By the end of this sew along you'll have something resembling a dress!
When we left off, we had the bodice prepped and the gathering stitches sewn in to the skirt. Now it's time to work on joining those two together.
Gathering the skirt
Place the bodice lining inside the skirt with the right side of the bodice facing the wrong side of the skirt. Match the notches and side seams and pin in place.
Grab the top thread from both rows of stitches and begin to pull. Continue to pull those two threads, adjusting the gathers as you go, until each skirt section between pins matches the width of the bodice between the same pins. Secure with more pins. Sew a basting stitch to secure.
Applying flat piping/bias trim and joining the bodice and skirt
In this step we're using our bias tape as a sort of flat piping or trim. This will accent the waist seam curves and adds a fun pop of color. If you are using premade bias tape, unfold the raw edges from the center so the center seam remains and the raw edges meet. If using home made bias tape, fold and iron a section of your bias tape lengthwise, like this:
Beginning 1.5in from the side seam, leave a 3in tail at the beginning and pin the bias trim around the right side of the skirt, aligning the raw edges of the bias tape with the raw edge of the top of the skirt. If you are using narrow bias tape you'll need to align the seam line of the bias tape (the folds you just unfolded) with the 1cm seam line of the skirt top, otherwise this bias trim will end up significantly narrower looking than the bias binding around the neck and arm holes.
When you get to the front curve of the bodice, you'll need to gently stretch the bias tape as you apply it, otherwise it will either form waves or stick out at the front. Essentially the curve of the bias tape in this portion needs to be smaller than the curve of the bodice, since the bias tape will fold down below that curve. I find that placing the bias tape between the skirt portion and my thumbs, and then curving both around as I gently pull the bias tape helps that front trim lay nice and flat. This is only necessary at the front, between the notches, since that is the sharpest curve.
Continue pinning all the way around until 1.5in before the side seam where you began pinning. Leave another 3in tail at this end. Baste stitch from the beginning of the pinned section to the end, leaving the tails free.
(in my sample I skipped the basting, but it certainly helps to baste at this point to help keep everything in place!)
This part is a bit tricky- but you can do it! We're forming a diagonal join in the bias tape. You can join them straight, but joining on a diagonal reduces bulk and is less noticeable. I'll use this same method in later steps on the armscye binding, too. Pinch the two tail ends where they meet together at the side seam and mark with a pin or fabric marker.
Unfold the tail ends so the outer fabric folds down and the inner layers still meet.
Keeping the marked spots together, slowly rotate the right tail end so it is perpendicular to the left one. The right one will naturally go to the bottom while the left goes to the top, like it shows below:
Pin through both layers, then sew from the marked point to the opposite corner, like this:
Trim and press the seam open. I don't know where my focus was in this shot- sorry!
Refold the bias trim, pin in place, and baste. (again, I didn't baste when sewing my sample for these photos and you can certainly get by without it, but it is recommended to keep all layers in place.)
See that lovely join? Barely noticeable, and the extra bulk in that seam is now nicely distributed! Bonus: you don't have to worry if your diagonal join is totally centered over the skirt seam- a straight join would be very obvious if it wasn't completely lined up.
Next place the main bodice over the skirt with right sides together. Match the notches and side seams and pin in place.
You now have the pieces layered- bodice lining on the inside, skirt, bias trim, and then main bodice on the outside.
Sew through all the layers.
It may be helpful at this point to grade or trim some layers of the seam allowance to help reduce bulk. If you do, take care to not cut too close to the line of stitching. The bodice and skirt are now joined, with some lovely bias trim applied- hooray! Flip both bodice pieces up and give it a good press. Remove any visible basting stitches.
So good, right? That waist seam is now enclosed between the layers of the bodice and skirt, with no additional pressing or hand sewing necessary. Ironing a lining seam allowance on a curve is one of my most hated sewing tasks, as it never ends up as smooth as I'd like and inevitably a fingertip is burned in the process. Let's revel in that nicely enclosed seam and get ready for our next step- finishing the back edges, joining the shoulder seams, and binding the neckline!