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Interfacing, Staystitching, Darts, and Shoulders

Happy Monday, Sew-Alongers! Are you ready to get started with some Hawthorn sewing? If you’ve finished your fittings and cut your interfacing and final fabric, the answer is, “Yes!”

Today, I will walk you through attaching your interfacings and beginning to assemble the bodice. Here is our full checklist to get you caught up:

  • Iron fabric and cut pattern pieces
  • Apply fusible interfacing
  • Staystitch curves
  • Sew darts
  • Attach shoulders

Iron Fabric and Cut Fabric Pieces

1. Fold your fabric in half and with right sides together and press.

Note: For easy stripe matching, I like to pin along the fold, checking to make sure that each pin goes through at the same point in the print.

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2. Layout your pattern pieces according to the diagram in your pattern booklet.

3. Use your marking pen, pencil, or chalk to transfer all of the mark- ings (such as circles, darts, etc) to the wrong side of your fabric. Mark the center front of pieces that are cut on the fold. This will help you to align pieces accurately. If you are using a rotary cutter, proceed to step 5.

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4. You can either place weights on your pattern pieces and trace the edges, cut the pieces out with a rotary cutter, or pin your pattern pieces in place and use fabric sheers to cut the pieces out.

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Apply fusible interfacing

1. Set your iron to cotton and full steam.

2. Lay the bumpy side of your fusible interfacing on top of the wrong side of corresponding fabric piece for two of the collar front (F) pieces, the collar back (G), the facing front (E) pieces, and the facing back (H).

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3. Dampen your press cloth and lay it over top, being careful not to pull the interfacing out of place.

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4. Press down firmly on every section for 30 seconds.

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5. Remove press cloth, flip the pieces over, dampen the presscloth again and repeat.

Staystitch curves

Definition of Staystitching: Staystitching around curved edges (such as necklines) helps prevent them from stretching out, making them easier to match up later. Simply machine stitch along the edge, slightly within the seam allowance.

1. Staystitch around the neckline on the facing front (E) pieces, the facing back (H), the collar fronts (F), and the collar back (G), stitching a scant 1/4” from the raw edge. Begin at the shoulders and stitch toward the center, which minimizes stretching.

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Sew Darts

1. Connect dart tip marking to the dart leg markings in the seam allowance, creating your dart leg lines.

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2. Bring dart legs together and pin from the tip of the dart toward the seam allowance.

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3. To sew each dart, backstitch at the seam allowance end, then sew straight off the tip of the dart leg line. Do not backstitch at the tip.

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4. Double knot your thread tails, then snip.

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5. Press darts flat and then towards center.

Attach shoulders

1. With right sides together, pin the two bodice front (A) pieces to the bodice back (B) piece at the shoulder seams.

Note: If matching print lines, remember to pin 5/8″ in where your actual stitch will go. Look to see that your pins are entering and exiting at the same points in the print to get a good match.

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You will see that I put a little bit of effort into matching my lines up, but I wasn’t too meticulous about it.


And here is what you should have for today: A semi-constructed bodice and fused facings and coller pieces.


On Wednesday we will proceed on to attaching our collar and facings, then sew our side seams. How is everyone doing so far?

The Hawthorn Sewalong

  1. Announcing the Hawthorn Sewalong & Contest (53 Comments)
  2. Full and Small Bust Adjustments (52 Comments)
  3. FBA Bonus: Splitting the Dart (15 Comments)
  4. Wide or Narrow Shoulder Adjustment (42 Comments)
  5. Fitting the cuffs (12 Comments)
  6. Interfacing, Staystitching, Darts, and Shoulders (22 Comments)
  7. Collar, Facing, and Side Seams (13 Comments)
  8. Attaching the Skirt or Peplum (10 Comments)
  9. Hawthorn Version 1, Short Sleeve (9 Comments)
  10. Hawthorn Version 2, 3/4 Length Sleeve (20 Comments)
  11. Hawthorn Version 3, Armhole (13 Comments)
  12. Closures, Hem, and Finishing (11 Comments)
  13. Hawthorn Parade: Vote for your favorites! (36 Comments)
  14. Hawthorn Parade Part Two: Vote for your favorites! (29 Comments)
  15. Hawthorn Contest Winners! (15 Comments)


Thank you for this! You know, I think I have the exact same seersucker fabric that you have. at least in the photos it looks the same. This is my first time making a dress, and using any sort of interfacing, and I am really excited. Thank you for your clear instructions.

I am behind, as I have only cut the pattern pieces for the muslin, (first time doing that too) but I hope to sew it together tonight, and see if I need adjustments.


I’ve done the fitting on the muslin, but I wanted to sew the whole thing together properly so (hopefully!) make my mistakes on that before I cut into my nice fabric.


I did the interfacing, stay-stitching, and the darts last night in my main fabric. I’m lining the bodice, so I need to sew the darts in that hopefully tonight.

I’m using an eyelet fabric and don’t want to have the interfacing showing through. Any suggestions?


Also have a blue eyelet here, using a white cotton lining to fully line the dress. Creates a nice contrast.

Hope this isn’t a silly question but what did you do about the facing? Did you just omit all the facings since you lined? I cut my pieces so that the scallop was along the edge where you button the dress (as opposed to the hem). I haven’t ever lined a scallop edge dress before so any ideas on how to line since I won’t be able to sew all the way to the edge then turn right side out?

Shannon |

I’m planning to underline (which should make seam-finishing easier, too), so I’ll iron the interfacing to the lining fabric.

So does that mean the interfacing will be sandwiched between the fabric and lining? That won’t work for eyelet because it would show through. Any ideas on how to sew lining into a garment that has a scallop edge?

Shannon |

I don’t think it will show through because both the bodice/skirt pieces and the facings will be underlined, so it will go eyelet-lining-interfacing-lining-eyelet.

Lining a scalloped edge is way too advanced a technique for me. Sorry.

I created a muslin of the bodice and had my daughter try it out. Fit perfectly. Everything was great. Or so I thought. After cutting out bodice with my actual material I found the bodice to be a little tight. Grrr.. Had to let the side seams out so that now I have a scant 1/4 seam. Not sure what happened. Both the muslin and the chambray that I chose seemed to have the same hand.

Thanks so much for the clear instructions!! I’ve never seen anyone use a damp cloth before attaching the interfacing – I just googled it, and it seems plenty of others out there do it too (huh – learned something new here, thanks!). ;)

Also, thank you for the tips in matching up the seersucker stripes. I haven’t cut into my fashion fabric yet (still fitting muslin), but this will come in handy when I get to that step! Did you take any particular care when cutting out the sleeves and matching up stripes, by chance?

Rachel |

I did not match the stripes of the sleeves to the armholes because the grains are too dissimilar.

Re: back skirt piece — is there’re any reason why the back skirt piece can’t be cut on the fold? The grain line is parallel to the seam line.


Maybe it’s just a matter of no seam line looking a little better.


Did you find an answer to this? I was wondering too. I am all poised to take 5/8 inch off the centre seam side and cut on the fold… I really can’t imagine why not?

Rachel |

It’s just that it would take up too much fabric to cut a semi-circle. Cutting as we have suggested will save you fabric.


Ah… thank you, I see now looking at the cutting diagram. My fabric has a directional print so I can’t do it like that – so I did cut the back as one piece. After doing all that so carefully however I have just managed to cut out the front bodice pieces with the print upside down, duh….

Ack, I do that all the time. I have a mental block about directional prints. It’s one of those mistakes I make constantly.

I still haven’t cut my fashion fabric yet, but my muslin is done and I’m really happy with the fit of the bodice. I’m nervous about the fusible interfacing since I’ve never used it before, but I’m anxious to get started and see this beautiful dress come together! Thanks for the excellent instructions!

Donna B

I’m making my muslin — are the waist darts supposed to end right on top of the bust point, a little below, or under the curve of the bust (where the bra band lies)? It looks so fitted on the model, and even on the ladies who already posted their projects, but I am not quite so endowed, and my muslin looks a bit “pointy”. What should I do?

Shannon |

I’m still a beginner, but I’m pretty sure the darts are supposed to end about an inch away from the bust point.

Did you read the FBA/SBA post?


@ Donna B- I just read that darts should end 1/2 inch to 1 inch away from the fullest part (in this case, from the bust but in other cases the tummy, derriere, elbow, or shoulder).

That said, I moved my waist darts about an inch lower, but I got a little extra width than I needed. I’m going to experiment with moving it 1/2 inch lower next time. I’m curious how much work I’ll need to do because typically I don’t move darts with Colette Patterns. That could be because I don’t know enough or that it hasn’t been an issue for me. I know that the dart shouldn’t creep up onto the bust apex, thus creating the points you mentioned.