Sewing princess seams with semi-finished edges

Sewing princess seams 02

Sewing princess seams requires a little finessing, and it took me a few tries before I could create a decent-looking curved seam.  Also, I found it puzzling that the traditional method for sewing princess seams (see this tutorial) requires pressing the seam open and clipping and notching the edges, which doesn’t result in a  “finished” edge.  Once the garment is complete, how do you ensure all the little bits of the seam edges stay in place, particularly if the seam is to be permanently enclosed under a lining?  How do you get your iron in there to press it?

After playing around with the seams and doing a little online research, I found a method that I like and that seems to work for me, and I thought I’d share it for anyone else new to princess seams and wondering how to finish the edges.

A few disclaimers:

  • This is *not* the traditional way of sewing princess seams.
  • I’m sure I’m not the first person to tackle princess seams this way.
  • I don’t think there is any real “right” way to do this.  This is just one of many methods that will work, depending on how you’d like the finished seam to be used.
  • This is something that works for me on this particular dress (Butterick 5353), but it may not work for you!
  • I consider myself an advanced beginner and make no claims to know what I’m talking about.  : )

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, here’s how I sew princess seams with a semi-finished edge:

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This muslin is a hot mess

Turquoise and yellow muslin - front

My first muslin of Butterick 5353 was such a disaster that pretty much the only thing to do at this point is sit back, have a big glass of wine, and laugh at how ridiculous it is.  : )   I don’t often call my projects a hot mess, but this one definitely fits the bill!  Please excuse the awful photos in this post – I struggled so much with this stupid dress tonight that I didn’t have any energy left for decent photography.  Just please join me in maniacal laughter about how sewing projects can sometimes go very, very wrong.

There are many things that went horribly wrong with this muslin, but I think the main ones are as follows:

  • I cut this dress at least one size too big, as it is baggy absolutely everywhere.
  • I added too much length to the bodice.  Typically I add an inch at the shoulders and an inch at the waist, but it added up to way too much length in this case.  Pattern alternation FAIL.
  • Even taking into account the previous two bullets, the bodice is HUGE.  Do you see all that extra width (several inches on each side) under my arms?  WTF?!?!???
  • I suck at sewing princess seams (it was my first time doing this) and circular seams (ditto).  Curvy seams are not for beginners!

This dress makes me look like a triangle-shaped alien from a very unfashionable planet.  As LOLcats would say, I haz a sad.  😦

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