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Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt – Version 1


Today we’ll be attaching the lining to our bodice, sewing the side seams, constructing the skirt, and attaching our bodices to our skirts.

Originally this post was planned to cover Versions 1 and 2 together, but that was quite a bit of information, so we’ve decided to do split them up. This post details Version 1; you can find the “Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt” for Version 2 here.

Remember, all seam allowances are 5/8″ unless otherwise noted.

Attach lining

1) Pin and sew lining. Place one exterior bodice half and corresponding lining half right sides together, aligning the neckline, shoulder seams and the entire front edge. Pin.


At the front neckline corner, mark a line 5/8″ from either side. This will be your pivot mark.


Starting at the center back, stitch around neckline to front corner, pivot, and sew down front edge to waist. Make sure shoulder seams stay pressed open.


2) Grade and clip neckline seam. Trim the seam allowance of the lining only in half. This will reduce the bulk of the seam and prevent a ridge from forming on the outside of the garment.


Clip the seam allowance of the neckline curve, just as you did in the princess seams.


Clip off the front center corner at a 45 degree angle, keeping your cut line about 1/8″ away from the stitching.


3) Understitch lining. Understitching is a very helpful technique that helps linings and facings roll to the inside of a garment. It is essentially a line of stitching that attaches the lining to the seam allowances under it. It is not visible from the outside of the finished garment.

To understitch, flip the lining away from the exterior. We’ll be stitching about 1/8″ away from the neckline seam, in the lining fabric.


Be sure that both the exterior and lining seam allowances are under the lining fabric.


Starting at center back, sew with a regular straight stitch, following the curve of the neckline and constantly spreading the fabric so that you can almost see the thread of the neckline seam stitching.


Depending on how your presser foot looks, you may find it helpful to align the neckline seam with a landmark on your presser foot, and then move your needle position to be in the correct place.


Continue around the shoulder. You will not be able to sew all the way into the corner where you pivoted, so just stop sewing when it starts to feel weird.


Start again on the other side of the corner, and understitch all the way down to the waist.

Here is what your understitching should look like.


4) Pin and sew armhole. Place lining and exterior right sides together again. Bring armhole edge of lining to meet exterior armhole edge and pin. Because of the understitching, you may need to ‘encourage’ the lining fabric a little bit.


Stitch armhole edges together. Because we trimmed the lining, that edge is now slightly longer. Sewing with the lining side down will help ease the excess fabric into the seam.

Grade and clip seam as you did the neckline.


Turn bodice and sew side seams

1) Turn bodice. Reach through the shoulder area and begin turning bodice.


It might feel like a tight squeeze, but keep going.


Once the whole thing is right side out, give the neckline and armhole a good press, allowing the lining to roll a little bit to the inside.


2) Pin side seam. Grab front and back lining at side seam and hold right sides together.


Align the front and back underarm seams and pin.


Flip the exteriors to also be right sides together. Pin entire side seam edge out from center pin.


3) Sew and grade side seam. Sew side seam. Trim lining seam allowance in half to just past underarm seam.


Press seam open. Bring lining and exterior wrong sides together.


4) Baste waist. Line up the raw edges of the lining and exterior waist edges. Pin.


Lengthen your stitch length all the way (this is a basting stitch) and sew along waist edge at 3/8″.


Sew second half of bodice

Repeat everything we’ve done so far in this post with the other side of exterior/lining pieces.


Sew skirt

Your skirt darts should already be sewn since we covered them in the previous post. If not, refer to the instructions there and sew your skirt darts.

1) Pin, sew and finish skirt side seams. Pin the skirt backs to the skirt front at the side seams, right sides together.


Sew both side seams together. Finish by serging or zigzagging the raw edges separately and pressing open. Alternatively, use a Hong Kong finish. Check out this tutorial on the Colette blog to learn how.


attach bodice to skirt

1) Pin right bodice. Figure out which bodice half will be on your right side when you’re wearing it. Hold it up to yourself if you have to. Using this bodice half, pin the basted waist edge to the skirt waist edge, exterior fabrics together, starting and center back and then aligning and pinning all landmarks – princess seams/darts and side seams. Then, fill in the space between with more pins.


2) Pin left bodice. Repeat with the left bodice, starting at the center back and pinning landmarks first. The left bodice should overlap the right bodice in between the front skirt darts.


3) Sew waist seam. Stitch entire waist seam, going nice and slow and leaving your landmark pins in as long as possible to prevent fabric drift. Press seam down towards skirt and finish with either a serger or zig zag stitch or a Hong Kong finish.


We’re getting close! Comment below with questions, and we’ll be back next Tuesday for more.

The Phoebe Sewalong

  1. Welcome to the Phoebe Sewalong! (25 Comments)
  2. Gather Fabric and Supplies (32 Comments)
  3. Basic Fitting Guidelines (19 Comments)
  4. Bust Adjustments – Sizes 0-16 (6 Comments)
  5. Bust Adjustments – Sizes 18-26 (8 Comments)
  6. Shoulder Adjustments
  7. Cutting and Prep (5 Comments)
  8. Darts, Princess Seams, Shoulder Seams (7 Comments)
  9. Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt – Version 1
  10. Attaching Bodice Lining and Skirt – Version 2 (5 Comments)
  11. Insert the Zipper (4 Comments)
  12. Buttons and Hem
  13. Your Phoebes!