- LEARN TO SEW
- SEWING PATTERNS
9 March 2017
Sewing Zadie: Sew the Side Seams and Hems
Last steps of the Zadie sewalong! Let’s get the side seams sewn up and the dress hemmed.
Catching up? Order your Zadie sewing pattern and catch up on the sewalong!
Let’s get going. Fold the front dress over the back dress, right sides together.
This next bit is probably the second fiddliest part of making the dress – sorry! The aim of the game is to create a neat, triangular point where the diagonal skirt seams meet at the side seams. Line up the diagonal pocket opening seam with the diagonal back skirt seam so they’re exactly on top of each other.
Thread a needle and tack (baste) them together by hand for about 5cm (2in) up from the side seams. Don’t tack the front side panel – you’re just tacking the pocket facing, front skirt and back skirts together.
This is what it should look like once tacked.
To make extra sure they don’t move when you stitch the side seams, use a long straight stitch on your sewing machine to tack the side seams together, 15mm (5/8in) from the edge, a few cm above and below where the diagonal seams meet.
Unpick the previous hand tacking, then unfold the side seams and take a look at the right side of the dress to check the diagonal seams are meeting in a nice triangular point. If they’re looking a bit wonky, you can unpick them if it bothers you and try tacking them again. I know this bit is fiddly, but keep the faith!
(And hey, if you decide that life's too short and you're happy with the seams, good on you!)
Okay, we’re on the home straight now. Pin the front dress to the back dress at the side seams – and underarm seams if you’re making long or three-quarter sleeves – matching notches. It’s a good idea to tack (baste) these seams before stitching them for real so you can try your dress on. If you prefer a closer fit on the bodice and sleeves, you can sew it again with a wider seam allowance.
Narrow zigzag stitch or overlock in one line from the end of the sleeve – or the underarm seam on the cap sleeve version – to the dress hem. (If you’re making a colour blocked dress, you might want to switch thread colours when you get to the bottom of the diagonal back skirt seam.)
Trim the seam allowances if you didn’t overlock them, and press them open or towards the back.
Try your dress on again and check you’re happy with the length of the skirt – it’ll be 25mm (1in) shorter once hemmed. The long or three-quarter length sleeves will also be 25mm (1in) shorter when they’re finished – so check you’re happy with their length too. You can trim off any excess fabric if you want the dress or sleeves to be shorter.
If you’re using an overlocker (serger), finish the raw edge of the hem. Fold the skirt hem under 25mm (1in), wrong sides together, press and pin in place. Topstitch with a wide and even zigzag 20mm (3/4in) from the edge.
For the cap sleeve version:
Fold the top edges of the side panels (the underarms) under 15mm (5/8in), wrong sides together, press and pin in place. Topstitch them in place with a wide and even zigzag (the same stitch you used for the cap sleeve hem), 10mm (3/8in) from the edge, starting and ending at the side panel seams. You may need to stretch the raw edge slightly to fit the seam as it’s curved.
For the long or three-quarter length sleeve version:
If you’re using an overlocker (serger), finish the raw edges of the sleeve hems. Fold the edge of each sleeve under 25mm (1in), wrong sides together, press and pin in place. With the dress right sides out and sewing inside the loop of the sleeve (rather than wrapping it around your sewing machine, which can stretch it out), topstitch with a wide and even zigzag 20mm (3/4in) from the edge.
And you’ve finished!! Woooooooo!
Massive congratulations on making it through the sewalong and finishing your Zadie dress! I really hope you love what you’ve made.
I’m dying to see it – please share a picture on Instagram @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingZadie so we can all admire your finished dress :)