The Ruby Slip #6 – Sewing the Lace Bodice

In #6 of the Ruby Slip Sew-along we are going to sew the lace bodice – isn’t it pretty?!
Let’s start at the centre front.  Lay the R and L Centre Front Bodice face up, then lap the R side over the L, matching the CF dot at the neckline, and the CF notch at the underbust seam:

 

Machine baste the two layers together along the underbust seam:
Then stitch following the outline of the scallops on the R side overlap to attach the two layers together:
From the wrong side, carefully trim away the underlap of the L side piece:
Now admire how pretty it looks – see how the CF neckline is a mirror image on both sides?
Stitch the side seam.  For this lace I decided to do French seams because it is very fine and overlocking would have shown through.  To French seam, place wrong sides together and sew at 4mm:
You can see the lace border will match perfectly at the at the stitching line when it is sewn at 1cm:

Then turn the panels so the right sides face together, and stitch at 5mm:

When you press the seam allowance to the back, you might have a bit of seam allowance sticking up:

Fold it down so that it is hidden between the seam allowance and the shell and tack it in place.

Because this lace is so sheer and the seam allowances are visible, I like to topstitch the seam at 4mm – you can hardly see the topstitching, and it holds the seam allowance in place so it doesn’t flip to the other side and always looks straight!

Now French seam the Side Front to Centre Front:

Because the scalloped edges meet at a sharper angle here, you end up with a bit of a knob at the top edge:

Turn it back on itself and tack it in place between the seam allowance and shell, as neatly as you can:

Topstitch the seam as before.  You should end up with a continuous scallop shape around the upper edge:

Here’s the completed bodice, all ready for straps and skirt to be attached:

If your lace is thick in parts, then a French seam is not suitable.  For my black embroidered net I sewed a normal seam:

Matching the scalloped edge perfectly:

I overlocked the seam allowance, trimming it to 5mm:

Leave a tail:

Back at the sewing machine, turn the overlocking thread tail down and tack it in place:

Tack it so that it is enclosed between the layers:

Ensure no parts of the seam allowance show above the top edge:

I topstitched my seam at 3mm:

Topstitching makes the seam really flat, so you won’t need to press it every time you wash it!

If you have chosen to use a heavy weight lace, it will need to be open seamed to reduce bulk.  I would overlock each edge, trimming it to 5mm, then sew the seam at this narrower width, and edgestitch each seam allowance open.  (Heavy weight laces are often not as suited to cut and sew techniques like I’ve demonstrated, but are usually ideal for cut and overlap techniques similar to the CF seam.  However each lace is totally unique and it takes some experience and planning to do this – I am probably not going to be much help from my laptop!)

We’re almost finished – remember you can ask questions in the comments if you have any!  I hope to have the post on variations to the bodice up next.  In the meantime here is a summary of Ruby Slip Sew-along posts so far:

Happy Sewing!

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12 thoughts on “The Ruby Slip #6 – Sewing the Lace Bodice

  1. I'm really enjoying sewing this and after re-pinning the skirt it's looking a lot better, although not perfect. The fabric dropped quite a bit after hanging and I had to even out the hem by cutting off the excess in the middle. It's probably going to be on the snug side, but wearable.

    I've just sewed up the bodice and it's huge on me width-wise, but probably not deep enough either ;( I wear a 34D/DD bra so sewed a size 12, with an extra inch added as a FBA. I'm now thinking of going down a couple of sizes but am worried about doing what could be an enormous full bust adjustment. I'm quite narrow under my bust and would appreciate some help on how best to tackle my fitting issues. Thanks

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  2. Update on my last comment. The lace appears to be quite stretchy, although it doesn't have any lycra and I think that's why it's the bodice is so big. It was only cheap and there's not much pattern on it, if you know what I mean. When I re-measured the paper pattern it should have fit pretty well, so off to look at some other, slightly stiffer lace.

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  3. Bibliophile – Hopefully the new lace will work better! You could try a mock-up in calico first to check, also it won't hurt to add extra to the bodice length at the midriff if you think it might be short – it can always be cut off if it isn't needed, but you can't add it on!

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  4. I'm excited to try this, but at the moment I am in need of a frumpier style slip. Do you think this pattern would work if I used charmeuse for the bodice in place of lace (that is, the whole garment would be charmeuse)?

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  5. I haven't tried the whole slip in charmeuse so I can't guarantee, but I think it would work as the pattern is based on a woven block. You would need to either bind or face the upper edges, and you might like to reshape the upper edges as these were straightened to adapt to the straight edge of the lace.

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