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March 14, 2012 / Miss Karen

Get the itch to stitch in the ditch!

You’re not handstitching unnecessarily, are you?  Tsk, tsk.

The Big 4 patterns always tell you to handstitch down those pesky facings, don’t they?  Well, I do enjoy handstitching from time to time, but sometimes it’s not worth the time and trouble.

Currently I’m working on the bodice of McCall’s 6503 View C, which is the solid pink dress below.

The fabric is Tula Pink Prince Charming Hex Box Coral voile from my shop, which is a dream to sew.  Before I started the project, I threw the voile in the washing machine to pre-shrink it, and it came out perfectly from the dryer!  Silky and soft.  I see lots of voile dresses in my future…

Anyway, here’s what we have so far:

Please disregard the collar — it’s under construction!  There are the usual bodice pieces, along with a ruffle on either side and bands along the front edge.

Now, here’s the inside:

First you’ll probably notice that I’m underlining the bodice with silk organza.  I’ll discuss that in another post.

Let’s look at the front bands.  McCall’s says that after the band facing (where my thumb is) is sewn on, you are to “SLIPSTITCH pressed edge over seam.”  Oh, let’s NOT do that!  Instead, stitch in the ditch!

What that means is that the band facing is stitched down by machine in the “ditch.”  Where is the ditch, you ask?

The arrow on the left is pointing at the ditch, which is the groove between the ruffle and the band:

The arrow on the right shows the stitching line on the underside.  The goal is to stitch it so that it’s almost invisible on the outside.  However, usually the stitching shows a little bit, as you see here:

Wow, that’s really CLOSE UP, isn’t it!  The stitching on the left side is the narrow hemming of the ruffle, and then toward the right you can see the stitch in the ditch line.  If you look at your RTW clothing, you will see that your collar band, front band, and cuff facings were probably stitched down in this way.  I think it gives a more professional look, and machine stitches are more secure than hand stitches, generally.

Totally groovy, wouldn’t you say?

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