If you have cut and marked your material properly – you are now ready to proceed in finishing your dress and then have your first dress fitting.
Baste or pin in all darts, tucks, and any other inside design form shaping details.
Stay-stitch all curved and bias edges to prevent stretching material out of shape. Remember to handle your material lightly at all times.
Pin or baste shoulder and side seams of bodice. Baste sleeve seams and put aside. Pin or baste skirt seams.
THE FIRST FITTING
Drape bodice on dress form or living figure. Make any changes necessary in the fit of the garment by removing original pins or basting as you go along and replacing them at proper places.
These changes may be made at constructions seams, or at the darts, or other shaping seams. Don’t make the mistake of over fitting – remember to leave room for action.
When you are satisfied with the fit of this part of your costume, drape the skirt over your form, turn down seam allowance at waistline and attach to bodice at the waistline by matching your side seams, center front and center back, and other markings inherent to your design. Make corresponding alterations in the same manner you followed in fitting the bodice.
CHECK ON YOUR STRAIGHT OF GOODS. MAKE SURE THIS AT CENTER FRONT AND CENTER BACK IS EXACTLY PERPENDICULAR (AT RIGHT ANGLES) TO THE FLOOR. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT IF YOU EXPECT TO HAVE YOUR GARMENT HANG OR DRAPE PROPERLY.
When your design calls for a bias cut pattern – the exact line of true bias must be perpendicular to the floor in the same manner – either at the center front and back, or at the design center as, for example, the center of each gore or godet.
Mark any changes you have made with chalk. Remove garment from form and take the next step to the finish line. Before you remove any pins, make sure that you have marked all seam allowances and all changes.
Detach skirt from bodice and take apart side and shoulder seams – BUT DO NOT DESTROY OR REMOVE ANY OF YOUR MARKINGS!
Begin with sewing in all your darts and inner lines of design.
Don’t forget to press as you go along.
PRESS EACH DART, SEAM, OR LINE OF SEWING BEFORE ATTACHING ANY CROSS SEAMS OR ASSEMBLING THE ADJOINING PART.
Press darts from the wider part toward the tip. Use your press mitt or tailor’s ham. Press waistline and shoulder darts toward the center of the garment; and bust line or sleeve darts downward. When working with very heavy material or very wide darts – trim dart to about 1″ of sewing line and press open, leaving a triangular fold at the tip of the dart.
In pressing seams – first press them open and then toward the direction desired; or leave them open if this is your intention as a designer. When one edge of seam has to be eased to match the length of the opposite edge as for example the top edges of sleeves or fullness over bust – in order to achieve neat shaping, gather in the fullness with a small running stitch to the length desired and steam shrink to shape by pressing over a curved surface such as your tailor’s ham.
ALWAYS PRESS BIAS SECTION WITH THE GRAIN OF THE MATERIAL TO AVOID STRETCHING OUT OF SHAPE.
TIPS FROM A PROFESSIONAL DRESSMAKER
Time for a second dress fitting.
Complete the bodice in all details except for final finishing. Sew in the interfacing if use of it is necessary to hold and reinforce the shape of your design.
Sew in facings wherever required.
If your design calls for a collar – baste it in.
Set in your sleeves and baste.
Have another fitting to check on collar and sleeves – Do the sleeves fall properly? – Is there enough ease for movement? – Does the collar lay smooth or roll the way you planned it? Measure off the length of the sleeves. Mark any changes necessary.
Now finish the bodice completely.
Remember to press each seam before sewing on a cross seam.
Now you are ready for a fourth dress fitting. Your dress will then be complete.