Bridgetown Dress in Crepe: Sleeves, Side Seams, & Skirt

Hello lovely sewists! Today we are halfway through our Bridgetown Dress sew-along, with an ankle-length hack and side-slit. This post will demonstrate sewing up our sleeves, and side seams - both the bodice side seams, and the skirt as well. We will then pick up on the fifth, to finish our slit, waist seam, and elasticized waist.

So let's look at those sleeves!

First, we take our sleeve piece and fold along the long fold line, wrong sides together. Pin, and then stitch at 3/8" (top of page 11).

Next, we sew our sleeves to our shoulder. Open up the bodice flat and pin the edge of the sleeve we just stitched, to the raw edge of the bodice armscye. The notches in the bodice armsye, and on the sleeve, will help you align this seam:

In general, I sew with the sleeve against the machine, and the bodice facing up, to account for the tiny amount of gathering that helps this seam form smoothly.

When you finish this seam, go ahead and finish it - by stitching-and-pinking, zig-zag, or serging, as I have done - and gently press the seams to the body of the garment (bottom of page 11).

I have to confess, I am in love with the elegant sleeve hem this effects:

Below - the shoulder of the dress, hanging off my hand, with the sleeve draping down at right:

Now it's time for those bodice side seams (top of page 12)! Pin these carefully:

Stitch, making sure to firmly backstitch at the sleeve hems, and make sure there are no thread tangles there. Either draw these thread tails to one side, knot, and hide the tails in the hem fold - or simply backstitch and cut off at the backstitch:

Now, I'm going to show you a technique such that the sleeve hems will look gorgeous, with no serge threads peaking out. Recall that for many sleeves, the hem is finished after the side seam; in this dress, the side seam is sewn after the sleeve hem is finished. This is why it behooves us to clean up that side seam, for a perfect result.

Shown below: the sleeve hem at the underside, right-side facing us. Note the hem is lined up perfectly at this seam:

Go ahead and finish your bodice side seams - by zig zag, stitching-and-pinking, or as I have done - by serging. Leave long thread tails:

Pull your thread tails to one side, and knot. If serging, simply stretch out your thread chain. Take a large needle, and thread the tails or serge into the interior of the seam:

Draw the threads through...

And clip close to where they emerge from the seam:

 This makes for super tidy sleeve finish!

Go ahead and layer the back bodice together, right-sides up, lining up the center back notches (bottom of page 12). Sew, and set aside.

Next, we are constructing our skirt side seams. Remember, I am making a side slit, here. If you are not, go ahead and ignore the next three photos.

For the slit, I finished matching side seams on the slit side. Shown below, my side slit marks, before matching right-sides and sewing above the side slit:

Whenever I have to stop in the middle of a seam, I like to mark with a double-pin so I don't just merrily stitch it closed. Here are my pins, right at the marks I indicated above:

I then sew at 5/8" from the top raw edge, all the way to this mark, and firmly backstitch. Then, I take this seam to the ironing board and press it open, including the 5/8" serged edges lining the slit:

Place the skirt bottoms together, and stitch and finish the other side seam of the skirt (if you created a slit in the first side) - or finish both skirt sides, if you are omitting a slit (top of page 12). I went ahead and serge-finished both seam allowances together, before lightly steam-pressing this seam to the skirt back.

If you are making a banded version of Bridgetown (version A or B), go ahead and finish your band side seams in a similar manner as your skirt (bottom of page 13).

And - that's it for today! We will be finishing our hems, and joining the dress, in our next installment on the 5th.


How is your sewing going? Feel free to ask questions; also, you can post pictures of your progress either here, Instagram #bridgetownbacklessdress - or on the Facebook page!

See you in a couple days!