I am not sure what gave me this particular idea for a hack. I feel like maybe I saw a similar RTW item on Pinterest or via and IG ad? Whatever it was, I am so glad it entered into my brain, because this was such a fun and simple hack to work out, lending me a beautiful dress!
For this hack, I will be using my Amelie Dress pattern in the bra-less back option. There are a few tweaks I had to make in order to fit my pattern onto the fabric I had in mind since it was a direction print. I will be focusing exclusively on the top of the dress, where the scalloped neckline is, but I thought it was worth mentioning the small changes I made in case you want to do something similar!
- For starters, I omitted the button placket down the Center Back. Instead, I added a zip. This was 100% because I just didn't have enough fabric to add the back placket.
- I also made the skirt extension pieces from another fabric entirely. It is a hot pink gauze that is SUPER breezy! This was also because I had no more fabric left to play with, but that's ok because I really enjoy the added breeze I get when wearing this dress! And the sheerness is a fun feature :).
- The entire inner waistband has been cut with lining fabric instead of the main fabric.
- I finally got the fit JUST right on the top of my dress! I graded from a C at the shoulders to a B under the arms back to a C at the waist and there is no more gaping like in my other samples! Yay to my interestingly shaped torso and DOUBLE YAY to me finally figuring out how to fit it!
Awesome! Now that we have those little bits all sorted, are you ready to see how I achieved this simple hack?
Let's Get Started!
For this hack, all you will need is a traced off copy of your Amelie Bodice (with plenty of space surrounding it on the page), a ruler, some tape, a pencil, and the lid to a jar (or a drinking glass). The size of the lid depends on how dramatic you would like your scallops to be!
The first thing you will want to decide is whether you want to change up your front neckline. Personally, I feel the original Amelie neckline would be a tad too high if you added scallops directly to it. It currently cuts right at the top of the collar bone, so adding a scalloped edge would only make that neckline even higher. This is why I opted to lower my own neckline into a V-neck. I thought it would give me a little more breathing room and add another layer of interest to the front of the dress.
Next, we will need to tape our front and back pattern pieces together. The reason for this is because once we start adding scallops, we will want them to transition really easily in to one another, especially at the shoulder seam.
Draw out the seam allowances along your shoulder seams.
Overlap your seams at the "sewing" line, and tape them together. You will want to have folded back the edge of one seam and placed it directly over the other before taping them together.
Now we can work on drawing out those scalloped edges! Take your lid and place it on the current cutting line of your Amelie pattern. I suggest starting at the center front of your garment as this is where the most symmetry is required for your scallops.
You may want to finagle your lid a bit at this point. There are two important things to remember before you begin marking your scalloped edge, though:
- This edge will already have seam allowance included in it, so opt for making your scallops slightly larger, unless you wish to go back and add additional seam allowance at the end. I chose to be a tad lazy (because adding seam allowances to curves is my least favorite thing to do!) and simply made my scalloped curves slightly larger than I thought I needed;
- You shouldn't trace more than half of your lid. The reason being that the curve of the lid begins to go back inwards, which would leave an odd scallop shape, almost floppy. If you find your lid isn't giving you are large enough curve, try finding a larger lid to play with!
Once I got my scallops to a point where I was happy, I marked the edges of my lid so that I would have the perfect shape each and every time.
You may find that when you get to the back of your Amelie (depending on which back option you are working with) that things start to look a bit funky or odd. That's ok! Because we are putting curves onto a straight line that then intersects with another straight line, things are bound to look a bit funny.
At this point in time, you can freehand the curve that goes around the back point. I found this to be the easiest and most attractive option -- rather than using the lid for the curve -- as I had more control and could change things up as I saw fit. Plus, this curve doesn't need to be a perfect scallop since it serves as an overlapping point for our buttons.
Continue your scallops until you hit the bottom of your bodice edge.
If your final scallop goes a bit lower than the back bodice, simply extend the bottom edge out until it meets part of the scalloped edge.
Once you have finished adding your scallops onto your bodice, it is time to remove the front from the back piece and get to sewing!
This is probably the part I had the hardest time with because my scallops were really uneven right at the shoulder point -- I should note that this was the case for my actual sewn sample, not for my photographed steps. Of course when I photographed these steps, everything came out better than the first attempt!
What I wound up doing was turning my entire traced pattern page over, folding back the other, unfolded seam allowance of the shoulder seam, then cutting around my scalloped edges.
Only after my neckline had been fully cut out did I remove my tape and flatted out my seam allowances again. This revealed the proper cutting line for me!
Before moving on to cutting out our final fabric, we will want to draft a new interfacing piece for our back neckline (and quite possibly the front if you opted to create any sort of V-shape).
Working with your new pattern pieces, take another sheet of tracing paper and trace around your back neckline edge as well as 2 - 3" (5 - 7,5 cm) along the shoulder seam and waist seam.
Then, draw a straight line down from your shoulder seam to waist seam, connecting the two end points.
Draw in your new grain line. You will want to have your grain line following the steepest angle of your back opening. *Note* For the bra-friendly Amelie, you may want to create two separate interfacing pieces since both angles are rather steep and could be prone to stretching out over time.
Awesome! We are now ready to cut out our fabric + interfacing just as we normally would and get to sewing!
If you plan to use sew in interfacing (as I have) you will need to follow the additional steps of:
- Finishing the outer edge of your interfaced pieces (I chose to use pinking shears for the smoothest finish), and
- Attaching the entire interfacing piece to your garment lining. That way, none of the stitching shows through on the main fabric.
Next, you will begin to sew your bodice just as you would normally. Once you reach the point where you are about to sew your bodice face to your bodice lining, meet me back here. But... be sure to grab a snack and take a mini-break before doing so. I know how many steps (and darts!) you will have tackled before reaching this point, and you deserve a break to recharge! :)
Alright, we are moving on to the final steps of this hack and then I can leave you to finish up your dress as you normally would!
We are now to the point where we are attaching the lining to the fabric face. At this point, you will begin sewing each and every little scallop. You can switch up your seam allowance and opt for a smaller one of 1/4" - 3/8" (0,5 - 1 cm) if you wish to keep your scallops large and bold, or stick to the 1/2" (1,3 cm) seam allowance for a subtler edge.
I find it really helpful to mark the pivoting point at each scallop as well (where two scallops are set to meet). This makes it really easy identify your stopping point and not accidentally overshoot/ undershoot it.
Take this part really slow. There is no need to rush through it, especially if you want beautifully smooth scallops. Enjoy the moment, watching your machine slowly tackle each curve, pivot, then tackle the next.
Once you have made your way through all of your scallops, it is time to trim and clip your seams! This is probably the most time intensive part of this entire hack, but it can be really soothing.
First, clip the curves of each scallop, making sure you don't clip through your seam.
Then, trim your seam allowance to a scant 1/4" (0,5 cm), unless you sewed with that small of a seam allowance.
Finally, flip your bodice right side out and poke out each scallop using the soft end of a chopstick, point turner, or even butter knife! Try to bring out that curve gently and evenly (but no worries if every scallop isn't perfect - I know mine aren't all smooth!)
Give your neckline a press, then stand back and admire your work! YOU DID IT! Feel free to celebrate a little for all the hard work you just did before moving on to finishing the rest of your dress.
How fun was that little hack? I hope you enjoyed it and enjoy your final dress as well! I would totally understand if you felt the urge to spin around your house all day in your new dress. I know that's what I did!
I would LOVE to see your own versions of this hack if you decide to try it out! Feel free to tag your Amelie hacks on IG with #UTAmelieHack ! Bonne Couture !