Clever Charlotte

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 2, the Bodice

Olivine Dress, TutorialsErinComment

The Front Bodice is probably the trickiest part of our new Olivine Dress sewing pattern. In today's tutorial, I'll walk you through it and give you some pointers that should make pleating the Main Bodice a lot easier. We'll also cover sewing the Main and Lining Bodices together and inserting the sleeves.If you have not already read Chapter 1 of our Olivine Dress tutorial, I highly recommend doing so before reading this installment because the basic instructions on pleating the Main Skirt are very relevant here.

Pleat the Main Front Bodice: In this video, I illustrate how to pleat the Main Front Bodice using the paper pattern piece:

Here's how to sew the pleats once you've pleated your fabric:

[For those of you not following along with the video segments, you will need to double check the shape of the Front Bodice and alignment of the pleats by comparing the pleated piece with the shape of the Lining Bodice. You are looking for any discrepancies in how the two pieces line up along their outer edges. If you see any areas out of alignment, go back and double check your pleats. For example, you can see the lining fabric below peaking out on the left around the shoulder and armhole edges and along the neckline edge (note that this photo shows the back of the Main Bodice).

olivine dress2.8
olivine dress2.8

Once you are happy with the overall shape of the Main Front Bodice, stabilize the pleats by (1) sewing along the top inside fold of each pleat line, about 1/8"-1/4" away from the fold and (2) stitching across the ends of each pleat, staying within the seam allowances. The second video above explains this all in great detail.]

Finally, sew the Main Front Bodice to the Main Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders.

Prepare the Lining Bodice:  Sew the Lining Front Bodice and Lining Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders (note the Lining Front Bodice piece is not pleated). The Lining Bodice will not have any sleeves, so we need to finish its armhole edge. There are several ways to do this, though we think the easiest is to simply zigzag around the armhole edges and trim away the excess seam allowances using pinking shears.

olivine dress2.7
olivine dress2.7

Sew the Main and Lining Bodice Pieces Together: Now that you have sewn the front and back pieces of both the Main and Lining Bodice pieces at the shoulders, it's time to sew the two layers together. Lay the Lining Bodice on top of the Main Bodice (right sides together). Sew around the neckline edge, then trim the seam allowances to 1/8".

olivine dress2.6
olivine dress2.6

Flip the Lining piece back over this trimmed edge so that the wrong sides of both Bodices are now together and give that neckline edge a good press. I like to roll the lining down slightly to the inside when I press so it won't be as likely to show on the front of the dress when worn. You can just see the gray taffeta peaking up above the lining fabric here.

olivine dress2.5
olivine dress2.5

Sew the Side Seams: Though your Lining and Main Bodices are now sewn together at the neckline, you will still sew the side seams of each layer separately. Here I have sewn the Main Bodice side seams and Lining side seams together on both sides (those portions below the armholes), then pressed the seam allowances open:

olivine dress2.4
olivine dress2.4

Here's what the Bodice looks like after you sew the side seams and flip the Lining Bodice back down.

olivine dress2.2
olivine dress2.2
olivine dress2.3
olivine dress2.3

Sew the Sleeves: Baste two lines on each Sleeve along the sleeve cap, between the notches, then sew the each Sleeve at the underarm seam. You can see I used a darker thread for my basting stitches so that you (and I) can see them more clearly.

olivine dress2.9
olivine dress2.9

Insert the Sleeves in the Main Bodice: Flip your Lining Bodice up and away from the Main Bodice. With the Sleeve turned right side out and Bodice turned inside out, insert the sleeve into the Main Bodice (so right sides are now together), and match the Sleeve's single and double notches to the notches in the Main Bodice armhole, as well as the Sleeve's underarm seam to the Bodice's side seam. Pin at these three points. Here's an attempt at a photograph of this step--hopefully, you can see the excess fabric of the sleeve cap at the top of the armhole:

Now pull on the bobbin threads of the basting stitch lines to adjust the length of your sleeve cap to match the length of the armhole edge and pin some additional points. Sew around the armhole edge, making sure the gathers from your basting stitches are evenly distributed around the top of the armhole. 

olivine dress2.1
olivine dress2.1

I am going to repeat these steps for the second Sleeve and call it a day. In our next tutorial, we'll cover attaching the skirt and inserting the zipper.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin