September 6, 2010


I finished Butterick 5147 sheath (AKA my little black dress). I loved this fabric at first sight, and immediately thought it would make a cute LBD for my graduation day back in June. However, try as I might, I just could not seem to get the dress fitted correctly. So it has hung on the door in my sewing room since that time. I came close to throwing it in the trash several times, but for some reason thought I would eventually get back to it. Lisa came to visit me on Friday and was kind enough to pin fit the dress while I wore it inside out. I made a shoulder seam adjustment by sewing a 1 1/4" seam rather than the original 5/8". Secondly, I tapered the dress in about 1" from the hip area down. I also scooped the neckline out just a little because I thought it was much to high, and that was it.
Simple right? Yes it was! Except, I was in such a hurry to get the dress completed that I stitched the side seams without realizing that (according to the pattern instructions) it would have been much better to install the lining at the neckline and arms before doing so. It would have been much easier to remove the side seam stitching and then attach the lining, but I didn't want to chance losing the fit in the hip area. So I spent the afternoon hand stitching the lining to the armholes. Talk about time consuming. After applying stretch lace and hemming my first self-made LBD is finished. Couldn't do a picture wearing it because I looked a hot mess today. But, I can't believe the fit. It is so comfortable - no pulling, it's just right!

I will make this or a reasonable facsimile in the very near future, but I was amazed that a garment using only two pattern pieces could give me such a fitting fit. But now that it's done, I still love the fabric and now I love the dress. Thanks again Lisa.

IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL IT'S FINISHED, the inside of the garment that is.

Several posts ago I received a request from an Anonymous commenter that asked for garment finishing tips. She wrote:

"I can see that to take the "next step" in sewing and make my garments look more professional, I need to make the inside look as good as the outside. I know you have talked about the importance of this, but I would love it if I could get some tips on how to do that. The pattern instructions that typically come with your basic Simplicity or whatever pattern just don't really tell you how to do this. E.g. some ways to finish and/or make seams, hems, etc."

The hem finish I use depends on the project type. I took these pictures to illustrate "one way to finish hems" for her ( and anyone else interested). I used Wrights Flexi-Lace Hem Tape (I often call it stretch lace). About 1/2 pack was used for this project. The packages contain 3 yards.

After the hem is measured and pressed, the edge of the fabric
is serged to provide a ravel free surface.

The Flexi- Lace is then pinned to the serged edge of the hem.

Here the lace is stitched to the edge of the hem, right over the
serged edge. I use a medium length zigzag stitch to attach the lace
making sure I do not sew over pins.

This picture show the hem of the dress pinned in place after the lace has been attached.
The dress is now ready to be hand hemmed.

I do not use this method on all garments. I tend to use it on garments that I feel are special, or ones that I know I will keep for a very long time.



The purple wool flannel and matching Gutermann thread was in the mailbox on Saturday. The color is not as deep as I had thought, but I do like it. This wool flannel is very similar in weight to suit weight wool. I really don't think it should cause any bulky seam problems at all. I still need to find the lining for the coat, but I'm getting very close to the muslin stage...


  1. Congratulations on finishing this dress! I love it when things fit just right.

  2. YAAAY! Its a classic and it looks fabulous. I hope you get to show everyone how good it looks on you.
    I love your tutorial.I wished I could have seen it before the 1/2 price notion sale ended. :)

  3. A girl can always use a little black dress! Very nice!

  4. You worked hard on your LBD! I am glad that you finally got a good fit. Thanks for sharing how you finish a hem.

  5. Congrats on finishing your beautiful LBD...I am trying to keep up with all you divas lol...Be blessed!

  6. I'll bet you're glad you didn't give up and trash the dress. I'll bet it looks great on you!

  7. Glad you had someone to help you pin and refit the dress. Glad you were able to make it work!

  8. Kudos on finishing your dress and look forward to seeing it on you. Thanks for the tutorial.

  9. Your dress looks wonderful -- glad you are so happy with it. The neckline looks like it's a very flattering shape.

  10. Congrats on getting the dress finished and thank goodness for sewing friends! Hopefully you will be muslining up the Lady Gray jacket soon!

  11. Ann in Texas9/07/2010

    Hi - I'm the person who wrote the comment about wanting help with finishing. So thank you very much for posting about that!! The pictures were very helpful, and the details in how to do this as I am still fairly new at garment sewing. I now remember my mother used to use lace to finish hems on some of our dresses. I will have to try this, I can see it would look professional! I'm looking forward to trying this on my next project. Thanks again very much, Ann in Texas

  12. Beautiful! You could wear it inside out!!!!! You do such wonderful and detailed work. This fabric is gorgeous.

  13. I think the serger is the greatest thing in the world for keeping edges from unravelling. I've learned to blind hem pretty well using the machine, and it's a real time saver. I don't know that I'd do that with something that's an important dress, but for everyday dresses, skirts and tops, it's a wonderful skill to have learned. I love this black dress fabric!

  14. Nice going on your LBD. Congrats on not giving up on it. Good luck with your Lady Gray. You are going to muslin first-right? Check out Ann of Gorgeous Things recent post on her muslin of that coat.

  15. Yay for the dress! I'm still looking for fabric on my Lady Grey... hopefully I can find some this week!

  16. This is such lovely fabric. I hope we get to see the dress on you!

  17. Congratulations Faye!! It looks really nice and love the fabric! I agree with Carol, I hope we get to see it on you!

  18. Anonymous9/07/2010

    Woo hoo! Congratulations! I agree with the other commenters - post pics of you wearing it some time!

  19. It looks wonderful. Can't wait to see it on you. Thanks for the additional hem info.

  20. Great illustrative tutorial. I use the same technique.

  21. I love your dress. Can we see it on you? Did you post it on the flickr group? Yeah! So glad you finished it.



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