Mar 12, 2015

Elise Dress, Sewing Pattern, Sew-A-Long, Day 4

It's Day 4 of the Elise sewalong! See how easily this project is coming together? Today we are working on our optional back bodice loop modification and completing our dress (or top) bodices.

The Elise was designed as a halter, but some have asked how it can be made with straps that go over the shoulder instead of typing behind the neck. There are a couple ways of doing this, while maintaining flexibility in fit and both are fairly simple and straightforward. You may want to make the halter straps longer by a few inches as they have to go further, then you'll need somewhere to tie them. However, the halter strap length was somewhat generous to begin with.

One way to achieve this is to add two buttonholes with a space between. Then, the straps are threaded through the holes and tied in a knot or bow. If you chose to make the halter straps wider, they can be threaded through the buttonholes and tied in separate knots, like a reverse knot dress. (Photo courtesy of Dream Tierra)

But the truth is some people are not fans of buttonholes. Some worry about warping or stretching out, others have a machine that doesn't cooperate with doing them. Some just haven't taken that leap yet, and that's okay.

So for those people, and others who just prefer an alternate method, we suggest sewing two small fabric loops into the back bodice. You can do this with two 5" lengths of bias tape or make your own loops. This takes just a few minutes, and is an easy modification with no risk involved!

In the same manner you used to sew the halter straps, create two 5" long straps. This can be done with fabric cut on the bias or not. Bias cut fabric will yield a little more stretch, but is not necessary. I like shortcuts, so I usually make a single 10" length and snip it in two. Fold in half and press flat.
In all reality, this can be done with lengths as short as 3" each; you will just end up with shorter loops, which is ideal for tiny sizes. What a great way to use up those bias tape scraps you have lying around!


Reference the strap placement chart from the pattern (page 11), to determine the maximum distance from center that loops should be placed. You can place them closer together if you prefer, but don't put them any further apart. Position as shown at the top of the back bodice LINER piece and pin in place. See how the fold is angled inward a bit? Baste to secure. You can make the loops shorter, if desired (or if working with smaller strips).
 

Trim any overhanging loop length.

Place back bodice piece on top and sew as directed in pattern, backstitching on the loops for added strength/durability.

Unfold and have a peek. Now you have a complete front and back bodice, ready to be sewn together.

Finish sewing the remainder of the bodice per the pattern instructions. Don't forget the side sashes. I've done it too many times to count (like today, for one...)

For my Minnie dress, I did not topstich the front because I wanted the faux collar to be able to stand away from the bodice a bit. Ruffles and plain front bodices look best topstitched to keep them looking neat and finished.
Today's post is a great time to mention a couple of things of note when constructing the bodice. When creating the casing for your elastic, feel free to move it up to the very top just under the topstitching, whether you do back loops or not. I actually prefer it this way when adding back loops. If you do this, be aware that the seam allowance and loops (if you added them) can add a little extra bulk. This can be reduced by trimming the back seam allowance down to 1/4" before finishing bodice construction.
Something you will also notice is that the back bodice piece is wider than the front piece. This is done on purpose. It allows lots of stretch for comfort and fit, while keeping the front fitted to the body. It's easy to second-guess yourself when you sew the back and front pieces together. But don't worry, you're doing it right!

The bodice is DONE. High fives for everybody! Share your pics in our facebook group and tag them #elisesewalong so that we can find them easily. It's not too late to join us. This dress really is an easy sew and the sewalong runs through the weekend. Jump on in and sew something lovely.
 

Don't forget that one lucky participant will win a $50 Gift Certificate from our awesome sponsor, Allegro Fabrics. They are also offering our customers a special 20% discount on their fabric purchases with the code: 8allegro8

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