Thursday, 18 June 2020

HOW TO SEW AN ALL IN ONE FACING ON A 1960's SHIFT DRESS AND MAKE A MATCHING JACKET

Vintage sewing, the late 1960's. 

This is a post from  three years ago but I want you to see it as the technique of finishing the neckline is so very useful.



This is an iconic style of the 1960s, it was the first time in history that teenagers had their own style and the shift dress was certainly one of them. Made in heavy fabric so that it hung straight on the body it was short  bright and fun to wear.
For fabrics look at MinervaCrafts Cotton dress fabrics as they have an almost endless choice 









Perhaps one of the most daunting challenges is when you choose a pattern only to find that it has an all in one facing which encloses the neck and armhole edges both at the same time. But don't worry, it's simple when you know how. I am using New look patterns. Both available from Jaycotts.co.uk. But there are plenty of similar patterns, just look for a sleeveless shift dress






There are many methods but this one is in my opinion the neatest and the easiest. So, choose a pattern for either a shell top or a sleeveless dress which includes an all in one facing.






I wanted an ensemble because the outfit will probably be worn in the evenings and I will need something to cover my arms with. I have made this jacket before so i know I will be able to whizz through the construction fairly quickly



This  is my dress pattern. I have made this dress before too, but have made the one with sleeves. This time I want to make a sleeveless dress.
You might be wondering about the fabric. I have had this wonderful 50s inspired soft furnishing fabric in my stash for over  a year.I have kept on looking at it, thinking that I really must get down to making a blind and kitchen accessories from it, but something always held me back. I just love everything about the fabric, the colours, the texture and so eventually I went with my heart and started to pin pattern pieces to it.


Make up your darts and so on in the usual way after marking them with tailor tacks. A lot of inexperienced sewers use these new fabric marking pens which are supposed to disappear when wet or will disappear in the air after a day or two. I am not sure about them, or about using tracing paper. Although I do use these methods occasionally be aware that an iron can set the marks making them impossible to remove and I would never use them on fine fabrics because they could end up being a permanent eyesore. So, if you do not want to use tailors tacks, personally I love doing them, use anything which marks the fabric with caution and always, always test it out on a spare piece of fabric  so, after doing your darts and pressing them join the shoulder and side seams on the garment and the facings. Tailors chalk is ideal



press the seams open on the facings and neaten the seams on the dress. Leave the back seams open at this stage.The facings can be cut out in the same fabric or in a matching lining fabric



neaten the lower edge of the facing


Right sides together pin and tack the front facing to the dress front at the neckline  matching shoulder seams.
Stitch.


You need to clip into the curve along the neckline, if you do this at a slight angle the fabric is less likely to fray. Press the seam open using a tailors ham or sleeve roll.


Do exactly the same on the armholes.You must be wondering how on earth you are going to turn this the right way out.simple.
Take a very large safety pin and attach it firmly to the bottom of one of the dress or top backs and thread it through the tunnel in the shoulders, Keep threading and then pull the whole back through.
Do the same with the other back. simple? yes?




You should now have in front of you something which looks like this. Well, exactly like this!  The facing is now where it should be, on the inside of the garment
Press the seams, do it carefully so that the seam is sitting ever so slightly on the inside of the neckline.



Put the zipper in. I love the look of an invisible zipper But  in the 60's  the invisible zipper did not exist so, if you  prefer to you can use an ordinary zip and either a lapped seam or a centred zip as is your choice.
Once the zip is in place stitch the back facing in place by hand Press, try it on again and measure the hem, stitch in place by hand or machine
the only thing left to do is to catch the facings down at the underarm seams, and neaten the back by turning the facing under along the zip tape and slip stitching it in place. You may want to top stitch, in which case use a longer stitch length and a contrast thread if you like


As you can see the all in one neckline and armhole facing looks professional, neat and yet is so simple to do. I have experimented with various methods over the years and settled for this one because it just looks so good.

The Jacket





This was a simple construction which I will go through in another post.If you can sew the dress you can easily sew this.
Take it a bit different I attached some large flower buttons along the front yoke for a designer touch.




I can wear the two together, or the jacket with my white trousers.








I will be starting a series of blog posts on 1960's fashion in a month or so starting with the famous Channel Cardigan Jacket.