Adding an Inset to a Bodice

I have a simple tutorial for you. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. Seriously, you’ll just be adding two more seams than usual to make this look. You can do a sheer overlay or a solid color. If you have a bodice pattern, you can make this look.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I LOVE to take patterns and change them around a bit to get a look that’s different from the original. It’s easier than you might think. Today, I’ll show you how to make a sheer inset and overlay on any bodice you already have. You just need a scrap of sheer fabric, so you can raid your stash. It would be fun to make this with a contrasting panel too.

Have your favorite bodice? Good, we can start! We’re going to draw a line down it and cut it so you might want to use a copy. Here we go!

I like to use my drafting ruler here. I LOVE this thing. You’ve probably seen me bust it out before. If you plan to do a lot of pattern modification, you’ll probably want to get one but don’t be discouraged if you don’t have one in your artillery yet. You can just eyeball this curve. Really, you can. It’s not going to change the fit of your top at all – it’s all aesthetic. Just draw a curved line from the shoulder down pattern until the like the look of it. You can see where I did mine.

Now, cut it apart along the line you drew. Take your two new pieces and trace them out on another piece of paper. Add seam allowance along the lines you cut.

Okay, easy as pie! Now, go cut out your pieces. You’ll want to cut the piece that says “fold” along the fold as it states (Cut one in the main fabric and one in your sheer fabric. I’ve used a black lace). You’ll cut two of the other piece (main fabric) making sure you cut a mirror image.

Here’s how I laid my pattern pieces out. I already cut out my lace piece and I set it there to show you what it looks like cut out.

Lay your sheer piece over it’s matching main fabric piece like so. You’ll want to baste these two together. Really, you do. It will save you tons of headache later. Believe me.

Now, take your side piece and pin it to your center piece, right sides together. It’s not going to look like it will match, but keep pinning and it will come into place. I use a LOT of pins. (You can see my basting stitches!). Keep on pinning and then go sew. Repeat for the other side.

Now, go iron the snot out of this thing. Iron it until it cries. I pressed my seams toward the sides. The curves seem to fall best that way. A hot iron is your friend here. Don’t skip this step or these curves won’t play nicely when it’s being worn. I know. Don’t ask.

Now, you have a bodice front piece that matches the original pattern piece. You sew with this just like you would if you’d cut the original pattern piece out. Follow the directions in your pattern to construct the rest of your top or dress.

I used the hanami pattern which calls for a lining. If you have to cut a lining, you don’t need to make a panel on the lining as well. Just cut out the original bodice pattern piece (If you’ve cut it, just tape it back together).

To complete my look I sewed on an exposed zipper and lined my sleeves with the same lace I used for the inset. Everything was sewn according to my pattern’s directions, I just took the time to change up the look of the bodice a little bit.

This is a fun technique to add a little bit of color blocking to existing patterns too. Just sew in a contrasting color in regular cotton instead of a layered sheer fabric. The combinations are endless!

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