Hello my beautiful friends!
I hope your week is progressing well and that you are checking a lot of things off your to-do list! I, for one, am quite happy to check off this tutorial from my list, as it has been here for a few days now! You've read Part One, where I showed you how to draft the pattern pieces of your Open Back Dress, and today I'm happily presenting Part Two!! I will go over how to assemble the dress, with special focus on the waistband. By the way, the tutorial assumes you are a fairly experienced sewist, so it won't go into great details over the more usual steps. But if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them in the comments. :-)
Before starting, make sure all of your pieces are cut out, properly marked and interfaced. :-)
1- Join the front and back pieces of the bodice and the skirt. To do this, you can first sew side seams of skirt, then shoulder seam of bodice, than side seam of bodice. When sewing the side seam of bodice, take care to leave approximately 5/8" unsewned at the bottom towards the waist, so as to stop your stitching line 5/8" before you reach the waist. (See dark pink lines in illustration bellow.)
2- Gather your skirt piece. Gather your bodice piece at the waist, only in the front.
3- Attach the bodice to the waistband, but only along the yellow line above. We're making an open back dress, so the goal is to sew only the front piece to the waistband, leaving the back out. That said, the finished dress looks better if I extended the stitching line one inch passed each side seams. It ended up delineating the waistline from the front, to avoid creating a boxy silhouette. A tip: reinforce the beginning and end of that stitching line (yellow line), since they're pressure points on the finished dress.
4- Attach the skirt to (the bottom of) the waistband, just like you normally would.
5- Next, press, as shown bellow.
6- Waistband facing: Pin and machine-sew the top of the waistband facing, to the bottom of the waistband and top skirt pieces. The right side of the facing should be against the wrong side of the skirt. During this process, have the bodice out of the way and folded back.
7- Press waistband facing and stitch-in-the-ditch or handstitch the top of the waistband facing, like so.
8- Finish the lower hem of the back bodice, by serging or zigzaging and turning over (above and bellow). Other options would be to add a facing, to extend the hem by an inch in the pattern-drafting phase to allow for "a turn and a turn" type of hem (like I did bellow) or to double the back pieces creating a sort of self-lining. Bellow is one option for finishing, depicted from the outside and the inside of the dress.
9- Sew the two back pieces together along the Center Back seam, after having finished the edge, stopping as far as you want depending on how much back you want to show (and whether or not you want your bra to show, for example). Press seam open, and topstitch along the two sides (see third picture bellow).
10- Insert the back zipper, either by machine or by hand. If you want the zipper to come all the way up into the waistband, sew that last bit by hand. Also, if you want to insert an elastic, do it before this step. :-)
And that's it for the tricky parts of assembling your open-back dress! I wish all of you a wonderful time making this dress, and make sure to leave a link in the comment so I can admire your work!
Thanks for letting me share and happy sewing everyone!