Lonsdale Sew-Along #5: Sewing the Bodice

Happy B.C. Day! Today we get to start sewing. I’m enjoying the day off, but I’ve prepared the first sewing post in advance for today. We’ll start at the top of our dress, sewing the bodice pieces first. As requested by many of you who have limited time to sew, or only get short periods of time to sit and sew, we’ll be doing bite-size posts. I bet it takes me longer to write these posts than it will for you to sew them!

I’ll try to keep each sew-along post to an hour maximum. If you have an hour to set up, sew, and clean-up, you can sew this step!

Check out previous sew-along posts here!

Today, you’ll need your bodice front and bodice back pieces. Thread your sewing machine with matching thread, warm up the iron and let’s get started!

Start with two of your bodice back pieces.

Align them like the photo, with the top edge up. You can tell which edge is the top edge, as it will have two notches close together for the strap loop.

Now, take two of your bodice front pieces, and line them up along the sideseams. Pin these two layers together.

Sew sideseams, and press them open. Now, take these bodice pieces and line them up along the centre front seam.

Pin between circle (that’s where my hand is, in the photo above) and the bottom edge of the bodice. Sew this seam, backstitching at both ends. It’s important to backstitch at the centre circle marking so that the stitching doesn’t come apart there! Press this seam open below the circle.

Repeat with the second set of bodice fronts and backs.

That’s it for today! We’ve constructed two bodices – one for the bodice, and one for the bodice lining. If you used a contrast fabric for bodice lining to save fabric, you’ll have two different looking bodice units. Otherwise, yours will be identical!

Tip: If you’re using a large print, or a print with large areas of different colours, start deciding which of the two bodices you like better! One will be on the inside of your dress, one will be the actual dress front.

Bonus Tip: Tie one of the bodices on your dress form, take a photo, and repeat with the second bodice. Flip back and forth between the two photos to help decide which print-layout you like better!

Any questions? I’ll be back tomorrow with the next sewing step. (Wonder what’s coming up this week? Check out the Sew-Along schedule here!)

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13 Responses to Lonsdale Sew-Along #5: Sewing the Bodice

  1. Caroline August 1, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    Are you planning to finish any of the seams that will be hidden inside the bodice? If so, how? If not, why is it unnecessary? Thanks.

  2. Doortje August 1, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I didn’t. That is just great about this pattern, you only have to do a neat seam finishing for the skirt! Most seams are hidden between the 2 layers of the bodice.

  3. RobinDenning August 1, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    It’s inspiring to see the first seams sewn! I have really prepared myself by purchasing approximately double, perhaps triple the fabric needed to sew a couple of Lonsdales.
    Ooops. Seriously, the right cotton is not easy to find, so if you see what you like, you must buy them, right?

    For my first Lonsdale, I have taken Kelly’s measurements and I will compare them to the pattern pieces knowing there should be very little ease to be most flattering. I will need to do a bit of an FBA, so thanks for all the links. And, I think I will cut larger seam allowances on the sides, sew the side seams with a long basting stitch, and have her stop by for a fitting before I commit to the final stitching.

    I’ve been day-dreaming about how to draft a different piece for the back that would be elasticized. Have you ever thought of that? Can you think of reasons why it would not work? Anyhow, I will sew it up as drafted first before I go into 4-wheel-drive and head off-road. :D

    Great post today!

  4. Lucy August 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I made my bodice muslin at the weekend and was so happy to find that I don’t need to make a single adjustment! It’s perfect as is and I can tell I’m absolutely going to love it. It was so easy to do as well…once I realised I had to retrace my back pieces because the tracing paper must have moved ;-)

  5. Amy August 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    @RobinDenning: Hi Robin, Have you seen Sunni’s post today? She shirred the back, and it looks great!

  6. Marie August 2, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Hi Tasia! I decided to make a bodice muslin and I found that I had a bit of gaping at the top of the bodice…basically just at the top of the bust. I inserted darts on both sides of the muslin and this did the trick, will this be an ok way to fix the problem on my actual dress, or do you have any other tricks you could let me know about?

    Thanks for your help!

  7. RobinDenning August 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Amy, I saw sunni’s dress and it looks fantastic. I am sewing 2 dresses, one for my neice and one for a friend. My neice would love that elastic shirring feature.

    Marie, check out sunni’s post, she shows how to make an alteration for gapping, and how to transfer it back to the pattern. Did you have to make a large adjustment for the bust? My neice’s dress will need one, so I am curious as to whether side darts will be necessary. I imagine it could be the most flattering solution on some figures, but not necessarily appropriate for everyone.

  8. Tasia August 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Hey everyone! No need to finish these seam allowances, they’ll be hidden inside the bodice when it’s all sewn up. The only seams you’ll need to finish are the skirt seams and the centre back seam – and I’ll be sure to mention it clearly so you know exactly what to finish!

  9. Tasia August 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    @Marie: Hi Marie! That sounds like it would work for adjusting the fit of the bodice.. You could also try doing a full bust adjustment like we did in the post last week, but if you’ve made your muslin fit the way you want and are happy with the way it looks, go for it! Also, Robin mentioned Sunni’s post today on adjusting her bodice, take a look to see how she did her adjustments.
    Hope this helps!

  10. Ella August 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Thanks for the tips on finishing the inside seam allowances! I haven’t started yet, but I’m planning to buy my fabric this weekend. I feel like I’m pre-reading for lectures at university again (but on much more interesting subjects)!

  11. Tasia August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    @Ella: That’s a great way of putting it! Sewing Lectures. That’s what I should call the next sew-along! :) Have fun picking out your fabric, that’s the most fun part!

  12. Jane Elise August 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    For anyone reading about fitting the bodice, I had some gaping at the top halfway between the underarm and the centre front on both sides. I did alter the pattern as Sunni showed and took out some of the fullness on the pattern piece but I obviously didn’t do it enough because I still have a small gape. I should have done another muslin but I was too impatient :) Anyway, I am going to tweak out the excess with a small dart. I wanted to avoid that but having used all my fashion fabric I have no choice.

    I had to add some width in at the waist as I had a baby beginning of the year and funnily enough, with no exercise and a lax diet, my baby belly is still a bit slack! Haha. It was pulling across my mid-driff so I adjust the bodice pattern piece to allow for that.

    I also took out a bit of fullness in the centre front because, like Sunni, I had some excess under the bust. I think this is because my smallest point is actually just under my bust, across my rib-cage. By taking out the excess I got a much more stream-lined fit.

    Finally — just like Sunni — I took out a horizontal fold across the back to allow for a sway back (I have mild scoliosis). This stopped puckering at the back.

    This is my first attempt at doing more than just moving bust darts and shortening for short-waist so fingers crossed.

    I hope this might help anyone else who is thinking about fitting the bodice. I certainly found Sunni’s post invaluable!


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