Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Making a Fold-Back Dress Detail

Hi all! As promised, here are some details on how I did the back detail on my "Home Sewing Is Easy" dress.

Basically, it's a large facing in a contrast fabric. Here's the back facing:

Notice how wide it is and how it extends all the way to the sleeve.

Here's the front facing:

It looks more like a normal facing, but it also extends all the way to the sleeve.

(Note: another way to do this is to line your whole bodice in your contrast fabric, but that may get too bulky, depending on the fabric you're using. If you wish to both line and have a contrast facing, you could stitch the facing to the lining.)

To make the pattern, start with your bodice back. Here's a simple bodice back in half scale.

If we folded it back at the shoulder, it would look like this:

This is a fairly small turn-back detail, because we're working with a jewel neckline. With a wider neckline (like the one on my comic print dress), you can fold back more.

Crease the pattern and mark your fold line.

Make a mark for the top of the zipper at the bottom of the fold line.

Next, draft the facing. It should start 2" below the top of your zipper and extend all the way to the shoulder.

Draw it in with a curved ruler.

Trace the facing area (the area in pink below).

I'm just pretending we don't have a dart, ok? If you do, fold it out of your facing pattern.

Make a new facing for the bodice front that is 2" wide at center front and extends to the shoulder.

To sew:

1. Cut the facings out in your contrast fabric and apply a lightweight interfacing.

2. Stitch the facings together at the shoulder seams. Press seams open. Finish the outer edge of the facing.

3. Insert the zipper in your dress back so that the stop ends at your zipper mark.

4. Pin the facing unit to the ourside of the dress, right sides together. Stitch around the neckline, ending at the back, where the zipper starts.

5. Trim and grade seam allowances on the neckline, clip corners, then understitch the facing. Turn the facing unit to the inside and make sure the back corners are turned out neatly.

6. Turn the facing unit to the outside along the fold line. You will need to clip the seam allowance at the zipper stop so the facing can flip out. Press lightly along the fold line.

7. Slipstitch the back facing to the zipper tape.

8. On the outside, place two buttons near the corners of the fold back facing. Stitch in place, through all layers. This will hold the fold back detail in place.

9. On the inside of the dress, tack the facing in place at the shoulder seam, to the sleeve seam allowance.

Make sense? I hope so. This is the simplest kind of fold back detail you can do. You could also make a shaped fold back, with a scalloped edge for instance. Lots of possibilities! I'll do another post on that when I get back from our little Thanksgiving trip. Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Cool! Thanks for posting on this and giving us a "how-to". I'm going to pin it so I can remember it for later. I love how your dress turned out (and can I just say, again, that I love your hair? It's so awesome!).

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  3. The dress turned out beautifully! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorials - I am thinking of giving it a try :-)

  4. OMG I love your hair! And the dress :D

  5. I love this detail - and you've explained so clearly how to do it. It seems really simple. Thanks!

  6. Thanks so much. What a clever way to amp up a dress.

  7. Another example of your practical advice which I find excellent.
    But at my age, can't imagine using it - still it's good to know!

  8. Thanks for sharing! You're the best!!

  9. You have a lovely eye for design, and the dress detail is perfect. Thank you for the tutorial!

  10. Unique, thanks for giving me an idea, indeed the printed comic makes the whole thing stands out plus the fold back style, yes it may be the simplest kind of fold back detail but yet its simplicity makes it stands out.

  11. This is such an adorable feature! It shows "just enough" back. I love it!

  12. Holy crap! I Must Make a Dress with a Fold Back Collar! I've been obsessively looking at vintage dress ideas lately, and this one has just moved to the top of my sizeable queue...

  13. What an easy and impressive modification and it stands out so well on the fabric you used. Will definitely be using this tip.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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