After Dark Sewing’s Trudy Dress

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The Trudy dress can be made in several styles; I chose to make the cap sleeve version, along with the collar – but I adapted the collar slightly so it is more curvy and smaller. I will show you how to sew the whole dress!

Begin by tracing your pattern pieces and cutting your fabric. I used this polyviscose jacquard from FC Fabric Studio – it’s a gorgeous fabric; easy to sew and care for, with a nice texture. Highly recommended!

For the cap sleeve and collar version, you will need: one front bodice, two back bodices, one front skirt, two back skirts, one small front facing, two small back facings, four collars, and four cap sleeves.

Remember to mark your darts. The first step is to sew all those darts; on the bodice pieces and skirt pieces.

Next, sew your bodice front pieces to bodice back pieces, right sides together. Press the seams open and finish them.

And do the same with your facing pieces – right sides together. You could interface these if your fabric is lightweight – my fabric wasn’t so I left them.

Now you can prepare your cap sleeves. You should have two pieces for each side. Sew two pairs together; right sides together along the slightly curved edge that will be the hem. Trim, clip curves, turn right side out and press.

With each sleeve, pin (or clip!) the unsewn curved edge to the armscye, matching the centre to the bodice shoulder seam. Make sure you have no puckers, then finish that edge and press.

Now to prepare your collar, iron interfacing to the wrong side of two pieces. You need to pairs; one of each pair should be interfaced. If you’d like curved edges like me, simple cut a curved edge into that corner; it’s best to cut them all at once so you get the same size curve. Then sew each pair of collar pieces together, right sides together – along the sides and lower edge but not the top (neckline) edge. Trim and clip, flip right sides out and press.

Pin (or clip!) these collar pieces on to your bodice piece, matching centre front. You need to overlap the collar pieces at the centre front by the seam allowance (which is 1cm) so that once sewn, they meet really nicely in the middle. Now, you will notice here that my collar is larger than it is once finished. Upon trying the dress on, I decided it was too tight around my neck, and also I didn’t like the size of the collar. It suits some people but not me! So I sewed the collar with a larger seam allowance. I did this after sewing the facing, but it’s best if you check the fit before you sew on the facing (i.e. now!)

You’ll then sew on your facing piece, on top of the collar. So the collar is sandwiched between thebodice and facing. Match up your seams and the back edges.

Once sewn, you should see that the collar meets nicely in the middle. Trim the seam allowance, and clip the curves. You can also just use pinking shears to do both at the same time!

Understitch that seam – this is stitching close to the stitching line you just made, sewing the seam allowance to the facing. This helps the facing stay rolled towards your body.

Now that your bodice is complete, you can sew that to your skirt pieces. Match up your darts for a really neat finish. Sew the bodice front to skirt front, and the bodice back to skirt backs. Always right sides together, press open the seam allowance and finish the seam.

Next sew your side seams, starting at the armscye/sleeve, going all the way down to the hem. This isn’t pictured but it should be pretty self-explanatory!

Now for the zip. I used pink because that’s all I had… I rather like it though! Remember to finish the edges of the fabric before inserting the zip as it’s much easier than trying to do it afterwards.

Flip open the facing and place the top of the zip (not the top of the tape, but where the actual teeth are) as close to the seam between the bodice and facing as possible. Sew down the side of the zip, and repeat on the other side. There are some good tutorials online showing how to insert a zip neatly so I haven’t gone in to great detail here!

Once the zip is in, flip down the facing on each side, right sides together (on top of the zip). With your zip foot, sew that down on top of the zip. Flip it right sides out and you’ll have a neat finish to the top of the dress.

Sew the rest of the back seam with a regular zip foot – it’s good to start at the hem and meet the zip a few millimetres away from where it ends.

Finally it’s time to hem the dress and give it a final press! I handstitched the hem to give it a neat blind look (with no visible stitching) – but you can simply fold and press, fold and press and sew! Check the length first though as I found I didn’t want to lose much of the length; you don’t want to hem it too short!

Ta-dah, that’s it! Any questions, I’m here and at www.afterdarksewing.wordpress.com

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