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It’s nearing the end of September, but our Sew Along is still going strong! Follow Peter as he starts to put the finishing touches on his adorable Halter Dress project and stay tuned next week when we round out our month long celebration of National Sewing Month.

Are you close to finishing up your dress, too? We are dying to see how you each let you individuality shine with this project, so make sure to upload your finished garments with “Sew Along” in the title for the chance to be a part of our Sew Along slideshow and win great prizes from Coats & Clark and Free Spirit Fabrics!

Hello again, BurdaStyle Sew-alongers! We have much to cover today but I am happy to report that we’re approaching our conclusion. If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back.

Today, it’s time to attach the bodice and skirt, and line the bodice. First, a couple of things about the bodice, which we put together on my second post. My original intention was to simply line the bodice and skip the boning. But given the weight of the pleated skirt in the fabric I chose, and the fact that this halter dress is held up only by two straps that tie behind the neck, I decided that the bodice not only needed the boning, but also that the bodice fabric needed to be interfaced.


This is because my relatively thick cotton fabric has a tendency to droop and needs more support. So I cut another, identical bodice, and interfaced with a weft-weight fusible interfacing. The interfacing doesn’t make the fabric stiff, but rather gives it a crispness it lacked before.


I am now ready to cut my lining, for which I use a silky-soft, densely woven cotton (actually an old cotton sheet). Linings can be made from a variety of fabrics. Your choice will depend on both the weight and stability of your fashion fabric. I cut the lining using the same bodice pattern pieces, and assembled it to be a mirror image of the bodice (since it will end up stitched to the bodice itself wrong sides together).

I purchased four pieces of spiral steel boning and one yard of pre-made cotton boning casing (all at Steinlauf & Stoller, in the NYC Garment District). I attached the boning to the side and back-panel seam allowances on the bodice lining.


The bones were of two lengths: shorter for the back-panel seam allowances, and longer for the side seams (NOTE: the zipper side bone was stitched to the seam fashion fabric seam allowance after I’d inserted my zipper). You’ll want you bone to extend near to the edge of the seam without protruding into the seam allowance (you can’t stitch over steel!).

I didn’t want the boning stitching to show through the lining, so I stitched the bone solely onto the seam allowances. Make sure you stitch your boning casings closed at either end.


With the lining completed, I stitched the lining to the fashion fabric along the top (right sides together), and then turned the bodice right side out. (I leave a few inches free on either side of the top edge, which I’ll close up after my zipper has been inserted.)


To secure the lining down, I topstitched along the seam lines of the bust (just a few inches — like stitching “in the ditch”).


By using blue thread on top and white thread in the bobbin, you barely see this stitches on the lining side.


Now it’s time to attach the skirt to the bodice. I stitch the skirt only to the fashion fabric, leaving the lining free (this will be whipstitched down over the bodice/skirt seam allowance later). I line up the bodice seams with the pleats of my skirt carefully, and machine baste the skirt on. When I’m satisfied with the way it looks, and after Leah tries it on, I’ll stitch it on permanently.


Thankfully, when Leah came for a fitting, it looked great.

It was now time to insert my invisible zipper. Make sure when you insert it that your bodice/skirt seam lines up evenly on both sides of the zipper. You can fiddle with the height of the bodice slightly, but that waistline seam must line up on both sides of the zipper. Some people find using a product like Dritz Wonder Tape, is helpful for placing the invisible zipper on the seam allowance before stitching it down. (Wonder Tape washes out and won’t gum up your needle.)


Now it’s time to insert the last bone on the zipper side of the bodice and then stitch the sides of the bodice lining closed.


Just as we did earlier, I attach the lining to the sides of the bodice right sides together, making sure that the lining edge neatly lines up with the edge of the zipper but being sure that there is no extra lining bulk which could get caught on the zipper teeth. It helps to pin the lining taut and press the edge before you stitch. Are bodice and lining seam allowances lined up? They should be. Next turn your lining right side out. It should look something like this:


The lining edges are clean. The lining fits inside the bodice snugly.


Readers, that’s it! In our next and last installment, we’re going to add the bodice trim (or “bands”) and halter straps, and hem our skirt. We’ll also talk about lining the skirt.

Can’t wait to hear how you’re doing!



  • 058_large

    Sep 25, 2011, 09.12 PMby cuada

    Oops! I’ve often marched ahead with a sewing project without reading the instructions, so I know how easily that happens :) but it sounds like you found a perfect work-around for it.

  • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

    Sep 24, 2011, 06.22 AMby Peter Lappin

    Folks, I made an error. The trim is added to the bodice BEFORE the lining is attached. I attached my trim as if it were double-folded bias tape, stitching it up and over the bodice edge, after I’d already attached the lining.

    It looks nice — as you’ll see next week — but it’s not how the pattern was designed.

    Lesson (for me): Always read the directions carefully!

  • Ghetto_girl_goes_to_colo__large

    Sep 21, 2011, 02.53 PMby turtlegirl00

    wow!! i am wicked intimidated by boning… but the photos and descriptions help so much! thanks!

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Sep 21, 2011, 05.18 PMby Peter Lappin

      I was too, but after dealing with it on a few projects, it’s much less scary! ;)

  • Missing

    Sep 21, 2011, 07.26 AMby crinkle

    Phew – there is quite a lot to take onboard this week!! Please can you explain weft-weight interfacing – is there an easy way to understand which interface to use? My dress is coming along nicely although I am using pattern 101 from 2/2011 magazine which is much easier. I have lined my bodice and attached my skirt. Lat night I managed to insert my side zipper and it is looking good, although I did manage to confuse my right and left with all the bits inside out so my zipper is now on the opposite side to the pattern.

    Thanks for including the instructions for the boning – I think I would try it on a mock up first but it doesn’t look as difficult as I expected. Can I ask though, if it is only attached to the lining, will there by a tendency for it to move around a bit and rub against the body?

    Great sewalong though – I’ve really enjoyed working alongside with my pattern and seeing it all come together. Can’t wait for next week to see it all finished. Your dress looks wonderful – inside and out :-)

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Sep 21, 2011, 05.22 PMby Peter Lappin

      On my dress, the boning is between the lining and the interfaced fashion fabric, and the fashion fabric and lining are stitched together along a few of the seam lines to secure the lining in place (you can do this by hand or by machine). There may be very minimal movement but the boning — which is in its own cotton casing — won’t rub against your skin. Remember that the lining fits into the bodice, which has been cut to fit the torso snuggly.

      Hope that helps!

  • 11258216_10206641305901111_7249394459930650298_n_large

    Sep 20, 2011, 09.58 PMby nouvellegamine

    wow peter, nice work! the inside of your garment is as beautiful as the outside:) totally jealous.

    1 Reply
  • 058_large

    Sep 20, 2011, 09.26 PMby cuada

    The dress looks great so far- but just from looking at the picture of it, I had thought that the trim and straps would be attached before the lining was stitched to the neckline- so I’m interested to see the next step:)

    2 Replies
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Sep 21, 2011, 08.03 PMby Peter Lappin

      Not the way I made it — hope I did it right! ;)

    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Sep 24, 2011, 06.19 AMby Peter Lappin

      Cuada, you are correct! As I re-read the directions, I see the trim is added to the top of the bodice and THEN the lining is added.

    • This is a question
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