McCalls 3660: Finishing an Unfinished Waistline

More progress on the Instant Dress! Here is how the instructions directed me to finish the waistline:

waistline on mccalls 3660

Sew the skirt to the bodice, clip the seam allowance, and that’s it. It stays unfinished. I don’t know about you but that’s not strong enough for my liking! Especially in a design where the waistline is very fitted.

So I improvised! Remember my rejected too-blue navy bias tape? I’d saved it just in case it came in handy. I pressed it open again, and pinned it to the waistline seam allowance.

pin bias tape to waistline seam allowance

Now, bias tape stretches, where twill tape and seam binding don’t, so this isn’t going to be a strict waistline stay. (Not like this version here.) I don’t mind a little stretch on this fitted waistline, and I wanted to tidy up the seam allowances.

I sewed close to the edge of the bias tape, on the side closest to the skirt. I folded the edge of the bias tape around the seam allowances at each end. I am sewing with red thread because I am tired of changing it back and forth! (And because it’s cute. Forces me to stitch very tidily.)

fold end of bias tape around seam allowances

Then I trimmed the seam allowances, so they’d be shorter than the bias tape. (I was starting to improvise at this point, so this isn’t an exact method, just what I did on this project!)

trim waistline seam allowances

And to finish it all off, I edgestitched along the top edge of the bias tape. This enclosed the garment seam allowances, keeping all of those raw and clipped edges out of sight, protected from fraying.

edgestitch top of bias tape

Which makes a nice topstitched waistline on the right side of the garment.

waistline is topstitched

Which led me to taking a quick photo in the mirror:

quick in the mirror shot of mccalls 3660

Nearly finished! I’m glad that I didn’t waste the wrong-coloured bias tape, and found a way to use it and strengthen the waistline of my project all at once!

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20 Responses to McCalls 3660: Finishing an Unfinished Waistline

  1. lynl July 10, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    I love that idea! And the dress is looking very summery and the colours are very flattering to you. Looking forward to seeing the finished dress! I’m sorry but I have to ask…does your camera…ummmm…have…legs?

    • Tasia July 10, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      Ha! It’s a tripod, it has bendy legs that can wrap around stuff. I leave it attached to the camera so it can stand upright. Pretty weird looking though, you’re right!

  2. Truly Myrtle July 10, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    It is looking absolutely gorgeous on you! Lovely idea for the waistband – aside from anything it looks so much better :) I’m all in favour of sewing looking as good on the inside as out!

  3. Melissa July 10, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    I think one of my old patterns had added a bias tape to be as a waist stay or something. Almost similar to what you did.

    It is a pretty dress.

  4. Jane July 10, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    I do that to most of my dress waistlines. It’s a great tip and leaves such a neat finish! x

  5. Lisa July 10, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Why? Why do they leave unfinished edges on things in patterns? This is a nice fix, and I love it when my clothes look good inside and out!

    • Tasia July 10, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      I know, right? Especially on an edge that gets clipped, so it’s even more delicate!

  6. Beata July 10, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Good job! Strengthening of the waist line is good move. I would do the same. I don’t like unfinished seams. Usually I put lining to everything (here I would use cotton batiste at least for bodice) – but dress without lining shuld have propoer seam finishing.

    • Tasia July 10, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      This pattern would look quite nice with lining, you’re right. Perhaps I’ll try that on a future version, although I think the binding would be a pain with lining. You’d have to bind it over both layers when the lining and bodice are both sewn, or treat the lining as underlining and sew it together with the bodice as one layer. (Probably the first would look cleaner and tidier!)

  7. Roni July 10, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I use bias binding on waistlines and when attaching sleeves. For all other seams I use french seams.

  8. Kristen July 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Awesome idea! I would have been thinking similar if I had to deal with a seam like that. NO WAY I would have left it as is. Would have annoyed my skin on top of the fraying.

    I’m making Gertie’s Butterick 5882 shelf-bust dress and it has grosgrain ribbon as a waist stay/inner belt. And I’m going to use your tutorials on a hand-picked zipper! Should be fun :)

  9. Jo July 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Oh navy and red are such a beautiful combo. I have fabric for a pendrell in this colour scheme. Love it :D
    Your waistline treatment is so pretty and useful which is always the best kind of pretty in my opinion :)

  10. Claire July 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    This gives such a nice finish. I can’t wait to see the finished version!

  11. Carla July 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    I like the topstitching on the outside. It’s a nice detail.

  12. Lucy July 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Aha! So that’s how they make it an ‘instant’ dress – cutting all the corners.

    (And now I’m singing the song from that Mary Poppins parody episode of The Simpsons.)

  13. Milena July 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Very resourceful, and what a neat finish!

  14. Irene July 11, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    That dress fits you really well! Did you have to do much fitting alteration or is this out-of-the-box?

    • Tasia July 11, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      That’s out of the box, I didn’t change anything! It turned out really well considering I didn’t make a muslin first. I did compare the pattern pieces to other patterns that I knew fit, and saw it was similar with a little more ease. I’m quite happy with the fit!

      • Irene July 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

        That’s awesome, isn’t it great when winging it works out? :D

  15. June July 11, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    I love it when everything comes together like that! Nice job.

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