Friday, December 3, 2010

THE CHRISTMAS DRESS - Collar, Neck Facings and Ties

This post will be just a bit long.  Lots of pictures (I think I get a bit carried away sometimes, LOL) but I think the results will be worth it.  Just to let you know, I had to recut the facing pieces.  Turns out the collar only attached to the front of the dress, not all the way around to the zipper.  So the front facings are cream satin and the back facings are green velvet.  Never attached a collar that way, ever, so it was something new for me.  Here we go.

Assemble your pieces.
(I have no idea why some of these pictures come out yellow.)  We will work with the facing pieces first.   Join the front and back facing pieces at the shoulder seam.  The notches tell you what ends to join.
Trim the seams and press open. 
The pattern directions will now tell you to press under 1/4 inch and stitch.  Have you ever tried to do that?  Forget it!  Try this instead.  Run a 1/4 inch stitch line along the raw edge. 
Then press up along the stitch line...  
and stitch. 
Press to relax the stitching.  I started doing facings this way after trying to turn 1/4 inch in on a Barbie armhole.  Absolutely impossible!  (Did I ever mention how much I hate making Barbie clothes, LOL?)  Set the facings aside for now. 

Now the ties.  Fold the ties in half, right sides together, pin and stitch.

Reinforce your stitching at the tip and the corner. Then trim.

Press the the long seam open.  Try not to create a crease.  Turn the ties and press well.

Set the ties aside.
Now the collar.  Pin the collar pieces right sides together. 
Stitch together.  DO NOT STITCH THE NECK EDGE!  Reinforce the stitching at all the corners.
The reinforcing stitches will prevent the corners from fraying out after trimming and turning.  Clip the corners and trim the seams.
Turn the collar right side out and press.
The unfaced side of the collar will be the top.  The pattern will tell you to use the interfaced side as the top.  Don't!  See this collar?
The puckering is the result of the interfacing becoming detached.  Although I ironed it back down, the collar had stretched.  No way to fix it unless I tear it apart which I am not going to do.  I didn't make it. 

Now the lace.  Ordinarily, little girls dresses will  have lace caught in the seam, but I am using bridal lace.  (Serendipity here.  I bought a bag of lace remnants at the flea market and this lace was in the bag.)  Bridal lace is designed to cut apart the motifs to fit the dress.  Here is the collar all pinned.
 I hand stitched the lace to the collar.   Notice I left 5/8 inches open at the neck line? 

Now to attach the collar.   Lay the dress out, right side up, so the neck opening is flat and mark the center front.
Pin the collar, right side up, beginning at the center and working outward.  Check to see there are no tucks or gathers on the back.  Make sure you pin the lace out of the way.
Stitch the lace to the collar at 4/8 inches.
Do not trim this seam.  Lay the dress out flat again.  Place the neck facings, right side down, on the neck edge and pin from the center again.  Don't worry about matching the shoulder seams.  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  Pin in place, making sure you have no tucks or puckers on the back.  (Since the seam is not flat, I find it easier to pin while shaping over my knee.)
Carefully stitch your 5/8 inch seam around the neck edge.
Grade your seam allowances and clip the curves.  To grade the seam allowance, cut the first layer to no more than 1/8 inches from the stitching line, then cut the second layer just above that.  It will soften the seam and make it easier to turn the facing to the inside

Turn the facing to the inside, pin in place and press.  Then turn the dress over and press the collar.  A tailor once told me the secret to making professional looking garments was in the pressing.  He was absolutely correct.  Press the fabric into shape then pull the pins from the collar only.   

On the inside, carefully lift the collar and stitch 1/4 inch from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.  This will hold the facing down and not be seen.
Stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seam to tack the facing down.  Fold the facing along the zipper top and stitch down.  Now pull the rest of the pins.  The collar is finished.  Here is the front.
Here is the back. 
I love how the back turned out.  I've never put a collar on like this.  I like it lots, LOL!

Next we will tackle the sleeves.  Any questions, let me know.

Love from Liriopia


  1. It's starting to look like a dress! But I was under the impression that you couldn't pin satin because it would leave holes? (Seems you've pinned the heck out of this and I can't see anything wrong...lesson learned!)

  2. I love the collar, too. It is so pretty and perfect for a little girl. This dress will be beautiful!

  3. I really like the lace. Can't wait to see the finished dress on that lucky little girl.

  4. That collar is beautiful! This is going to be a very lucky little girl. She will want to wear this dress all the time.

  5. Beautiful! I can't wait to see the finished dress. Your grand-daughter wil be too cute in this.

  6. Every little girl who sees this dress on your granddaughter is going to be jealous! The dress is going to be beautiful! ---"Love"

  7. I love that collar, I think it takes the dress to another level. I can't wait for the big finish.


  8. The dress will be gorgeous! Can't wait to see the finished product! You are really an expert with clothes. I have kind of given up making clothes, although, I do need to make some dresses for Abigail. Maybe I'll get ambitious enough one of these days.

  9. It's a perfect Christmas dress. I'm not a garment sewer, but I see what you do and maybe some day I'll try it. I was in the quilt store yesterday and saw the cutest little apron for a toddler. I may just try it. Connie204