Sew…Here we GO!
The Jily is super comfortable and its construction conceals most of the seam allowances. Designed for a woven fabric, I chose a solid textured washer satin to give me a little challenge. Now, textured washer satin is…let’s just say… an absolute PAIN IN THE … to work with. It slips, it slides, it never cooperates, and is nearly impossible to cut on the grain. BUT.. it sure is pretty and feels amazing. What a perfect fabric for this tutorial. Tools you will want, need, desire for a successful sewing experience will be 1) Tissue Paper, 2) Spray Starch, 3) Tissue Paper, 4) Rotary Cutter, 5) Pattern Weights, 6) Tissue Paper, 7) Spray Starch, … Did I mention you will want some Tissue Paper and Spray Starch? These two items will make your experience with slippery slidy fabrics manageable. You can get tissue paper wherever you get gift wrap at.
SEW… prewash your fabric, and press once it’s dry and use spray starch to give it a little stiffness. Lay it out as straight on grain as possible. Cut your pattern pieces out using a rotary cutter and pattern weights instead of pins. One way of cutting pieces that are on a fold line is to lay the fabric without a fold, place your pattern with enough room to flip your pattern piece over to cut the other side of it too. Now to make this pattern a little easier for me, I put the back piece on the fold too so I wouldn’t have a center back seam to sew. Just remember if you do this to place it 1cm seam over the edge to account for the seam allowance in the center. You will have to do the same thing for the lower back piece too.
Time to do some SLOW sewing. Seam allowances are 1cm. Finish the lower edges of your front and back facings. I used an overlock stitch since I do not have a serger. If you don’t have an overlock stitch, use a zigzag stitch. Use a piece of tissue under your fabric if you need to… Just FYI…You’ll have a hell of a time picking out all that paper, but it may come out in the laundry. Now set those aside and get your front piece. Cut a few strips of tissue and place one under whatever seam you will be sewing. This does a couple of things, one: it gives your feed dogs something stable to grab instead of your slippery fabric, and two: it gives stability to your fabric for nice even stitches that don’t weave in different directions. Press your bust darts using spray starch so you have a stable direction for sewing them. Place the dart on top of a piece of tissue and sew the bust darts. Tie a knot at the tip of your dart instead of backstitching. Tear away the tissue (use some tweezers to get the little pieces of paper if you need to), and press.
Place your front piece right side up on a large piece of tissue and lay your front facing on top of it, right sides together. Pin in place so your pins go through the tissue. We are going for maximum stability here when we take it to the sewing machine.
Sew the facing to the front starting at the armscye and up to about 3cm away from the shoulder and stop. Sew the neckline up to 3cm away from the shoulders too. The reason we stop 3cm away from the shoulders is we will be doing a little origami here to attach the front to the back. You’ll see soon enough. Just trust me on this. Sew the back facing the same way stopping about 3cm from the shoulder. And YES I sewed over my pins very slowly. In fact, I felt the whole process of sewing this fabric was like I was in a slow motion alternative universe! Like the MATRIX!
Once you have the front and back facings done, clip your curves, and understitch the seam allowance to the facing at least up to about 4 inches from the shoulders. Once you complete that, turn them right side out and give them a good press with lots of spray starch. YAY!
Now take your front bodice and turn it back wrong side out again. Leave the back bodice right side out. We are going to feed the shoulders of the back piece into the shoulders of the front piece ensuring as you’re looking at it you see the facings UP. Now you should have a little tunnel where you can sew the seams of the facings together and the seams of the main bodice pieces. See below:
Remember we stopped about 3cm away from the shoulder seams? Now… we are going to pull a little bit of the back bodice shoulder out so we can finish sewing that 3cm on both sides of the front and back shoulders. Study the directions given by Ready to Sew on this if you need some further guidance. Their diagrams are awesome! Turn the garment right side out and give it another good spray starch press.
Place the front and back right sides together and sew the side seams. Use tissue paper as a stabilizer and pin it to the tissue for extra stability. Finish the seams with an overlock stitch.
Sew the front and back lower bodice and facing side seams. Place the main and facing pieces right sides together, pin it on tissue paper and sew together around the lower edges. Turn right side out and give it a good spray starch press. Use a point turner to help get those pointy ties out.
Pin lower bodice to upper bodice right sides together and sew in place matching side seams and centers. Finish that seam with an overlock stitch. Press. And WAAAH LAAAAH! It’s a beauty!