Underlining or lining a fitted dress bodice requires more attention to detail if you want a nice, smooth bodice. Have you ever seen an after-market automobile window tint job with a lot of blisters? That's precisely the look we want to avoid when we underline or line a fitted bodice.
The first step is to pre-wash both the fashion fabric and the lining fabric. Wash, dry and press these fabrics. A self-lined garment is ideal because both fabrics will wash and dry at the same rate. Also, self-lined garments will not show to the public side. Cotton batiste, cotton lawn and Bemberg Ambiance rayon also perform well. I usually avoid synthetic fabrics because they do not press or breathe as well as a natural fiber. If your fashion fabric is somewhat heavy or see-through then self-lining may not be a good choice.
Straighten the grain of your fabrics. Tearing the cross-wise grain is fast and accurate. However, more often than not the fabric is stretched, distorted and damaged by this fast technique. Pressing may restore some of the stretch but not the 'pulls' created while tearing. Although pulling a grain thread is more time-consuming there's far less damage to the fabric. This black and white check cotton sateen has been torn, stretched and distorted.
I start by cutting squares of fabric just large enough to acomodate a few pattern pieces. Straighten the grain lines on both the fashion fabric and the lining fabric before you bring them to the rotary mat.
Use the lines on the rotary cutting mat as your guidelines.
Working with a SINGLE layer of fashion fabric, tape the cross grain and selvage to a rotary cutting mat at right angles. Painters tape will not leave residue on your cutting mat. Work with a square of fabric just big enough for two bodice pieces. Then repeat the process with a layer of batiste on top of the fashion fabric. Tape all four sides. Use heavy weights to keep the pattern pieces in position. Cut out with a rotary blade. Do not attempt to pin the fabric or use scissors because both will lift the fabric causing a blister puff. Cutting silk crepe with scissors is like cutting a tray of jello with a serrated knife. Use heavy duty weights on your pattern pieces. (You can also apply painters tape to the pattern piece providing you have tested the tape on a scrap of fabric to see that it doesn't damage the fabric.)
Add your underlining or lining on top of the fashion fabric. You may decide to add a very, very light mist of Sulky KK 2000 if you feel your fabrics have a mind of their own and need a little bit of tacking during the smoothing out process. Silk chiffon and silk charmeuse can be very slippery and will benefit from the temporary adhesive. Some fabrics have 'tooth' which means they naturally grip one another. If this is the case you will not need any spray. Tape all four sides. Position your pattern piece on top with weights. Repeat the process mirror imaging the pattern pieces so you don't cut two of the same side. (Ha, ha.....yes, we have done that one! )
All the NOTCH marks have contrast thread trace lines which will remain in the garment until the garment is complete. At any given time should you need to UN -STITCH a seam line your thread trace lines will still be in position for a re-stitch.
Foundation Skills-Directional Sewing and Stay-Stitching: Back in college we were taught about the importance of directional grain, directional stitching and stay-stitching. I have found both of these procedures to be worth their weight in gold. I realize many people view these tasks as seemingly unimportant because they don't want to spend the time if they can be skipped.
Stay stitching: 1. Reduces the stretching in areas that receive stress. Necklines and armholes are two areas that often suffer from gap-osis. They need to be stabilized with smaller stitches and sometimes with stay tape like silk organza or seam binding.
2. The stay stitching line acts as a guide line where to stop CLIPS.
3. And my favorite of all: Stay-stitching serves as a guide line for permanent lines of stitching. If I trim my seams and then have to re-stitch a seam I always know where my point of origin is
Think about this! Did you ever wonder why the upper edges of the zipper are uneven or why the hemline sags on one side seam of a skirt and not the other ? Chances are one side of the garment was sewn from the hemline to the waist and the other side was sewn from the waist to the hem. This most definitely will cause the grain line in some fabrications to sag. If you sew some fabrics from bottom to top and others from top to bottom they will not look the same and they may stretch more in one direction. It all depends on the fabric. If you start sewing a zipper from the top of the neckline, go across the bottom and then stitch from the waist back up to the neckline the two top edges often are uneven.
This is the Bodice center back and the bodice side back. (double click on any photo to enlarge)
Trim seam allowances down to 3/8 inch. The seam allowance should be flat. Remove tiny pie shaped wedges 1/16th inch on the bodice side back where there are slight bumps. On the center back bodice make straight clips toward the stay stitching line every 1/4-1/2 inch to allow the fabric to spread.
The two center front bodice pieces have stay-stitching lines done between the notches where the curved bodice pieces will be joined. It will be necessary to add clip marks spread 1/4 inch apart in this area to allow the straight line to spread while pinning a curved line to the straight line.
The reason I choose to baste next to the stay stitching line is to eliminate using pins and because I want to be able to flip the unit so I can sew from the bottom to the top. I know it seems somewhat odd to turn the fullness upside down but it's not a problem if the seam line is basted. Basting will lock any movement. If you sew one bodice unit from bottom to top and the other from top to bottom you will look slightly lop-sided when the curve of the bust line goes over the apex. I prefer the level and balanced look . Removing pins during sewing means you stop and start too many times . This interferes with the continuity of the stitching line.
Note: I am not following the directions as given in the pattern guide sheet. I am sewing the shoulder seams together, the front and back neckline and the armholes. DO NOT SEW the SIDE SEAMS !
The neckline is stabilized with a 1/4 wide strip of silk organza to keep the neckline from stretching out of shape. The seam allowances are graded (trimmed to 3/8 Inch) and clipped at 1/4 inch intervals to allow the seam allowance to bend.
The underlining/lining is intentionally showing just a hint. The white batiste extends about 1/16th of an inch beyond the coral fashion fabric. This process of exposing the lining is referred to as 'favoring' a fabric. This will allow the coral fabric to hide the underlining from public view. In the photo below you can see a slight puff in the shoulder strap area. It is NOT flat on the rotary mat. When the unit is turned inside out with a pair of surgical clamps you will see how the white batiste is hidden from public view. Insert the clamps starting at the bodice front. Allow the clamp to continue between the shoulder seam until you are able to grasp the back bodice. Grab the base of the back bodice and pull it through the shoulder seam toward the front bodice. Yes, it actually can be pulled through that 1 3/4 inch opening.
Under stitching is where the lining is tacked/sewn to the seam allowance only. The stitches are not visible on the fashion fabric. If you choose to do a 'hand picked' stitch you can actually get further up into the narrow shoulder strap area. If you under stitch with the sewing machine you simply will not be able to manipulate the foot of the sewing machine into a narrow passage. You should be able to machine stitch a fairly sufficient amount though.
The side seams can now be sewn together with a standard 5/8 inch seam allowance.
That tiny amount of 'favoring' keeps that lining out of public sight.
The remainder of this garment is NOT fitted.
Continue with pattern guide sheet directions.