Sewing Notes - Advance 9427


Hey there folks, from time to time I'll be doing an extra post on a pattern called Sewing Notes. It's going to be a general catch all for things I find interesting, but aren't essential to the review blog post. That way the reviews don't get monstrously big and the segment can be easy skipped if it's not your cup of tea.

Now that you know what this is all about, let's talk about the scalloped neckline on Advance 9427.
After you sew for awhile you start to make assumptions about how patterns are going to be drafted/garments are going to be sewn. There might be several ways to do that same thing, but the possibilities are not endless. You try a few techniques and settle for one that works for you.
Since I'm a fan of scalloped necklines, I do have a favorite sewing technique for making them. My method is to take the facing and mark all the scallop valleys so there there is a clear pivot. Then I can easily sew them using the throat plate guide as long as I use a short stitch and take it slow.

I wasn't expecting to have to change this process when purchasing Advance 9427. Surely the pattern would be drafted the same as the other's in my stash, with scallops on both the bodice and facing pieces. Nope! This dress had a little surprise for me waiting for me.
On this pattern the scallops only appear on the neckline facings, where as the bodice pieces have a smooth edge. The seamstress is supposed to match the CF/CB circles and the shoulder notches to sew the two pieces together. I have to admit that the  first time I pulled this pattern out of the envelope and unfolded a bodice piece there was a moment of panic. "Where the heck are my scallops at Advance? You dirty tricksters baited and switched me!!"  Then my brain clucked into gear and remembered to check the facing patterns before losing all my shit. Lesson learned, don't try to start new projects late at night.

I've spent some time hypothesizing over why Advance chose to do it this way.  Did it make it easier to grade the pattern or did they think it was easier for home sewers to use?   It does give you the option of an alternate neckline if you're savvy enough to draft another set of facings. (I'm tempted to do this.)

In the interest of trying something new, I decided to sew the neckline the way the designer intended ....well kind of.
Since it was the 50's the instructions told me to cut the facing piece out of sewn in interfacing and attach it to the bodice. I went the modern route and attached fusible interfacing to the facing.

Next the CF/CB seams and shoulder seams are sewn on both the bodice and facing pieces. After those seams are pressed, the facing edge is supposed to be finished with a stitch and turn. I when the modern route here too and overlocked the edges. With all those things sorted, it was time to match the two pieces face to face and sew the scallops.
On the good side I didn't need to worry about matching curves between the pieces. On the bad side I couldn't use the throat plate guide to sew the seam. I used a purple disappearing marker to draw in the stitch line on the facings. This made the process easy other than getting the CF/CB joins nice and neat.
Once the scallops are sewn the directions instruct you to trim the bodice neckline to match the facing. Then you're to clip the scallop valley of each scallop and press the neckline  Let me submit that trimming and clipping are a good start, but if you want really nice scallops then you need to do some seam grading.
I went back and graded the fused facing side down to 3/16" and the bodice edge down to 3/8."  (You'd want to have a bigger seam allowance if the fabric is prone to fraying. Cotton sateen you can cut pretty close.)
Now that the seam allowances were trim, I moved to the ironing board with my point turner. I like to run the turner along the top of the scallop to make sure it's fully pushed out.
With all the work done, now it was time to press the neckline!  (I'm in the silk organza press cloths fan club.)
Ta Da! Perfectly pressed scallops.  I think Mary Poppins would approve.


  1. I really enjoyed this post! Lots I hadn't thought about. Looking forward to reading more like it! :)

  2. I agree about the seam grading. It seems to be an instruction often omitted from patterns. I also like to understitch the facing, but I guess that would be pretty much impossible to do with the scallops.

    PS...I don't think I noticed the sweet birds! So cute!

  3. Thanks for the notes - they'll be very helpful!

  4. Heather, I really like this way of doing scallops, it makes sense and if its a bit easier - woo hoo! Thanks for this. I must give it a try.

  5. Great information here! Thanks Heather.

  6. Great notes Heather! I think I'm going to like these posts as it's fun to learn how people do things.

  7. I'm glad that you enjoyed it Gillian. That means I'm not that only one entertained by junk like this. :)

  8. I wonder if seam grading is considered "advanced" or if it limits being able to alter the garment later. I certainly would grade a seam if I didn't already know it was going to fit thanks to my muslining process. Hmmm more things to think about.

    P.S. - I'm 100% on board with you about under-stitching the facings. It always feels weird if you can't do that because of the neckline shape. :)

  9. Thanks Gaylen, I'm glad you've found them helpful. :)

  10. Awesome Lesley. I hope your next scallop project is a little bit easier to sew.

  11. Thanks Susan! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about it.

  12. Thanks Heather. I like seeing peoples techniques too. It's fun to see out people think through their sewing. :)

  13. This is definitely not how I expected it to be done, even though I think I have several patterns (and maybe this exact one) that I could look through to see if it's common or not before listing them on Etsy...

    Also, I like this idea of keeping the construction notes separate for brevity. I'm a wordy wench, so maybe it'd help to split things up. ;-)

  14. Doh, how did I miss replying to your comment. Don the ribbons of shame!!
    Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who though this method of sewing scallopes was a little different. Sometimes you don't know if it's just your sewing experiance that is to blame. :)


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