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

Hello stitchers! Today we are halfway through our Bridgetown backless dress, in knit jersey. We will be attaching our sleeves, and constructing our side seams and hem.

I absolutely love the sleeves on this dress. They are constructed so that the hem is created by a fold, bisecting the sleeve's width (piece C). Fold the sleeve wrong-sides together, and presew on the raw curved edges (top of page 11). In my case, the jersey "glued" to itself nicely, so I did not presew.

Recall the notches on both the front and back bodice armscye; those, as well as the shoulder seam, align with the marked points on the folded sleeve. Pin at 5/8" and stitch; I generally stitch with the sleeve facing against the machine, and the bodice facing up. I used the lightning bolt stitch for strength:

After sewing this seam and making sure there are no gathers or puckers, go ahead and finish the seam. I serge-finished, but you can stitch-and-pink or zig zag and trim.

Then, press the seam toward the bodice; I used my pressing ham and light steam:

At right in the above photo, you can see the finished sleeve hem, right along the grain of the sleeve.

Now, we sew the bodice side seams by placing the bodice side seams right sides together. Make sure the stitch at the hem sleeve in particular is tidy. I finished this seam by serging, and then hiding the serge-tail.

First, I leave a long serge tail:

Then, I thread this tail through a large needle, and insert the needle right at the end of the hem, sandwiched in the finished seam allowance:

I pull the thread tail through...

And carefully clip it. The thread tail is now hidden.

Finally, we overlap the back bodice, lining up our center back notch. Then, stitch these together. Notice our facings are longer than the bodice - leave them, for now.

Time for our side seams, skirt-side!

Both the skirt, and the band, are constructed the same way: we place the right-sides together for our skirt (or band) pieces, and stitch, matching notches for the skirt side seam (page 13):

Finish these seams - I elected to serge-finish - and press them whichever direction you like (I press to the back of the dress).

This dress hem is finished before the skirt is affixed to the bodice. If you are attaching a band to the skirt (version A or B), fold the band edges together (piece B), wrong-sides facing. Pre-sew at the raw edges, then affix to the bottom of the finished skirt by pinning and sewing (top of page 14). Finish this seam, and press toward the skirt body.

In my case, I am making version C, with a 3/4" hem; in order to create my hem, I first serge-finished the entire hemline of the skirt. This makes the hem step a little easier - and will look tidy on the inside of the garment. Shown below: the finished raw hem edge (running horizontally) and the finished side seam:

I then took my skirt to my ironing board and pressed up 3/4" to the wrong side of the skirt (page 14):

taking the skirt back to the machine, I topstitched with the double needle, to finish the hem. It is the nature of the double needle that we stitch from the public side of the garment. However when you have pressed evenly and sew slowly, it is easy to catch this hem edge in the double needle's bottom stitch:

And that's it, for today!

How is your dress going? Be sure to let us know! You can post pictures of your creations either here, Instagram #bridgetownbacklessdress - or on the Facebook page!