Thursday, March 22, 2007

Building Bible Costumes ...Part One

(note: the pattern we most often use for Bible Costumes is McCall's 2339

Once the pockets are done (see The Inseam Pocket Tutorial for how to do the pockets), the next time-consuming part is the neckline. I actually prefer to finish the neckline with bias tape, but, since we're making a bundle of these, all from different colors, it's easier to just cut facings than to try and match bias tape to each one. If you've got bias tape, and you'd rather use that, be my guest. :)

First, stay stitch the neckline edges (1/2" from the raw edge) of the garment front and back, and the front and back facings.

Then, stitch the garment front to back at the shoulders and the facings front to back at the shoulders. Finish the edges; serge them together or, if you don't have a serger, zig-zag the seam allowances individually.

Finish the outside edge of the facing.

If you serged the seam allowances together, press the facing shoulder seams to the front and the garment shoulder seams to the back (this will reduce bulk in the neckline seam). If you zig-zagged the edges, just press the seams open.

Press the back seam allowance (5/8", not counting any fringe...most of these were cut with the back edge on the selvedge, so no finish is necessary on the back seam) to the front, then pin the facing over it (the back edge of the facing should end up even with the fold...but these were cut rather in a hurry, so don't worry if you've got to fudge it a bit), right sides together, and sew it with a 5/8" seam.

Trim the facing seams to 1/4" and clip as necessary.

Turn the facing to the wrong side of the garment and press...the back neckline corner is finished, too!

Topstitch the facing down at 3/8"" from the edge. TIP: You'll get fewer bias wrinkles if you follow the curve of the neckline as you're topstitching, rather than pulling the seam out straight in front of your presser foot.

Doesn't that look nice? The last thing we do is put the closure on...that'll come later.


  1. How do you do the bias tape finish when you can? I'm working on Bible costumes for our church's childrens' ministry, and my first two attempts with bias tape didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped and made the necklines and armscyes (for sleeveless ones) look a little more bulky. My last attempt involved clipping the seam allowance of the neckline and pressing it down, then stitching single fold bias tape over it to cover all raw edges. That ended up looking much better, but I'm wondering if there is a less fiddly way to do it. Might as well not reinvent the wheel when there are others to learn from!

  2. Hmmm....let me see if I can remember... ;-) Actually, I have a photo linked to the review - McCall's Bible Costume -- I may have the same thing posted somewhere on the blog around fall '05 but it was easier to find in the review. Basically, I just use the bias tape as a out the fold on one side, match the raw edge to the edge of the garment and stitch along the fold, then press it all to the back and topstitch. It is still fiddly, but if you do a lot of them it gets more familiar and seems to go easier. There really isn't a non-fiddly way to finish off the necklines...believe me, I've looked! ;-) Bible costumes get a lot of abuse; you really want them to be sturdy, particularly if they're being used in children's ministry! Next time I make some Bible Costumes w/bias (who knows when that might be...), I'll try to photograph the process... good blog material... :-D

  3., I wouldn't have it on the blog 'cause I actually did that review before I started the blog! *egg on face*

  4. ...oh, wait. The update was from 2006, so the neckline photo is Here. Wow. You'd think I'd know my own documentation...

  5. Cool! Thanks. I'll give that a try and see how it works in the next ones.