Oliver + S

understitching – don't understand how to do it for the garden dress

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    Profile photo of ljmonchikljmonchik @ljmonchik

    Hi- I’m trying to make a dress for my daughter (for tomorrow night!) and am stuck right in the beginning. Despite all my googling- I do not understand understitching. Oh dear. It is literally step one! I’ve done several Oliver and S patterns but haven’t come across under stitching yet. Any advice?

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    Profile photo of vothgirlvothgirl @vothgirl

    Oh dear! Hopefully we can help you out! I will pull out the garden party dress I made my daughter in a little bit (currently nursing the baby) and take a picture of the under stitching and post it to Flickr, then post a link back to it here for you (unless someone else beats me to it :-).

    In a nutshell, all under stitching is, is sewing the seam allowances – of two pieces of fabric that are stitched together – to only one of those two pieces of fabric. So you’re essentially using stitches to pin the seam allowance down to one side, usually to the facing or lining. Its purpose is to help keep the seam joining the two pieces flat, so the facing doesn’t easily flip up and show on the outside when the dress is worn. The basic steps for under stitching are:

    1. Stitch the two pieces of fabric together (e.g. bodice front and the front facing)

    2. Trim seam allowances (if directed by the pattern instructions)

    3. Press the seam allowances both towards the facing side (i.e. don’t press them open)

    4. Stitch close (~1/8″) and parallel to the seam you sewed in step 1 above. It’s easiest to do this with the wrong side of the fabric (and the pressed seam allowances) facing up.

    Hope that helps! I’m off to take a picture now, will post a link once it’s loaded onto Flickr 🙂

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    Profile photo of vothgirlvothgirl @vothgirl

    Here are a couple photos that I hope provide a bit of clarity:

    http://flic.kr/p/pMqEm8

    http://flic.kr/p/oQS3wx

    And here’s a tutorial I found online: http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/understanding-understitching

    It shows stitching with the right side of the fabric facing up. This will work best for straight seams and will result in a more evenly parallel seam than if you sewed with the wrong side facing up. However (and this is just in my own limited experience), when under stitching a curved seam (for example, on a curved neckline like the Cinema Dress’s notched neckline), I personally find it easier to understitch with the wrong side facing up, particularly if you’ve had to clip the seam allowances for easing the curves – it’s easier to stop, raise the presser foot, and smooth the seam allowance back down than it would be if it were wrong side facing down.

    I really hope that helps! If not, there are heaps of way more experienced sewists on these forums who would be happy to lend their aid :-).

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    Profile photo of Lightning McStitchLightning McStitch @LightningMcStitch

    Have a read of what vothguirl has written, and if it still doesn’t make sense then just skip it.

    The understitching is only done to keep the inside fabric of the shoulder strap from peeking out. If you’re using the same fabric for both sides of the shoulder strap you’d hardly notice if it wasn’t there. It’s not essential to the construction.

    Good luck, and keep asking questions. you’ll be delighted with how it all starts to make sense. One day you’ll be sewing some other pattern and thinking “tut tut, surely there should be some understitching here. That’s what Liesl would have me do”

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    Profile photo of NicoleNicole @motherof5
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    Profile photo of ljmonchikljmonchik @ljmonchik

    THANK YOU ALL!! This discussion board rocks!

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    Profile photo of NicoleNicole @motherof5

    An absolute pleasure!

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    Profile photo of SarviSarvi @Sarvi

    I know you’re already more than sorted with all the wonderful stuff above but I’ll throw this in anyway for the future reference of anybody else who has a question about understitching near a corner. I checked and we haven’t got an official one in the site’s tutorials section — anybody want to shoot one?

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/hemoglobinhummingbird/sets/72157643800492264/

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