Tux Dress Details- Facings, Mitering Lace and Dickeying Around

Lila likes to “sew” with me, assembling her tools and requesting fabric scraps.  She’s quite orderly for a four-year-old.  The other day, she listed off her tools in a chirpy voice before diving into her “work”: “Pins, yes, fabric, yes, clapper, yes, OH!”  She jumped down and ran into her room.  She ran back, perched on her chair and set her last piece of equipment on the table-

“Camera, yes!”

Then she used her pink kid’s camera to take photos of everything she did with the pins, fabric and clapper.  (She pretends the clapper is an actual iron.)  I wonder if she thinks everyone sews with a camera…

5226 by Celia Kritharioti Tuxedo front dress

That’s what I did today!  I’m enjoying The Tux Dress construction and thought I’d share some of the detail work- little things that are easily overlooked and not often shared.

Making Facings:

I changed the front neckline to a deep, steep V-neck.  I measured down from the CF neck to the same depth I used in the muslin.  I marked it with a dot, and drew the new neckline and seam allowance.

Then I traced off a front “facing” piece following the new neckline.

This is the original front facing piece, layered on top of the “side front” piece.  The facing doesn’t have a seam in the same place the outer garment has a seam, it would be too bulky for no reason.  I marked the “side front” seamlines on the facing piece.

Then I merged the two pieces by aligning them along the seamline.

I traced the new front facing piece and smoothed off the interior corner where the two pieces join for a nice smooth line.

Mitering Lace:

Once I cut and assembled the facings, I overlocked/serged the outer edges to prevent fraying.  That’s the minimum I do to a facing, sometimes I use bias-binding on the outer edges, and sometimes I trim the edges.  The overlocking looked too ugly for a dress like this, even though it’s on the inside.  With a nod to the French Maid outfit I’m trying to avoid making, I trimmed the edges with lace.

I took a few shots to show how to miter a trim or lace around the corner.  This works best with lightweight trims.  When you are very close to the corner, place a pin.  See the pin above the flower pin?  Then carefully fold the trim diagonally so the trim is precisely opposite of the edge you want to trim.  The photo says more than words can.

Hold down the folded corner with your finger, and then without rotating or twisting, lay the trim in the direction you want it to go.

Pin that folded corner carefully and move on.

I stitched the lace in place with two rows of straight stitching along each edge of the lace.

Dickeying Around:

This dickey is a completely superfluous piece of flim-flammery that serves no structural purpose for this dress except to please our whims for a Tux Dress.  I’m treating it as an embellishment, which is semi-detachable.  I’ll hand-sew it on so I can remove it at will.

I traced the upper section of the CF dress piece.  I’d like to say I was scientific and used golden ratios to figure out the length, but I just traced the front section to the “lengthen/shorten” line.  I’m making the longer dickey from yesterday’s muslin post. 

To create the wing collar, I traced a line on the CF piece to show where I wanted the wing collar- more or less.

I folded the tracing medium along the CF line, and then traced the shape of the little collar.  It’s so silly, I love it.

I added a CF seamline and drew a few lines where I want tucks.  It doesn’t matter where I draw them, as long as they’re straight and I think evenly spaced works well for this dickey.  I would also draw lines like this on any pattern piece if I wanted to add lace insertion, tucks, or any other “heirloom” type stitching.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted 1/2″ (1.2mm) tucks or smaller- so I made a few 1/2″ tucks on a piece of drafting medium.  Sometimes I simply tuck the fabric before cutting, that works too.  I was feeling chicken, so I tested it before cutting my fabric.

I cut another dickey shape from the pleated polytrace.  I could see the width worked for my tucks.

When I released the tucks, I had a perfectly calibrated pattern piece.  Isn’t it weird looking?

I used it to cut the dickey piece.  Again, you can also just pre-pleat the fabric and skip making a funny pattern piece, or make a funny pattern piece.  But it works for just about anywhere you’d like to add pleats.

I faced the dickey with some interfaced white cotton cut from the “no pleats” dickey pattern piece.

Just a little preview!  I added a little band of white at the neck for the suggestion of a collar, and I’ll take a little time trimming and turning the edges again, some places need help.

My camera is very irritating at the moment.  I don’t want to talk about it, but I do want to apologize because I can see the photos aren’t gorgeously crisp and it drives me insane.  Soon, soon, soon I will be asking you all for camera referrals.

Do you consider your camera a vital sewing tool?

If you haven’t already, do check out the Frock Out Giveaway– you could win a 50’s dress and pretty fabric rose pin, just tell me about your favorite dress.  And Brisbane crafters- aren’t you excited?  Frock Out is so soon- this Saturday!  If you haven’t yet registered but you’re planning to attend, do let me know so I bring enough silk!


  1. I always learn so much when you do posts like this. I like the idea of pre-pleating a piece of paper before tracing out the pattern piece, and combining two facing pieces is a really good idea! I’m storing those in my mental box of sewing tips for future use. It’s not a very well organized mental box (probably resembles a childs toy box more than anything), but usually the right tip floats its way to the top when I prod at the thing. :)

    The dickie is looking really sharp! I like the red roses with the crisp black and white lines.

  2. How gorgeous. What fun. You are so clever. This is going to be yet another masterpiece.
    I wonder – when you work with a new pattern like this, do you use your sloper to tend to any issues up ahead? I am thinking of making one – if I can get my sis to stand near me long enough to measure me!

    I too wish I could attend Frock Out!

    • Aw thanks…

      I usually do. I wish I had taken the time. The back isn’t a mess, but my sloper back fits me perfectly, just perfectly. This back fits ok, and I won’t obsess over it too much. The slopers/blocks are useful alteration tools, definitely.

      I wish you could, too!

    • I’m pleased you’re finding the construction stuff useful… I don’t usually show so much of a garment.. Mostly because stopping to take a semi-decent photo and jot a note seems to double construction time…

      I was sewing the invisible zipper yesterday and thinking of y’all…

    • I am sure she does. I guess I’ve been blogging for most of her life, she doesn’t know any different. I tell her that mommy helps people sew and writes stories, she seems to get that….

  3. Oh thats looking really nice. The flowers on it look really good too. How funny that your daughter ‘sews’ wth a camera! Mine sits on the floor and ‘cuts’ fabric out with a plastic pizza wheel – they are hilarious mimics :)

  4. My kids used to spend a lot of time ‘baking/cooking’ pretending to separate eggs and everything. So funny what they pick up! I love your construction posts too. (Sneak preview pics will go on the blog today) X

    • Yes! I never realized how fun little kids can be once they can sort of talk and mimic and take directions… Lila loves to cook with us, too. ;)

      I will be all over that.

  5. From just that preview pic I can tell the dress is going to be amazing! I love the little white you added to the collar. And the black buttons. And the rose. Okay, I love everything!

  6. This is coming along very nicely indeed. I love the tip about prefolding. I’m taking with pintucks at the moment but slightly daunted about adding them. Thanks for the tutorial!

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