Public Production: The Parable of Bias Binding and Fastening

After the second fitting the dress really seemed to be coming together.

It was in that fitting that it was decided the fastening should go down the back of the dress, and would in consequence be covered by the bow, this did not allow me to be messy with the zip fastening, but did allow a small amount of le way for “mistakes” to be covered over.

So back in the work room the first job was to sew up the left side of the dress-which I had up till now left open believing the opening to be there- and open up the back of the dress to the top if the quarter circle insert.

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Then I got to work on bias binding the arm holes. If this dress had been made with a lining this would have been covered up in the bagging out of the dress, however as it is a mounted dress I needed another way to neatly finish off the arm holes, bias binding it was.

I do have to admit, at this point I did go back to my technical folder as I had “forgotten” sort of how to attach bias binding, in my defence there are a lot of steps.

So anyway I went back to my technical folder which proved incredibly useful and got to work. First a stay stitch is put down all around the arm hole to stop it from stretching out of shape.

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Next the bias binding was attached, and a large amount of trimming down done so that there is not too much bulk to fold underneath the bias binding on the inside.

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Then I got to work hand stitching. The tricky part here was making sure that I only caught the lining layer and not the top layer of fabric. It took 3 separate attempts at stitching, unpicking and re-stitching to achieve this.

One of these attempts included unpicking half of the bias binding to trim down the princess seam with pinking shears before going back and stitching the bias binding on again and getting back to work with hand stitching.

I believe that all in all I spent nearly a whole day and a half all together working on the arm holes, when I had only planned for half a day at most.

With the repetitious amounts of hand stitching it did mean I got to set myself up in a very comfortable warm position with the dress acting as a blanket. I was working near the door, and so it was quite chilly.

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The next step was to insert the zip. Zips come in very standard sizes, and due to a low budget we decided that sourcing a zip from the wardrobe department within the university would be better than having to go out and buy another zip. Luckily for me they has a white zip that was only a couple of cm longer than the opening at the back.

I pinned the zip in to place and hand tacked it there, to help hold it still when putting it through the machine.

The zip was machined to the seam allowance, and then prick stitched to hold the fabric over the top of the zip to keep it covered up and hidden within the seam.

One hook and eye was fastened just above the top of the zip to help hold the dress closed, however when the dress was placed on the stand, and the bow was pinned in place, the bow was pull the dress down

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So another hook and eye was added to help bring the collar together better and to help balance out the dress against the weight of the bow.

My Dress was ready for the final fitting and the final stages of construction.

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