Kendra Dress Sew-Along: Sewing the Bodice Back Darts, Side Seams & Lining

The following is a detailed tutorial on how to sew the bodice back darts and side seams of the Kendra Dress pattern.

Pattern Instructions STEP 3:

Stitch the BODICE BACK (3) darts.  Press darts toward the center.

Be sure to transfer the dart to the wrong side of your fabric for your correct size.  I know it can be a little bit confusing when so many lines are overlapping, but once you identify your size, you can follow it carefully.  This is a very shallow dart, simply because it starts above the midriff, so it is not as deep as if the dart started at the waist.  But it still helps to give shape to the back and is necessary.

I used a non-wax transfer paper in white and a tracing wheel.  You can experiment your method and color of transferring on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure it is right for your fabric.

Be sure to trace the center back circle at the neckline as well.

I pin the lines of the dart by using the following method.

I place a pin through one side of the dart and following it through to the other side.

I then weave the pin back to the other side, continuing to line the pin up with the markings.  The pointed end of the pin faces the raw edge, as I will begin the stitching from the bodice raw edge.  Continue to pin along the dart markings in this manner to the point of the dart.

Pin the other dart using the same method.

Begin stitching from the raw edge, and back stitch to secure the first few stitches. Remove the pins as you come to them.  Stitch along the mark allowing your stitches to fall off the fabric as you come to the pointed end.  DO NOT back stitch at the pointed end of the dart.  Leave a long tail of thread and cut the thread.

Leave a long thread tail and cut to remove from the sewing machine.  Secure the thread tail by making a french knot shown in the following steps.

Make a loop around your fingers.

Pull the tail through the loop.

With your finger hold the loop down to the point of the dart, and pull the tail of thread with the other hand, being careful that when pulled tight the knot will sit just above the point of the dart.

The knot should sit just above the point of the dart to secure the dart.

Trim the thread to a 1/2" (1.3cm).

Using the pressing TAILOR'S HAM, press the dart towards the center back of the bodice*.  *TIP: If you are concerned about the edge of the dart leaving an impression on the right side of your bodice, place a strip of paper between the edge of the dart and the wrong side of the fabric before you press.  This will help prevent this impression from happening.

This is how the wrong side of your bodice back should look, with the darts pressed toward the center of the back.

Be sure that the edge of the dart doesn't leave an impression on the right side of your fabric.

This is how it will look close up.

Pattern Instructions STEP 4:

With right sides together, stitch the bodice back and the bodice front together at the side seams.  Press the seam open.

With right sides together and lining up the raw edges, pin the bodice back and bodice front together at the side seams.

Stitch the side seams using a 1/2" (1.3cm) seam allowance, being sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end of the seam to secure.

Press the side seam open.  I use my pressing TAILOR'S HAM for this, even though it is not a curved seam.  The curve of the tailor's ham helps prevent the raw edges of the seam allowance from showing through to the right side and lends itself to a nice press.

The bodice front and bodice back shell are now attached.

Pattern Instructions STEP 5:

Sew the bodice LINING the same as the bodice, repeating steps 1 though 4.  Turn under the 1/2" (1.3cm) seam allowance along the lower edge of the bodice lining.  Press.

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