To get exclusive patterns, projects, information, discounts on patterns, and livestream sessions with Margo, join our Patreon at


Welcome back to The Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along!  Today we are going to focus on stacking our layers, and cinching our armsyce.
In our last installment, we constructed our flatlining by adding stiffening and boning to it.  Now we are going to take all those layers, and start turning them into something resembling a bodice.  

Our flatlining, ready to be stacked!
We took our fashion fabric, and put it on the table RIGHT side down.  Then we took our flatlining and put it WRONG sides together with it's coordinating fashion fabric piece.  If we had interlining, we would have put this between those two layers.  In this case, the side with the boning channels would be facing up, and the stiffening would be facing towards the WRONG side of the fashion fabric.

Stitching the back bodice piece.
We started with the back bodice piece, and decided to pin down the center to help stop things from shifting.  We did not iron our lining fabric (whoops!) so we could easily see the center of the back.  Then we carefully stitched around the outside edge, 5/8 inch from the edge, using thread that matched the fabric.

The back bodice piece, stacked and stitched.
When this was done, we proceeded to do the other pieces - both bodice fronts, and the two shoulder straps.  Where we ran into a boning casing, we stopped just before the casing, and picked up the stitching again right after, leaving both ends opened.  

All bodice pieces stacked and stitched.
The next step was to cinch the armsyce.  When Gilah was fitted, we had to pin out a section of the armsyce due to excess fabric.
Pinched fabric in the armsyce during fitting.
We measured to see how much space needed to be removed, and discovered we needed to shorten the armsyce by an inch.

Marking the armsyce opening to be shortened.
We lined the pattern up over the armsyce, and marked where the black dots were with pins.  

Stitching along the opening between the pins.
Using strong thread, we hand stitched 1/4 inch stitches between the pins.  You can make the stitches smaller, but we are sewing on thick upholstery fabric, so we went with a larger stitch.  We are using black thread here so that you can see the stitching. We recommend using matching thread.

Pulling the gathering stitches.
We pulled up the stitches to gather the space down to the correct width.  I took a stitch at each end to hold things in place.  

The inside of the stitching.
Cut a piece of twill tape that is long enough to cover the width of the space between the pins, and center it over your stitching.  Stitch it in place.  The directions recommend 1/4 inch twill tape, but the only thing we had was 3/8 inch grosgrain tape, so we used that.  

After stitching the tape down.

The front side of the fabric after stitching the tape down.
The final step is to press the armsyce over a tailor's ham or the end of an ironing board, using steam to shrink out as many gathers as possible.  

In the directions there is also information on gathering the side seam down to make it the same length as the side length on the back bodice piece.  Due to the way we had to draft Gilah's pattern for her different bust and waist measurements, the side seams wound up being almost exactly the same length, so we did not make this adjustment.  It is done very similarly to the armsyce gathering.  
Depending on the fabric you are using, some gathers may remain on the fabric.  Those will be less obvious when sleeves and shoulder treatments are attached.
And that is it!  You are ready to stitch your stacked pieces together!  
NEXT BLOG POST:  Choosing your embellishments and their placement.

Leave a comment