Saturday, January 16, 2016

Party Dress: Tips

For the past few years, read: most of my sewing career, I've been afraid of two things in particular: making full bust adjustments, and sewing princess seams. Now, by "afraid," what I really mean is lazy.

The last time I can remember sewing princess seams on anything is way back in 2013! Fitting the two curved bodice side-front pieces into the curve of the center front piece was always easier said than done. I remember practically losing my mind trying to magically ease them together (amid inadvertent pleats and rippling ...and cursing) on the fitted bodice of my Turquoise Taylor Dress. They look OK in the photos, but we all know there's often more to the story.

princess seams, c. 2013

For my current project, the Elisalex dress, I'm trying to cut the crap and I refuse to be lazy or scared. I have no idea why I did not simply Google techniques (how novel!) for sewing princess seams before, but this time I did -- and I am so glad! I found this simple tutorial and gleefully used it to produce perfectly-sewn princess-seamed bodices, one after the next, for my muslins.

The game-changers for me were: stay stitching and then clipping the curve before it's sewn. Magic!

That's all really great, but the truth is that it does not matter how lovely your princess seams are if your bust measurement exceeds that of the size you've sewn. Enter the dreaded FBA. Why "dreaded?" Because I'm lazy. This time, perhaps inspired by the ease with which I'd tackled the princess seams, I sucked it up and followed the easy tutorial on BHL's blog. ...Et voila! A bodice that fits both my bust and my waist.

BHL's tutorial

I'm happy to finally be ready (mature enough?) to step away from my sloppy, instant gratification sewing mindset, at least momentarily, and actually focus on making something that challenges my tiny little sewing skill set. And if I can do it, you probably already have can too!

I think my goal previously had been: produce a quick, cute garment! Now my goal is quality, and I mean it this time. I've seen bloggers write the same thing, but I don't think I'd truly felt it myself until now.

Have any of you found you've built unnecessary walls to avoid learning "scary" new skills? Please tell me I'm not the only one!


  1. You are SO not the only one. I have never tackled a princess seam and I also have the most luscious silk, Italian wool, faux fur, and velveteen in my stash and I am too afraid to cut into them. Hope this makes you feel better :)

    1. Haha! It does. I'm trying to stop being scared and just DO things, but I also get freaked out with treasured or expensive fabrics, not to mention those that are trickier to work with.

  2. Really helpful, thanks. I'm going to download the tutorials and print they were really helpful.

  3. I sometimes also reduce the seam allowance on both pieces before sewing princess seams together. It helps to ease the bigger curve into the other piece if you're not wrangling those bulky 5/8" seams!


Thanks for leaving a comment!