#RoyalWeddingSewAlong Constructing the Bodice (McCall's 7684)

Today we start the actual construction of our dresses! Yay!

The first thing to do is sew all of our darts: front and back bodice darts on lining and outer fabric, so eight total. One tip is to shorten your stitch length as you get about an inch away from the dart tip, and to curve it slightly so by the time you reach the dart tip, you are practically parallel to the edge of the fabric and can just sort of fall off the edge. This will help avoid a bubbly dart tip!

When all your darts are sewn, press them (always towards the center). You may want to use a pressing ham if you have it, but it's not necessary if you don't.

Next, we'll make the straps. These have a lot of marks and notches on them so double check you got them all! Follow the instructions from the pattern, matching two sets of straps right sides together, sewing long edges, and turning right sides out, and press. The strap on the left is mid-trim, the one on the right is turned and pressed:

Okay--I'm diverging from the instructions here, so bear with me for a bit. The next step (according to me, but not the instructions!) is to attach the waistband on front and back bodice pieces. These pieces are easy to get upside down since they're pretty rectangular, so make sure to match notches!

Repeat for lining.

The reason I'm using attaching the waistband pieces now instead of how the instructions would have you do it (sew waistband backs to front and attach it to the completed bodice) is because it means there is no extra unpicking of underarm staystitching, etc. if you decide to take in or let out your side seams at some point!

I'm attaching the straps in a bit of a puzzling way, but it should all make sense in the end. I'm going to sandwich the straps, pointing down, between the front bodice and front bodice lining, right sides together, all notches aligned, so that the lining, fabric, and straps are all parallel at the top. (Hint: the angled end of the strap goes towards the back.) Do the same for both straps.

Now you can easily sew all the way across the top of the garment, pivoting at the marks at the top of the neckline to sew across the straps (this will give you crisp corners at your strap/bodice join).

Once you've sewn across the whole top, you may want to just take a quick peek to see what you've done: gently tug the straps out of the bottom and you should see that they are nicely installed in between the bodice front and lining.

Turn your fabric inside out again (like how you sewed it) and press press press, trim trim trim! You also may want to understitch your lining (tutorial here, I really can't improve on Threads magazine.).

Your bodice front should look like this, with little straps sticking out the top:

And the interior:

Now we'll do the same thing for each of the bodice backs. Sandwich the strap ends (with the front bodice attached, now) between the back fabric and lining pieces, right sides together.

Sew across the top, clip, press, understitch, etc:

and turn out:

Now we'll attach the front bodice to back bodice at the side seams in another puzzle-y way: matching front fabric for back fabric and front lining to back lining on either side, sew the side seam, making sure to align the waistband seams and the transition from fabric to lining. I like to put a pin right at the seam join so that they are together going under the needle. Do the same for the other side.

If your pressing, clipping, and understitching was good for the last few steps, it should be fairly easy to simply press the lining down into the inside of the bodice, and have a completed bodice ready to go!

Here's my completed bodice:

Any questions? As usual, leave a comment or send me an email!


ps: next week, skirt!

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  1. I'm not sure those bodice darts should be pressed toward the center. It is usuak to pree them towards the sides. Does the pattern specifically give this direction? It's not the norm.

    1. I believe this pattern does call for darts pressed towards the center, and in fact, opinion seems divided online about pressing darts towards the center or towards the sides, with some saying it is usually press towards the center and some the opposite. I'm not sure if this is a rule of thumb that has changed recently, because my vintage patterns generally suggest pressing towards the center as well.

  2. I came straight from Instagram because I forgot to comment how freaking in love I am with that fabric. OMG. I can't wait to see the finished dress.

  3. Sheryll at Patterns Scissors Cloth has a post on pressing darts up vs down, and I'm wondering if there might be similar differences in pressing to the center vs pressing to the sides. Being able to catch the legs in the associated seam, though, means it makes sense to use the pattern's instructions unless you remember to adjust before cutting (which I'm not sure I'd remember, personally...) https://patternscissorscloth.com/2010/12/12/bust-darts-up-or-down/

  4. I absolutely love your fabric too. great combination of pattern and fabric!



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