Welcome back to the Holyoke Maxi Dress and Skirt sewalong! We’re putting the finishing touches on our Holyoke Dress today, and then we’ll be ready to start on our Holyoke Skirt!
(Need to jump to a different day? Head over to the main Holyoke Maxi Dress and Skirt sewalong page.)
Okay, so we’ve sewn our side seams and all the facings are in place. Now it’s time to sew our button plackets down.
Taking one of the sides of the front, we’re going to flip it over to the wrong side. First, we fold down the center edge by 1/2” (12 mm) to the wrong side and press.
Now we’re going to fold it over again, this time by 1 1/4” (3 cm). Let’s press that fold down as well. Make sure the placket encloses the edge of the front facing.
Let’s do the same thing with the other side of the dress front.
Flipping the dress back out to the right side, we’re going to topstitch the right hand side of the dress (the right hand side when the dress is worn; this will be the left side if you’re looking at the dress in front of you).
I’m going to mark a line with chalk for where my stitching will go. This will help me keep my topstitching straight.
Let’s pin that placket down before topstitching. I’m also going to use Wonder Tape to help keep it from shifting as I sew.
One placket down, one more to go! We’re now going to sew the second placket closed while attaching it to the other side of the dress. This is admittedly the fiddliest step of the whole process, but have no fear! You’ve made it this far, haven’t you? So I’m confident that you can see this through to the end.
Here’s why this step can be a bit tricky: we’re sewing through a number of layers, several of which have also been interfaced, and they all want to go their own separate ways. And we want our left waistband to line up with our right waistband. The first time I sewed a Holyoke Dress, the layers shifted so much that I decided to unpick the entire seam and try again.
But here are a few ways to make your life a whole lot easier:
- If you have a walking foot, now would be a good time to pull it out! It’ll help keep the layers from shifting.
- I recommend using Wonder Tape to secure the two plackets together, in addition to the pins.
- Sew the seam in two gos: start at the waistband, sewing up to the top of the bodice. Then, sew down from the waistband to the hem. This ensures that your left and right waistbands line up perfectly!
- Chalking a topstitching guiding line is really helpful here. After you’ve chalked your line and lined up the two plackets, you can poke a pin through at the line in a few spots to make sure your stitches will catch all of the layers.
And don’t forget that you can make your button placket functional if you’d like! To do so, topstitch the left side of the dress the way you did the right side, and sew buttonholes according to the placements on the pattern pieces.
Okay, here we go! (You got this!)
I’m going to start by chalking a line where the topstitching will be on the left side of the dress (when worn; this is the right side if I’m looking at the dress in front of me.)
Now I’m going to use Wonder Tape to secure the left side of the dress to the right side, and then add pins for extra security.
Don’t forget to mark at the notch where the skirt will open. (One way to do that is by adding two pins close together.)
Now let’s sew those button plackets together! When you hit the notch (your double pins), move the bottom placket away and keep sewing the top placket only.
You can choose to also topstitch across the top of the button placket here to secure it closed. Or skip this step if you want!
We did it!! This Holyoke Dress looks fabulous and I know yours does too!
And now it’s time to TRY ON THAT DRESS! This is undoubtedly the best part. Be sure to check out the length of the dress and determine where you want it to be hemmed. (Don’t forget to try it on with shoes if you plan to wear your Holyoke with a pair of heels!)
We’re going to hem our dress as drafted. Start by folding the hem up 1” (2.5 cm) and pressing.
Now we’re going to fold it over again, this time by 1 1/2” (3.8 cm). Let’s press that down as well.
And now let’s pin that hem down and topstitch from the right side
Only one thing left to do, and that’s to sew on some buttons!
Using my pattern pieces as guides, I’m going to mark the locations of the buttons. Make sure that you include a button in the center of the waistband.
Now it’s time to put on a TV show, get comfy on the couch, and sew down each of those 11 buttons. (I know most people hate sewing on buttons, but I find this step quite relaxing!)
And there you have it, folks! A finished, beautiful Holyoke Maxi Dress that’s just dying to be taken out for a good swooshing around.
Nicely done, you sewing machines! Now your next step is to take a photo of your finished Holyoke and share with us on social media using the hashtag #HolyokeDress. We can wait to see your beautiful sundresses!
If you’ve come to the sewalong to make a Holyoke Skirt—your work begins next!