Sgt. Pepper dress: getting there!

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - front

Remember about 10 years ago when I started this project?  Oh wait, it was only 3 weeks ago?  Man, that seems like forever!  This past month has been super busy with work, and then I went to the west coast for a week, and then I caught a cold on the last day of my trip… all of which makes for slow progress on the sewing front.  Boo!  Thankfully, I’m happy to report that I’m back home, mostly recovered from my cold, and back to my normal sewing routine.  And behold: I’ve actually made some progress on my funky dress!

Sgt Pepper dress - bodice progress

Before I left I had assembled the bodice, which you may have seen me post on Twitter.  I’m really happy with my print-matching efforts on this dress.  It took forever while cutting out the pieces, but it was totally worth it.  I lined up the faces vertically in the center of the bodice, and I tried to make sure the bottom of the faces hit the waistband seam nicely.  The princess seams distort the continuity a little, but I couldn’t avoid that.

Sgt Pepper dress - bodice progress lining

The dress will be fully lined with Bemberg rayon, my absolute favorite lining fabric.  It’s cool against the skin, breathable, and sufficiently slippery to avoid the dreaded “dress sticking to undergarments.”  I lined the waistband with self fabric, mostly just for fun.  : )

Sgt Pepper dress - bodice progress back - with cat

Of course Maggie had to get in on the photo shoot action!  Above you can see how I cut the back bodice pieces with a 5/8″ extension of the faces at the center back, which would hopefully produce a perfectly print-aligned center back seam.

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - center back print matching top

And look, it actually came out pretty nicely!  Woo hoo!!  The faces are aligned horizontally and vertically – it’s not 100% perfect, but it’s pretty damn good!  Can you even tell there’s a zipper in there?  : )

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - center back print matching bottom

The center back seam of the skirt is pretty nicely aligned as well.  I’m high-fiving myself for all my print-matching efforts here.  It makes such a big difference in the finished garment!

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - bodice lining

Here’s the current state of the lining: partially attached and ready to be hand-sewn into place along the bottom edge.  I could stitch-in-the-ditch by machine, but I actually prefer to slip stitch it by hand.  I like the idea of having a few hand-sewn details in my handmade garments – it makes them feel just a bit more special, in my opinion.  For the skirt lining, I attached it by machine at the same time that I attached the outer skirt to the waistband – almost like an underlining, I suppose.

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - lining and zipper

I’m also planning on hand stitching the lining to the zipper tape – again, simply because I prefer to have some hand-sewn details in the dress.  I know many of you prefer the Cambie method, which I admit would probably be a lot faster, but I’m sticking to my guns on this one.  : )

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - finished bottom of zipper

I’m really happy with how the bottom of the invisible zipper came out on this dress.  I always struggle with getting a neat finish here, but I do seem to improve a little bit each time.  I know it’s hard to see with the black-on-black in this photo, but hopefully you get the idea.

The seam is pressed open immediately below the zipper, and then I snipped the left seam allowance and pressed the rest of the seam allowance to the right.  I don’t like leaving seam allowances pressed open because they don’t stay open in the wash, and I won’t be able to re-press them open because the lining will be permanently attached.  Along the zipper itself, I stitched the seam allowances to the zipper tape for a little extra security (and to prevent the seam allowances from flapping around).

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - insideSo there you have it – a finished dress is only a few days away!  I have to hand stitch the lining and hem the skirt (which I’m also planning on doing by hand), and then I’ll have a funky dress that I can basically wear all year round.  The rayon lining ensures that the dress won’t stick to my tights in the winter, but it’s breathable enough to wear in the summer as well.  Score!  And I totally have a matching cardigan.  : )

Can’t wait to show off the finished product!

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4 thoughts on “Sgt. Pepper dress: getting there!

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