changing the back of a dress

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2ndrsmkr wrote
on Feb 19, 2011 8:27 PM

I'm changing the back of an evening gown -- from a neckline  that is at the base of the neck, to a deep V that reaches the waistline.  Any suggestions.  The pattern is a moderate stretch knit that I plan to line. Thanks.

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olive5018 wrote
on Feb 20, 2011 2:17 PM

Since you are working in with a knit, I suggest that you first staystitch (small stitch, slighly looser tension in this case) the entire neckline right next to the seamline, without stretching the bias that you are sewing. Find someone to help you with fitting:

Before doing anymore finishing at the neck, have your helper pin in any gaps that will most likely occur at bust (if low cut) and along the back neckline, usually 1 or 2. These can be pinned like little darts. Measure the front & each back neckline. Add seam allowances for all ends. Mark rayon seam tape (Hug Snug is one brand) at each seam at shoulder and at CF & CB. I don' recommend polyester tape - it's too stiff & adds bulk when folded into the seam. Another option is to use  a narrow strip of lightweight woven selvedge.

 A) If the adjustments are small, pull up one staystitch with a pin on either side of the dart space about 1 1/2"  apart. 

B) If quite a bit of excess is pinned in, you can stitch 2 rows of larger-than-seam-stitching on either side of the staystitching, along a  longer part of the neckline, then pull the bobbin threads up to match the tape marks & secure. Keep in mind that this easing is taking the place of those little darts & should be kept within the area that needs cupping as much as possible, becoming less as you move away from where the dart was pinned. On the inside, center the tape to the neckline on top of the staystitching, matching the seam markings. Pin & baste together. Use the end of a sleeve board or a tailor's ham or stuffed sock on your  press board. Place the puckered area over the form. Now heavily steam the seamlines, not flattening any gathers in the body. Steam no more than 1/4" into the body of the garment. You can pat the puckers down with your fingers. If you are working with rayon or natural fibers, the "bumps" should diminish a lot. To check on the progress of the steaming, roll the seam allowance to the inside at these areas. The roll & the staystitching holding the fabric will "eat" up some of the ease.

B) Remove easestitching, by clipping the bobbin threads at the middle, then pulling from both ends. Top thread will then easily lift out in 1 piece.

Now, about your lining. Does the pattern recommend any woven fabrics? If not, you will need a stretch lining.

Good luck with your project... 

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sandyrumsey wrote
on Feb 28, 2011 5:51 PM

Very informative! Thank you for the post.  I only sew for small people now, but I can use this information during the "over the top" Halloween costume making each year for my grandchildren. 

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