Assalam alikum girls and welcome to the LAST part of our series where I’m gonna FINALLY be showing you how to sew a modest maxi dress/abaya which comes with an invisible back zipper! Okay, don’t freak out about the back zipper, it’s totally optional and I’ve tried to make it real easy, it was my first time too, but I made it through, so YOU can do it too! Promise. 🙂
It’s been quite long since I last made anything with a proper sleeve. I just hate adding sleeve because it’s so tricky to get them right in the first go. >.<
And of-course it happened again, I had to do each sleeve TWICE! Ugh! So time consuming.
Okay, back to the tutorial , let’s look at the supplies first, shall we?
You’ll need a
- 3m cotton fabric
- 1m of contrast fabric
- ¼ yard of soft fusible interfacing
- 22” zipper
- Sewing supplies
- And the (ad) pattern for neckline and facing
Modest Maxi Dress/Abaya Sewing Tutorial
I’ll be using a synthetic mix version of cotton with a percent of polyester. Doesn’t matter because it serves our purpose of being thick and not at all see through.
You gotta cut the following pieces:
- Front and back piece from the pattern from “Make dress patterns from old clothes” video.
- Sleeve from the pattern that you made using sleeve pattern drafting video
- The borders of dress
- The borders of sleeves
- The facings from fabric and interfacing
So, first off, I’m gonna go ahead and cut all the dress pieces out using the pattern pieces that I constructed in the previous video.
This is my front piece and I’m gonna cut on fold. I’ve folded it just enough so that the pattern fits in just perfectly. I’ll go ahead and trace the entire thing out. For the end piece, I’m just gonna use my scale and draw a straight line till the edge and then I’ll just cut the whole thing out.
Coming to the back part which is a bit tricky so watch carefully. I’ve placed my fabric folded into half. To know the exact amount of fabric I need for the flare I’ve place the front piece on top of it.
Notice that I’ve left a small gap while placing the front piece on top. That’s gonnna be my seam allowance for the zipper.
I’ve placed my pattern on top and you can see the neckline and arm hole are aligned with the front piece and the back is touching the fold because the seam allowance only exits on the pattern piece. Make sure you follow this step carefully.
I’m gonna trace the whole thing out and next I’ll just cut it.
Next, I’m gonna cut the sleeves in similar way on the fold.
To cut the borders out, first I’m gonna measure the hem of my dress and I’ll just write it down.
Now I’m gonna cut 4 rectangles measuring 5” by 33”. Remember you only gotta cut FOUR.
So here are my four rectangles, I’m gonna keep them aside for now. Next, I cut my sleeves borders in similar way. 5”xthe length of hem of the sleeve.
Now using the link provided, download and print the facing pattern and cut them out. Place them onto the fabric, trace and cut. I’m just gonna show you how to cut your front facing on the fold.
I’ll just fold my fabric into half, and place the facing along the folded edge, trace and cut. There you go! I have my facing. Next, I cut out the fusible interfacings for each of the piece. Go ahead and fuse these pieces together and keep them aside.
NOW ITS TIME TO SEW!
Just wanna show a little trick for winding the perfect bobbin.
Before you start winding, just insert your thread into one of the holes in the bobbin and hold the thread tight and start the winding. You can let go of it after winding some thread. This ensures the perfect bobbin tension while sewing.
We’re ready to sew now!
Stay-stitch the neckline
I’m gonna start off by stay stitching my neckline because it really prevents the curved edges to stretch out and get out of shape. It’s nothing difficult, just a regular stitch around the neckline. This is my back piece and I’m just gonna finish it off. Okay, my stay stitch is done.
Sew the shoulders
Next, I’ll sew together the shoulder seams. Gonna pin them in nicely at first. One thing to note here is you wanna sew it in one direction. If you’re sewing one shoulder from neckline towards the outer part you should sew the other shoulder in similar way.
Sew the side seam
To sew the side seem, it’s really essential that you pin the sides together perfectly with as many pins as you can. It just helps in sewing smoothly and prevents the fabric from shifting.
Set in the sleeve
To set in the sleeves first, I’ll place a mark 4 inches from both sides at 5/8th of an inch away from the edge. Normally sewing patterns come with these markings so it makes it easier. I’ll also place a mark mid way. Next, I’ll do a double line of basting stitch with the same length of seam allowance and the other one just above it.
Now, I’m gonna pull my bobbin thread and create some gathers towards the center from both sides.
The next task is to set in the sleeves.
First, I’m gonna pin my seam allowances together. I’m starting off at the under arm first. And then I’ll go on pinning the rest together. When I reach the gather, I just want to flatten them out a bit so that I don’t have any puckers because that just ruins the whole look. Go ahead and take as much time as you like to ensure that it turns out perfectly fine. The more time you put in to get things right, the better your dress will turn out and you’ll love it all the more. It always happens with me. Whenever I don’t sew something perfectly, I just lose interest in it.
Now, I’m gonna sew in my sleeve. This is where this gap in the sewing machine will come in handy because it’s meant for circular sewing.
Take your time and go around.
To finish me seams I’ll just use a zig zag stitch. It’s a very common stitch found on all the machines. Go ahead and set your machine and finish off all your seams, the side seam, shoulders, and sleeves.
Press the seams
Now it’s time to press the seams, a very crucial step for a perfect finish.
I’ll press all my seams towards the back.
That is my front part and I’m pressing the seam towards the back. Pressing just makes everything look so professional so don’t skip this step. You’ll notice the change in your sewing once you get into the habit of pressing all the time, you’ll just love how your projects turn out.
To press the shoulder seams I’m gonna roll this pillow and wrap it with a cotton fabric. This is for people who don’t have a tailor’s ham. If you do have one go ahead and grab it. I’ll just insert it through the neckline and place it around my shoulder.
Then I’ll press the seam towards the sleeves because that’s how it ends naturally. This will help in giving a nice curved finish to the shoulders
Sew the back
Now I’m gonna sew my back pieces together using a basting stitch because this is just temporary.
Sew the borders
Now it’s time to sew the borders.
I’ll take one set of my border and sew it together to form a ring. I’ll repeat the same thing with the other set too.
Now I’ll go ahead and press these seam allowance open.
Next, I’ll press one of the border5/8th of an inch. Go ahead and grab your measurement tape or seam gauge for this step. Fold, measure and press. Remember you only gotta press ONE of the band.
Now, I’ll sew the two sets together using the part that is unfolded with right sides facing each other. What’s crucial here is to match the seam allowances together First.
That’s all done, now it’s time to press this seam towards the folded edge and then I’ll sew it. This is what they call understitching. I’ll use the edge as my guideline, making sure that the presser foot does not cross the edge.
Now you can see how it folds in perfectly naturally. That’s the beauty of understitching.
Next, I’m gonna pin this band to the hem of my dress matching the seam allowances first. My dress is right side out and my band is wrong side out so that the right sides are facing each other and note that I’m pinning the unfolded portion of my band to the dress.
The next step is to press the seam allowance towards the folded part. Next, I’ll just fold and glue this part together. Haha just kidding, I’m gonna first pin this up and then I’ll turn the right side out, pin it again and remove the pins from inside because I want to sew it from the right side.
I’ll use the edge of the border as my seam guide.
I’ll repeat these steps to attach the sleeve border.
So, here’s my sleeve all done using the same steps as the dress border but here the last step is gonna be different because the width of my sleeves is too narrow to fit in the machine and it will just keep coming under the stitch. So, what I’m gonna do is a blind stitch technique.
So, I have my needle threaded here with double thread and a knot at the end. I want to sew the folded edge to the seam here making sure that the needle doesn’t come out from the right side. I’ll go ahead and finish both the sleeves off and I’ll see you in the next part.
Add the invisible zipper
Remember the basting stitch that we did in the beginning, I’ll first go ahead and open up the seam allowance and press and then I’ll just use my seam ripper to rip of the stitches.
Okay now comes a bit tricky part. I have placed my dress down, right side out. I’ll start off from the left side so I’ll move the right side out of the way.
Now, I’m gonna place my zipper facing down so that the zipper teeth is aligned with this crease and I have pinned it here. Let me pull my zipper tab up so that you can see where it’s facing. So the right side of my zipper is facing the right side of the dress. so when I turn the crease my zipper would go inside and disappear like it’s supposed to.
Go ahead and grab your invisible zipper foot or a normal zipper foot and attach it to the machine. Both work pretty well the same. Next I’m gonna sew it all along. Don’t forget to a back stitch because this is a construction stitch.
Okay there you go! One side is done, the zipper is professionally hidden. And now I’m gonna do the other side similarly.
Now I’ll sew the back of my dress again using the normal stitch. I want to start as close as the end of the zipper. So, I’ll move the zipper out of the way, bring the seam real close, do a backstitch and continue till the end.
Now you can see that the zipper is just dangling from there so I’ll just stitch it to the seam.
Sew the facings
And now comes the FINAL most part to sew in the facing of your dress.
Go ahead and grab the facings.
First, I’m gonna finish of the edges using a zig zag stitch to prevent it from fraying.
Ooo I just love how it turned out. I’m using it for the first time ever because I just bought this machine.
Now, I’ll sew the back facing to the front facing.
You can see that I’ve pressed my seam allowance open. I’ll attach the shoulders with the shoulders. My dress is right side out and the facing is wront side out so that the right sides are facing each other.
Now it’s time to sew. Since it’s a circular stitch I’ll remove this part of the machine to allow the fabric to slide through. I’m gonna go very slow here because it’s a curved edge and there shouldn’t be any puckers.
Now, I’ll just cut off the excess seam to avoid bulk when turning and then I’m just snipping the edges because it’s a curved edge. Next, I’ll press the seam towards the outer edge and do another round of understitching.
I’ll use the previous stitches as my seam guide.
Let’s turn this out and see what we have!
Wow! That’s just beautiful. What a perfect neckline finish. I just love how it turned out.
Now, I gotta fix that little zipper head poking out and the ends of the facing. I’ll first turn the zipper.
Now I’ll hand sew the facing to the seam and I’ll be all done with my gorgeous dress! Yeay!
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I’ll go and try my new dress!
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