Gertie’s Giveaway Dress – Part Two

Last week I started work on my dress for the Gertie’s Grand Giveaway sewing contest.  Since then, I’ve been working on the bodice.

My mock up for the pattern was cut out of my lining. I cut a size 10, even though I should be a size 12, because I’ve had to take in garments I cut a size 12 recently, so I thought I’d skip the hassle. It worked out really well for me because size 10 fit perfectly! I’m expecting a little finagling with the fit later, when I get to the zipper and shoulder seams, but for now it fit well enough for my mock-up to become my lining and for me to cut the plaid fabric.

the top of the bodice mock-up
the top of the bodice mock-up

This is where my luck started running out. I really wanted to match the plaid on this fabric like I did with my striped dress, but neither the fabric nor the pattern is conducive to that.

I marked out a 45° angle from the original grainline on the midriff pieces.

I aligned the 45 degree line with the original grainline and marked a line with the edge of the ruler

Unfortunately, because of how the pieces fit together, the original grainlines weren’t parallel (on the pattern, visibly they are) which meant my new ones weren’t parallel either. Which meant I couldn’t get the fabric to match well.

Then the fabric decided to get in the way. Because of the different colors of the boxes, the fabric doesn’t match up with itself when placed right-sides-together—making it impossible to match the print. Gah.

I decided to ignore the mismatch at the sides and get it as close as possible in the center back. I think it’s going to look okay, but I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get it to match. Also, I made some really stupid errors cutting, which meant I wasted fabric cutting out the bodice that I really need for the skirt. I’m already low on this fabric and now I’m worried I won’t be able to have a full circle-skirt like the pattern calls for 😦

I decided that I wanted thin red piping at the midriff seams, and I wanted it to match the back contrast fabric, so I decided to make my own piping. It was actually ridiculously easy.

I cut two 2″ wide strips of the red fabric and found some twine in my junk drawer. I pressed the strips in half and switched to a zipper foot and red thread on my sewing machine. I lined up the twine in the fold of the red fabric and stitched as closely as I could to the twine. It worked really well.

 I trimmed the piping to 5/8″ and lined it up in the seam between the midriff and the bodice top. I used the piping as a guide, sewing as close to it as I could, and voila.


I was worried about how the middle section was going to look cut on the bias, but I think the piping makes it work. This was my first glimpse of the finished dress and a very satisfying aha moment that the my mental image and the finished product are going to match (unlike the side seams).

I went back to the lining and prepared the facings. I know—lining and facing? But it works because the facing is really just for the contrast color on the back flaps. I guess it would work just as well with just the lining in the contrast fabric but the pattern says do both so I’m doing both. I also like that it would allow you to line the bodice in a light polyester without forcing you to have that be your accent. Now that I’m thinking more about it though, it’s weirding me out more and more. Hmmm…

Anyway, back to the facings. I cut them out, sewed them, serged the edges, and finally basted them to the lining, right side to wrong side (so that both right sides face the same way).


And then, finally, we reach the big bodice finale: sewing the lining to the bodice.


Trimming seams, notching curves, turning, and all that jazz later, the bodice was pretty much done. I’m super pleased with the results.

the front with the lining sewn

I think I might lower the neckline a little, but I’m going to wait to do a proper fitting on me before I make any changes like that.



I like how the back flaps (what’s the right word for those?) look in the red. I think it adds the pop of color the plaid needs.


It’s a good thing I resigned myself to mismatched sides because they really don’t match. Looking at it all sewn, I’m thinking I could have gotten the top pieces to align more, but I’m okay with it overall.

Now it’s time for the skirt 🙂 Here’s hoping I have enough fabric for a full circle skirt.


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