#012 The Elizabethan Bodice: FINISHING SEAMS AND BINDING YOUR EDGES

Posted by Margo Anderson on

Welcome back to The Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along!  Today we are going to focus on seaming our stacked pattern pieces, and finishing the edges with binding tape.  
In our last installment, we stacked our layers and cinched our armsyce.
Stacked bodice pieces, stitched and ready for seaming.
In the instruction manual for #012, it is recommended that you sew your back seam together first.  As this is a front opening bodice, we had put our back seam on a fold, so we did not have to do this step.  Nor did we have any extra fabric in the side seams due to the way we drafted the pattern, so we were able to move directly to sewing the side seams.
If you are looking for information on how to "clean finish" a seam, you can find that in the "Techniques Manual." 
Side seams sewn and finished.
We stitched our side seams, and then pressed them open and clean finished them.  We left a fairly large seam allowance for possible future alterations due to weight loss.
Shoulder seams sewn and finished.
Due to taking out some unneeded length in the shoulder, our edges did not completely line up.  This is okay, because we can adjust this when we sew our binding on.  

We sewed the shoulder seams, pressed them flat, and then clean finished them. 
At this point we also inserted the boning in the channels, following the instructions in the "Techniques Manual" for cutting it to proper length, and finishing the ends.  We stitched across the ends of the boning channels to secure it in place.
Ordinarily at this point you would attach your waist treatment, but we decided to add the waist treatment at the same time as the shoulder treatment, in order to have more flexibility with the garment.
Stitching on bias tape.
The next step is to stitch the bias tape binding to the good side of the edges of the garment.  We chose to buy double fold pre-made bias tape from the fabric store, but you can make your own bias tape out of matching or coordinating fabric by following the instructions in the "Techniques Manual."  
Sewing on the bias tape binding.


We recommend your sew your bias tape on in one continuous line, starting at your shoulder strap tab that connects to your neckline, following it along your neckline, down the front of the bodice, around the lower edges, back along the other front side, and around the other neckline to the second shoulder strap tab.  The graphic in the manual shows this very well.  Make sure to mitre at all corners.
NOTE that this is the method for a front opening bodice.  The method for stitching in continuous lines for back or side opening bodices is shown in the manual for #012.
Next you attach the binding to your armsyce and shoulder straps, breaking at strap ends.  Finally, sew the binding to the back neckline and shoulder straps.  
Sewn on bias tape binding.
Next you want to trim and grade the excess fabric in your layers along the bias stitching line, so the bias will smoothly fold over.  
Folding the bias tape to the inside of the bodice for stitching.
After grading and trimming, you will fold the bias tape to the inside of the bodice, and stitch it in place.  I like to use just enough pins to hold things in place, and then remove them as I go, holding the fabric down tightly.
Stitching down the bias tape on the inside of the bodice.
It is recommended to stitch down your bias tape with a hemming or felling stitch, (both of which can be found in the "Techniques Manual"), but I chose to use a whip stitch for this garment, as I find it easiest to stitch with my arthritis.  

As you go around point or edges, make sure to mitre your binding.  My edge could be a bit cleaner!  

Work your way around the entire garment, trying to maintain even and smooth stitches, without too much tension.  I like to use beeswax on my thread, if it is pulling too much through the fabric.  
Stitched down bias tape.
Finished interior bias binding.
Once your bias tape is done being stitched inside, you are ready to add your fasteners, any additional trim, and your shoulder treatments!  (And in our case, the waist treatments.)  
Ready to go!
NEXT BLOG POSTS:
1.  Stitching on your embellishments and fasteners.
2.  Constructing your shoulder and waist treatments and attaching them.
3.  Final fitting!

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