An Afternoon Tutorial - Inserting Back Gathers

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hey, hey!

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and emails on my last post! I've not managed to reply (or approve) all of them yet, but I'm getting there. I didn't realise it would hit such a note with all of you! 

Today I'm sharing the second Afternoon Tutorial - inserting the back gathering for View 4 of the Afternoon Shift dress

You'll need - 

1. To cut the correct length of bias binding, use your back paper pattern piece and measure the waistline all the way across using the waistline notch and the tailor's tack marks on the pattern to get a straight line. Double this measurement then cut that length in bias tape.

2. To cut the correct length of elastic, use your back paper pattern piece and measure the waistline from the waistline notch to the tailor's tack marking to get an accurate measurement. Double this measurement then cut that length in elastic.

3. Take your cut out back pattern piece with the pattern still attached and using your needle and contrasting thread, place a small tailors tack into your pattern. 

4. Open out your back piece, snip your tack in half and wrong side facing down, place your bias binding on top. Line up the ends of the binding with the waist line notches on either side and the centre with the tailor's tack notches to ensure a straight line.

5. Stitch the top and bottom of the bias binding down, as close to the edge as possible, leaving the ends on each side open. Back tack at each end and remove your tailor's tack.

6. Place a small safety pin at one end of your elastic and pull it carefully through the bias casing, lining up each end of elastic exactly to the side of your shift dress.

I've also pinned the end of my elastic to the side in the photos below so it doesn't pull all the way through.

7. Place a few small stitches, within the seam allowance, at each end of the elastic to secure it until the side seams are stitched up. These can be hand stitches or machine stitches.

And that's how you insert the back gathering! It's pretty easy and leaves you with a really nice finish on the outside of the dress.

Have you made an Afternoon Shift or Blouse? Leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to see them :)

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10 comments on "An Afternoon Tutorial - Inserting Back Gathers"
  1. I love how simple this tutorial is and what a wonderful result. I never thought to use bias tape that way. Cheers, Michele

    1. There are so many great uses for bias tape and using it as an elastic casing is definitely one of my favourites :) It's such an easy adjustment to make.

  2. Thanks for the great tutorial. I've been wondering if you could use the back gathers to do a swayback adjustment. I'm still exploring these adjustments and am thinking could you do a seam along the gathering line instead of having a seam down the whole back which is usually called for when you correct swayback?

    1. Hello! You could - I'd make a muslin first though to see if you needed it with this pattern. The shaping isn't meant to make the dress fitted (and generally, sway back adjustments are more needed if you're making a fitted garment, that's where you see the excess fabric bunching out), it just provides shape while the dress hangs gently over your curves. So, I wonder whether you'd actually need to do the adjustment in the first place, unless you have quite a large sway back?

      When making a sway back adjustment, you'd pinch out excess across the back, width wise as opposed to length wise, so if you thought you definitely needed the sway back adjustment, you could fiddle with it and hide the seam along where you attach the bias tape. I think that would work, depending on how much you ended up taking out. But I would be careful with it, because you wouldn't want to take out so much that you couldn't put the dress on, hehe :)

      Definitely make a muslin without the adaptation first, you might be pleasantly surprised :)

  3. Thanks so much for putting this tutorial together. Would it make life easier if the elastic was cut longer, but with the length needed marked on it? This would give one "handles", then snip off the extra after securing within the side seams.

    1. You most definitely could, and a great idea at that! I just pin mine in, probably because I'm lazy and it's an extra step *blush But definitely a great idea :)

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. This gives a nice finish on the outside. Xx

    1. You're welcome :) I think it does too, it's probably my preferred method for back shaping on the shift!

    2. Really amazing and well explained tutorial. amazing work keep posting

  5. thank you so much for this tutorial, I would never have thought of using bias tape, will be trying this later,
    best wishes


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