I've been having fun making dresses now that I have a bodice block. My latest project is a lace overlay dress for a wedding we are going to next weekend. It will have boning and a lace-up back. This tutorial requires a bodice block, which you can make following the instructions here. It takes some time, but is totally worth it.
You will need: (part 1, part 2)
bodice block, cut to form
stretch satin in color of your choice
lace in color of your choice
corset boning (I chose the most heavy duty Joann's had)
eyelet kit with tool (also called grommets)
adornment (I chose a sew-on sparkly trim)
cat for moral support (optional)
I made my bodice block several weeks ago. From this, you can make a pattern for your top. Just get separate paper and trace a new block with a neckline you'd like. I chose a strapless sweetheart neckline.
It turned out like this.
Cut out your satin on the fold so you have both right and left sides.
Pin the darts together, right sides together and sew.
I used a straight stitch for my vertical seams and zig-zag for any horizontal seams, because my material stretches horizontally, but not vertically. Yours may be different, so check before you sew. The straight stitches won't allow your material to stretch and move the way it was intended to.
Sew your right and left sides together. When you're done, your bodice should look like this.
Serge or zig-zag the edges of your bodice. I zig-zagged since I don't have a serger yet...the trick I've found is to sew, then pull lightly on the edges and clip off any leftover threads. The zig-zag will save the fabric from a lot of fraying, but you'll need to cut it close and be vigilant about strays.
Cut out your lace, and repeat the pinning and sewing of the darts. I don't have pictures of these steps, but it's the same as above. Lay the finished lace bodice over the satin and line up the seams (you could also sew each panel together separately, then assemble the bodice, but I wanted to minimize the appearance of seams on the lace later on...you'll see what I mean in a bit.) Fold the satin and lace neckline over once (like a hem) and sew. Now your lace is attached to the neckline, but not the sides or bottom.
Lift your lace away from the satin and turn to the wrong side of the satin.
Next, cut your boning to fit the length of each seam. I came into some trouble because I ended up lowering the neckline and messed up my measurements, so make sure your neckline is set first. That is why the lace is not attached yet in this photo.
Cut strips of satin slightly longer than the length and slightly more than twice the width of your boning. Pin right sides together lengthwise and sew.
Zig-zag the seam and trim loose threads.
Sew the bottom of one end, leaving an open end to insert the boning. Insert the boning and close that end in the same way.
Pin your boning case along the seams, centered over the seam itself. This took a lot of time and fiddling, but the end result is worth the care.
Sew your boning case along each long side.
You can see not all of my boning cases meet the waist...not sure if I will add or take away to make this even...we'll see. Yours will be perfect though. ;)
And here is where we are at the end of Part 1. Next, we will sew the lace down and add the corset back. Until then, happy sewing!