March 24, 2017

Dartmouth Sewalong Day 2: Fronts, Shoulders, and Neckband

Today we’re going to start the construction of our Dartmouth Tops! If you’re making view A with the Ruched Front start here, otherwise you can jump ahead to the Shoulder Seams section. Make sure you have all your pieces cut and prepped!

Creating the Ruched Front

Start by cutting two 4” pieces of elastic (not clear elastic.) Mark the elastic 1/2” from each end. This elastic is going to be creating the gathers so make sure it has a good amount of recovery when you stretch it out!

Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the outer front, matching the marks you drew with the elastic placement notches. The fabric will be bunched in between the pins.

On a regular sewing machine, sew the first 1/2” of elastic to the wrong side of the outer front within the seam allowance using a wide zigzag stitch. When you reach the first pin, keep the needle down and stretch the elastic until the fabric lays flat. Sew the elastic in this stretched position until the second notch. Stop stretching the elastic and sew the final 1/2” of elastic unstretched.

Repeat with the second side of the outer front.

Shoulder Seams

Pin both fronts to the back at the shoulders, right sides together. Place a piece of elastic along the stitching line and sew through all three layers. Press the seam allowance towards the back.

If, like me, your serger doesn’t much like trying to sew through elastic, cut your piece a bit longer and feed the elastic into the serger by itself until it has a few stitches in it and then add the shoulders underneath the elastic.

Sew Neckband

Fold the neckband in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and give a good press.

Matching the raw edges of the shirt with the raw edges of the neckband, pin the neckband all the way around the two fronts and the back, matching the notches.

Sew in place and press the seam allowance down towards the shirt. Optionally, you can topstitch to keep the seam allowance down. That’s it for today! Next time, we’ll baste the fronts together and attach our sleeves.

5 thoughts on “Dartmouth Sewalong Day 2: Fronts, Shoulders, and Neckband

  1. Dana Babbitt says:

    What is the reason for elastic in shouldersshoulders? Maybe I just need to read further, not sure.

    1. It helps stabilize them so they don’t stretch out

      1. Julie Stuart says:

        The elastic produced a lot of ugly bulk at the neckline. Next time I make up the top I’ll use tape for this purpose.

  2. Susan Leech says:

    I’m struggling to sew the elastic in the sides of the outer front and wondering if I have the correct elastic (I think it may not be stretchy enough). I am using1/4″ braided elastic but have to stretch it to its absolute maximum to fit it between the notches. I can sew the first 1/2″ OK, and then stretch the elastic out to the second pin, but as soon as I start sewing and the needle comes up out of the fabric, the tension on the elastic causes the whole thing to be pulled forward out of the sewing machine. Any advice?

    1. Mary Powell says:

      Susan, I don’t have any advice, but I wanted to share that the same thing happens to me. I’ve tried several different elastics, and even a walking foot. It’s always a mess, then I ease it it when I sew the side seams and it looks fine in the end.

Let me know what you think!