece that you mention to finish for the back of the dress, do you need a serger or can I use a stitch on the sewing machine? Someone mentioned that I NEED a server but I was pretty sure I did not. Thanks again!

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    5. You can use the overlocking stitch on the sewing machine, although it doesn't hold up as well over time as a serged edge. Or, if your fabric is not too heavyweight, you can do a double fold narrow hem - I would recommend this as the better option.

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    6. Great thank you so much for the suggestion. I finally hope to complete this dress this week.

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  12. This is the clearest A-line dress tutorial ever, and I love how simple the closure is! :)

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  13. I am so glad I found this (through Pinterest). I have been making some polar fleece a-line tunics for my daughter from scratch, and had everything figured out except for closures. I just couldn't get my mind around how to finish them, but this tutorial is EXACTLY what I have needed. Thank you so much for writing it. I am going to download your pattern later today to work on a muslin tonight :).

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  14. Dios bendiga su creAtividad ,y por su ayuda

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing :) This tutorial is very usefull!!
    Blessings y thanks again!

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  16. Im a longarm quilter, wanting to be a sewer for my 4 little granddaughters all under 3 years old. This looks easy, I think. Yes I can do it! Thanks for this so much.

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  17. So, when i am adding facing to the A-line dress, do I want to sew the basic pattern together first (like the front and back pieces) and then add the facing, or do you first do the rectangle backing, then sew the shoulders together, then do the neck facing and then sew the sides together and do the arm facing and do the hem facing at the bottom last? Thanks so much!

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    1. Just follow the tutorial steps in order - placket, shoulder seams, facing, etc.

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