We're continuing with Part 2 of sewing the racerback sundress.
See pictures of the finished dress here.
See Part 1 -Seam Allowances and the printable pattern - here.
Today we're going to bind the openings (neckline and armscyes) of the sundress, using strips of knit fabric.
Now that you've printed out the pattern, follow its pictorial instructions to lay out on and cut out the fabric. You will need approximately a yard of 45" knit fabric, or less, depending on the size of your child. As long as the fabric has a good sideways stretch to it, it will work. It does not have to be super stretchy in all four directions; in fact those might be harder to handle with this dress. Good examples are Tshirt knits, jersey knits, even rib knits.
When you are ready to sew, you should have:
- A front bodice piece, with necessary seam allowances, cut on the fold.
- A back bodice piece, with necessary seam allowances, cut on the fold.
- A rectangle for the shoulder strap, of appropriate dimensions.
- A rectangle for the skirt, of appropriate dimensions.
- Strips of knit fabric 1.25" wide, cut so that they stretch most from end to end i.e. you can lengthen the strip easily by pulling it along its ends. If using knit fabric with a ribbed weave, have the ribs perpendicular to the long edge. These strips have to be long enough to bind the neckline and armscyes.
- 1/4" clear elastic long enough, unstretched, to go around the chest of your child, plus 2".
- Ball-point needle and regular polyester sewing thread.
If you have worked with bias tape before, this will be very familiar.
Press/iron the knit strips in half to get the center line. You may press a second fold on each side of that line to get it to look like single-fold bias tape, but it isn't necessary. Mentally divide the entire width of that strip into four, and use that width as your seam allowance for sewing. This should be about 1/4".
We're now going to whizz through the attachment process for the neckline, just for an overview, and then share some tips when we repeat the whole thing for the armscye.
Position one knit strip along one end of the neckline so that the right side of the knit strip lies on the wrong side of the front bodice neckline. Line up their edges and sew to attach this strip to the wrong side of the neckline, just the way you would with bias tape.
Flip over to the right side and fold in the free edge of the knit strip to meet the edge of the neckline.
Fold over a second time to enclose the raw edges, just like single-fold bias tape. Overlap the first stitching line (the one visible in the photo below) just enough to conceal it.
Lay this under the presser foot and top-stitch close to the edge of the binding. You don't need to stretch anything as you sew.
Here's the finished neckline.
We'll now repeat that for the armscye, with some additional commentary. First, sew the front and back bodice pieces together at ONE side seam. To do this, just lay the bodice pieces, right sides together, and sew along the stitching line. Finish the raw edges (I used a serger).
Position one knit strip along one end of the armscye so that the right side of the knit strip (labeled "edging" in the photos) lies on the wrong side of the bodice. Line up their edges and sew to attach this strip to the wrong side of the armscye, the way you did with the neckline in Step 2.
The only tip worth mentioning is that as you sew a straight (but stretchy) edging to a curved armscye, gently straighten the curved armscye AND stretch the edging slightly (just enough to keep it taut) to compensate for this manipulation. Like this:
Remember that the edging needs to only be slightly stretched. If you overstretch it, your armscye/neckline will pucker. If you have a walking foot, you don't even need to stretch the edging - the walking foot does it for you.
Repeat steps 3-5 to top-stitch the knit strip/edging onto the right side of the armscye.
Here's the finished armscye:
This is what the bodice looks like with the neckline and one armscye done.
Repeat Steps 6-8 to bind the other armscye.
Trim of the excess edging. Now get ready to put the dress together in Part 3!