Marianne Sew-Along: Sewing the Shoulder Seams


Today in the Marianne Dress Sew-Along we are going to sew the shoulder seams! Things start to get real during this step, because this step involves something that might be new to many of you: clear elastic. Don't worry, I will talk you though it below and it's really not as hard as it seems. This step is for everyone, both View A and B, so let's get to it!


If you're using a conventional machine, set your zigzag stitch length to 2.0โ€“2.5 and stitch width to 1.0โ€“1.5. As always, test this on a scrap first, including all the layers about to be sewn. So for this step, that includes the front, back, collar (if includingโ€“which is two additional layers & interfacing), and clear elastic. All of that should be in your test to confirm that the stitch is set right. Trust me, pulling stitches out of knit is not fun and tends to leave holes behind, so make sure your stitch is right first!


Pin the shoulder seams together, with the fabric right sides facing. Line up the clear elastic in the seam so the stitch goes through the elastic. Note: be super careful not to pull the elastic while sewing. The fabric and elastic all need to go through the machine with ease and with no stretching. If it's stretched, the shoulder seam will pucker up and not look good. 


Stitch at the 3/8" seam allowance and trim the seam down in half. 


For a serger or overlock machine, pin the shoulders with right sides together. Place the fabric into the machine and then slide the elastic under the foot so it extends beyond the fabric. Grab the clear elastic with your left hand behind the fabric and stabilize as you begin to sew. Keep the right edge of the elastic flush with the fabric as it goes through the machine. Again, do not stretch the elastic or the fabric as it passes through. Give this a few practice runs with scraps until you feel comfortable.


Sew the shoulders at the 3/8" seam allowance and trim off the excess thread and elastic on the ends.


Since the shoulder seam is curved, place a pressing ham under the seam and press the seam allowance towards the back. Note: the clear elastic will melt to your iron, so keep it away from the heat!

That's it! See... that wasn't so hard, right? Tomorrow we will tackle the sleeves, so if you're making View B, or adding the sleeve onto View A, have them ready to go! And remember, if you need to reference these again later, you can see all the posts by clicking on the Marianne Dress Sew-Along tag at the bottom of this post, or on the toolbar on the side!