By Pati Palmer with Helen Bartley
This dress is from the new Butterick patterns B6940 and B6941. Sewing this dress is like magic. The bodice is lined to the edge, which finishes the neckline (and armholes of View A). Helen Bartley, author of Fit and Sew Custom Jeans, spent a whole day figuring out the sewing order. We took photos of every sewing step to make it easier for us to write the guide and for Butterick to do the art.
To wear the dress, just pull it over your head and add accessories to suit the occasion. Dressing in a dress is so easy!
BONUS! If you decide to sew this dress, see Helen’s video on sewing a lined-to-the-edge sleeveless dress on the Palmer/Pletsch YouTube channel.
Clicking on the image below will take you to the video. Watch a few times and then follow the guidesheet as you sew.
Butterick asked us to buy the knit fabrics and to sew the six dresses shown on the envelope covers, shown below. We chose polyester/spandex and rayon/spandex jerseys for Misses envelope Views A & B, and polyester interlock knits for all the others. All have good stretch recovery. (To test, stretch a small amount of fabric on the cross-grain. Does it recover completely?)
Familiarize yourself with the pattern pieces to make sewing easier.
There is one bodice for views B and C with sleeves and another for the sleeveless view A, which has a set-in armhole. There are also separate bodices for the linings, which are shaped differently than the bodices because the lining waist has fewer gathers to reduce bulk.
(Our video shows a contrast lining for clarity, but you will be using self-fabric.)
The shapes of pattern pieces tell you which edges to sew together.
We included this road map in the guide. The collar is part of the front. The top edge is the center back and the left edge is sewn to the back neck. The upper front V neckline is also sewn to the back neck edge to form the neckline folds.
Save time and fabric
Save time and fabric by placing the CF and CB skirt pieces on the fold, depending on your fabric width and your size. The front is on the straight grain. Simply eliminate the CF and CB seam allowances. Check layout before cutting.
Also save fabric on the four bodice pieces if the fabric is wide enough. Refold the selvages toward the center. Can you cut front and back bodices side-by-side from one length (to make the four bodice pieces)?
If you are full-busted, a bust adjustment will give you a better armhole fit and no stress wrinkles across the bust. But, as shown in the guidesheet, closing line 2 transfers the dart to the lower seam. Simply gather up the bodice more to fit the band.
Fabric fitting the raised waistband
Well, why not just try on the band?!
You won’t need to interface the band for most knits, especially polyester/spandex interlock, but if your knit is a lightweight rayon jersey, the waistband may benefit from interfacing. PerfectFuse Light, a weft interfacing with lengthwise stability and crosswise give, will add body, but not bulk. Cut with the crosswise direction going around the body so it will stretch a little when you pull the dress over your head. Fuse to the outer band only, following package directions.
What follows are a few important TIPS that are in the guide and Helen’s video.
We drew the alteration lines on the pattern tracing since this is a Palmer/Pletsch Tissue-Fitting design.
MARKING AND GATHERING
This stitching guide is our new favorite notion. The Sewing With Color Label was created and trademarked by one of our Certified Sewing Instructors, Yvonne Gutierez from Puerto Rico. We sell it on the palmerpletsch.com website on the notions tab. The 1/8” spaced lines make for easy straight stitching for even gathers.
Carefully follow Yvonne’s directions when sticking the label to the throat plate of your machine.
Press only the bottom of the V over a ham from the wrong side. The upper section of the V is hidden by the neck pleats.
When sewing band and band facing to the bodice, pin them together and make the gathers fit evenly. Sandwich the bodice between the bands and sew on the seamline. Then serge and trim the seam to 3/8” to flatten the bulk. Remove all basting layers.
The lower edge of the band is basted together and sewn to the skirt as one. The seam is pressed toward the band.
Now the fun begins
How many ways can I accessorize a basic black pullover knit dress?
I brought a variety of shoes, handbags, and jewelry to our photoshoot. I created a summer casual and a dressier winter look. I also brought “bling” for a fancy night out.
Helen thinks I need knee-high boots! We’ll see.