Sewing Vloggers

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The lining solved and a flutter sleeve

I made my decision regarding the lining/underlining quandary with this knit dress. The nude lining will be treated as an underlining for the neckline, shoulders and sleeves, being sewn into the seams as if it were one with the fashion fabric. Then from the armscye down the lining and dress would be sewn separately and hang freely. How's that sound? Now that it is all done I am really pleased with the results. I put wrong sides together of the FF and lining for each of the front and back and proceeded per the start of the pattern. 

Clear elastic was stay stitched into the back neckline. Then it was  turned in on the 5/8ths seamline as the pattern instructed. I then topstitched it twice. After that I put some cotton selvedge stay tape on the shoulder seam line which basted the lining to the FF there.

Just to keep it real here, this is my cowl facing snafu. Just between you and me, ok? We really sew here and I don't try to gloss over my mistakes. Most of the time I read through a pattern once or twice before even cutting it out then it is pretty much put aside. This time it was a mistake.  I lay my pattern out on the fashion fabric and as soon as I cut the armscye out on the dress front I looked and just knew it was too short. As usual I lined up the hemline of the pattern with the bottom left of my yardage. I had plenty of fabric but to move both pieces, front and back, past that cut armscye to get the additional 15 inches would not work, no matter how I tried and I tried everything.  I walked away. I went back an hour later, looked at the fabric and immediately had my solution. All of the blue you see above is the inside facing of the cowl. No one is going to see that, right? By piecing the cowl facing, I could, with fingers tightly crossed, squeeze out enough fabric to get the lengths I needed for the back and front. This is a floor length dress. It worked and I am beyond thrilled. We really sew here, to paraphrase Emeril.

Again the lining is being treated as an underlining here. But I decided to cut it off at the fold of the cowl. I thought it would look "thick" otherwise. So the blue cowl facing you see will fold at the edge of the nude lining and be caught in the sleeve construction. I basted the edge of the lining to the FF so it wouldn't fall in and droop inside the cowl. I felt that was really necessary and it worked well. Once this was done the dress was put together at the shoulders with the cowl facing wrapping around the shoulder seam and giving it a really nice finish. 

My next challenge was to draft a flutter sleeve, really quite easy. The sleeves on this dress would be faced with the nude lining. In the end it gave the sleeve a really nice drape and look. Here's how I made the flutter sleeve. I first took the short sleeve of the pattern and at the sleeve center and three more times left and right of center I drew a red line from the cap to the hem. These lines were one inch apart.  Most instructions out on the web show these lines continuing to the underarm seam. Don't do that. That contributes to excess floppy fabric in the underarm area. You really only want the flutter on the "top" of the sleeve where everyone can see it. This line was then cut from the hem to about a 1/4 inch from the sleeve cap edge. This gives you a hinge to keep your sleeve cap shape and still spread out the sleeve. 

I taped the top of the piece, at the cap, to the tracing paper. Each slit was measured and taped to the mat at 1 1/2 inches apart. When all is measured, spread and taped, draw the outline on your tracing paper.  

Mark all your dots and notches. I decided this sleeve was too long and measured back an inch and a half. In researching this sleeve project I found that a flutter sleeve that is too long can look EXTREMELY frumpy. So I cut this one back. Luckily, my friend is the same height as me so I was able to proceed without her on this length issue. 

Here is the final pattern with which I cut the two sleeves and their facings. I sewed the FF to the lining at the long curved edge and pressed toward the lining. I then understitched the lining. This gave me a really pretty, soft edge to the sleeve. This is a lot more work than one would usually do with a knit but I did not want this thin knit to look like a tee shirt. So I kept the finished edges clean of topstitching, at least everything except the back neck which needed it and looks OK. The dress has a softer more formal look this way. I would take pics but this dress is too large for my form. I will definitely get pics on my friend. 

After the sleeves I sewed the lining side seams together and then separately, the dress side seams together. It hangs and looks lovely and I am really pleased with the cowl. It came out better than I thought. That trauma of miscutting had me wondering but no more.  Next I'll put the sleeves in the dress and then bring it in for my friend to try on . I'll measure for the hem, sew that, and then it will be on it's way. I think she'll be the prettiest bridesmaid there..............Bunny


  1. I really like the treatment of the underlining changing to a lining at the armscye. I always learn so much from your blog, and maybe someday will tackle a knit. How will you treat the slit? I'm sure you had a panic attack with the cowl cutting, but walking away and coming back later almost always helps. I have often figured out sewing dilemmas during my morning walk, when I had plenty of time to think about it. The dress will be lovely!

    1. Cynthia, I haven't quite decided what to do about the slit. I want to see how it hangs and moves on my friend first. One thought was securing the lining to the edge of the fashion fabric but I am fearing odd pulling with that. The other part was to cut the lining back at the slit and use some tacks to secure the lining to the dress at the seams. I will keep you posted and you let you know. Thanks for asking.

    2. I also like the idea of treating them as one above the armscye and as 2 below. I'll be watching to see how the slit works out as well. Sometimes I think that we overthink these things because we are seamstress and want it all to be perfect. :) I know you'll come up with something that works well.

  2. Looking forward to seeing the finisged dress... Thanks for the infi on drafting a flutter sleeve.

  3. Oh neat way to make the sleeve change, ill try it next time on one of my fall dress. Thanks! :-)


Engaging commentary:

On Making a Guayabera

I haven't forgotten you, lovely sewing friends. I have been straight out with sewing for our vacation which is coming up soon. Add in ga...