Bridgetown Dress in Crepe: Finishing

Can you believe it? Today we finish our Bridgetown Dress! This post will demonstrate finishing our hems and side slit (if we've added the latter), and creating our elasticized waist.

So, for those of us making a side slit, these next eleven photos and instruction are for us! In our previous entry we had finished the side seams, including the seams of the hem. At this point, if we are serging, we can serge-finish the entire hem, leaving a long serge chain and threading this chain back into the wrong-side of the serged hem edge. If you're not serging, you can either fold here, or - as is my recommendation - stitch and pink, or zig-zag, this raw edge:

Now, we fold back our hem at the depth we want. If we have any questions at all about how deep we want this hem (and therefore how long we want the dress, we can either wait to finish our hem (after we've installed the waist seam), or we can baste the bodice to the skirt, and double-check our length. If you take this latter course, remember to have your client gather the waist of the bodice right where she's going to feel comfortable wearing it.

Provided we are confident about our hem depth, we can put our hem together as follows:

Fold the hem back to the right-side of the garment along your marked hemline. Pin along the side slit line:

Next, stitch right at 5/8" from the fold, up to where the serged edge intersects with the side seam allowance, and firmly backstitch. Repeat for both sides of the side slit:

Taking this to the ironing board, first iron these two seams open, then flip the hem to the wrong side; press along this seam, and also the hem fold line. Take your time to press well, measuring to make sure you have a consistent hem depth; pin this hem in place at the serged inner seam.

Now, here's a fun part!

We are going to stitch right on top of our seam finish, starting at the hem seam finish, and swiveling right up through the open seam allowance. Stitch slowly, making sure the fabric doesn't bunch or gather as you create this hem:

As you approach the slit, slow down. You will want to move the two folded edges together, and mark a perpendicular line 5/8" from the slit opening. Taking care here, will result in a slit that looks good and hangs well:

When you approach your starting point of this long seam, simply pull all four threads to the backside, knot, and hide the thread tails in the hem.

At this point, I like to give the hem another pressing to set it well.

Now, if you haven't elected to do a side slit, you simply finish the hem (or the band) according to page 14. For the best hem effects, press well, pin well - and sew slowly!

Now - it's time to join that bodice to the skirt! You will want these circumferences at the raw edge, to be identical. If they are not, remove the lower back bodice basting stitch (what was referred to as the "back bodice presew" at the bottom of page 12), and adjust so these two seams will fit perfectly.

Pin and sew at 1", as indicated at the top of page 15.

Next, go ahead and (finally) clip those long facing bits, and finish the raw edge of this seam. Be careful not to finish this seam allowance any shorter than 3/4" - you are going to need this tunnel to be wide enough to thread your elastic.

Now, sew this finished seam allowance, down to the skirt side. I sew from the wrong side, carefully adjusting to make sure i don't trap any ripples in this seam. Make sure to leave a small opening in this seam - I left it at the back bodice, toward the side - as indicated at the bottom of page 15.

Now, we get to thread our elastic (cut at the waist measurement). There is no super-easy way to make sure your elastic doesn't twist when you thread it. I employ one method, but even it isn't foolproof.

First, I mark my elastic on one side, at the two short ends. Then, I grip one end with my threading bodkin:

Next, I pin one end of the elastic firmly to my ironing board:

Making sure not to twist the elastic, thread it through the channel, keeping the bodkin orientation the entire time:

When you've pulled the elastic through, go ahead and match the ends...

And baste them closed. We are going to slip the elastic into the waist, and feel with our fingers to make sure we didn't accidentally twist it.

Once we've checked, and our elastic is twist-free, go ahead and firmly zig-zag the elastic ends together (step 2 on page 16).

Slip the elastic back into the channel, and carefully stitch the waist channel closed (bottom of page 16).

All finished! Wonderful work!

We hope you enjoyed this sew-along. Did you add the length and slit? Show us your pictures! You can post them here, Instagram #bridgetownbacklessdress - or post them on the Facebook page!