THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

May 17, 2006

Graduation Dress – Part 4

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Pattern Reviews — Gigi @ 7:53 am

There is a lot of stress on v-necklines such as this – those that have a center front seam. I reinforced this area with a small square of Stay Tape on both sides. Sew-In Sheer would work well too as would organza. You want something that is lightweight, yet very strong, to handle the stress.

From the photograph on the pattern it appears that this dress has a simple v-neck. Not so! It is actually a standing collar that is constructed much like a shawl collar. Please excuse the fuzzy photos – I should have checked them before moving on.

Many times when we simply serge long drapey seams on knits they draw up and make our garment look cheap. I often sew a plain seam with a small zigzag (.5mm width, 2mm length). The zigzag builds in some stretch and allows the seam to hang nicely. Then I simply press the seam open, leaving the raw edges. Often I think we are overly concerned with seam finishing – sometimes to the detriment of the finished product. Knits don’t ravel so any seam finish here would only add bulk. Many years ago, when Slinky was first introduced in RTW, I bought an expensive black Slinky dress. It looked fantastic on me. It hung and moved like a dream and I wore it to pieces. None of the long skirt seams had been serged. I also recall seeing a Charles Kleibacker (not that I’d ever put myself in his league!) Qiana dress in Threads some years ago – again, unfinished seams. We can learn so much just by looking at expensive RTW clothing!

As I was attaching my string ties to the front panel it occurred to me that, no matter how tightly I tied them, they would constantly droop and show the gathering and stay stitches. I elected to invisibly handsew the ties so that everything would stay put. I hate clothing that requires constant adjustment. You may also have noticed that the seam on the string ties is centered (vs. being on the edge). This was not planned – my fabric naturally wanted to lay this way so I didn’t fight it. I prefer the seam on the edge, I think it looks nicer.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love to add some embellishment to the ends of my cords. Here I used some hair pipe beads from my stash.

Stay tuned for the final steps (including one that surprised even me!) and finished product.



  1. Thanks for the info on the seams. I often do that, but feel like I’m “cheating”. I feel better now, because if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me… 😉 Also, your fabric looks really pretty. I think I got something similiar from Marsh, same colors but with a different pattern and I love it.

    Comment by jemgirlca — May 17, 2006 @ 9:58 am

  2. Gigi I am soooo in love with this fabric! Phyllis

    Comment by Anonymous — May 17, 2006 @ 10:22 am

  3. Hmmmm, where did you say you got the fabric? That is just bee-you-tee-ful! I can’t wait for the next installment! -Ann

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — May 17, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

  4. The fabric came from Textile Studios – Marsha gets the most gorgeous rayon/lycra jerseys! I wish I had bought more of this one, I really love the bubbles.

    Comment by Gigi — May 17, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  5. To carry your unfinished seam method a little farther….my DD bought a rayon/lycra dress a few months ago at a little boutique (which is French for How much can we soak ’em for?) The “hem” on the dress is simply cut at the appropriate length – nothing turned under at all. It hangs beautifully, but shouldn’t it be called an “un-hem”? I really can’t argue with the appearance; sometimes less is more…

    Comment by Karla — May 17, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

  6. Karla, I’ve seen that a lot in expensive RTW lately! Somehow, I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet though…

    Comment by Gigi — May 17, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

  7. Gigi,
    Beautiful work as always. You will be one great lookin’ Mom at the graduation. I wondering what you have covering your work table? Is that a grided cover? Can you use a rotary cutter on it? Thanks Melissa

    Comment by — May 17, 2006 @ 10:51 pm

  8. Melissa, what you are seeing is a cheapo table-top ironing board from Target. I sometimes use it on top of my pressing area. It’s very hand when pressing small sections of a garment. One of these days I’ll get around to making a plain drill cover for it!

    Comment by Gigi — May 18, 2006 @ 5:05 am

  9. the dress is looking lovely, i can’t wait to see it on you, plus see pictures of the graduate and his proud family.

    Comment by mamafitz — May 18, 2006 @ 6:15 am

  10. Hello, I visited your blog and thought I’d alert you to a problem. Clearly from the comments, many people see your blog just fine. Maybe it’s just my browser. What I see is a deep brown, faintly printed background upon which sits small blue or green type that is absolutely unreadable. I don’t see the links at all, although when I scanned my mouse over your page, they appeared briefly (perhaps your alink setting is light enough to make them detectable). You might want to check your site under different browsers and make sure that your background and color choices aren’t making most of your site disappear for some who would otherwise be interested. The photos are fine. Good luck with your blog. Fix the look and you could have a hit.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 27, 2006 @ 7:51 am

  11. Anonymous, which browser are you using?

    Comment by Gigi — May 30, 2006 @ 7:08 am

  12. Very interesting site… I wish I could write like you! Miky

    Comment by Type-In Domain Management — July 23, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

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