Friday, July 3, 2009

More Solutions for Plunging Necklines

How to Make Your Own Dickey or Chemisette
Part 3 in the Series: Solutions for Plunging Necklines

If you really like the dickey idea but want to dispense with the lace, you could sew a selection for yourself, choosing fabric and furbelows that match your garment. I made several broderie anglaise dickeys, all of them in white because that went with everything and looked dainty and feminine. This was my first effort (below). Later models were lined (adding a layer of plain white cotton, sometimes with interfacing between the two).

A velcro tab is stitched to the top edges of the dickey. The tabs wrap around your bra or camisole straps allowing the dickey to sit securely between them all day.

The one complication to this can be that the distance between underwear straps is not consistent from one garment to another. For instance, your bra straps may sit an inch further toward your shoulder than your chemise straps. If you have to choose, bra straps are usually sturdier for fastening dickeys to. I recommend when you make your dickey that you measure the average width between your straps and make the dickey to fit that. Longer velcro tabs will also allow for greater adaptability.


The one complication to this can be that the distance between underwear straps is not consistent from one garment to another. For instance, your bra straps may sit an inch further toward your shoulder than your chemise straps. If you have to choose, bra straps are usually sturdier for fastening dickeys to. I recommend when you make your dickey that you measure the average width between your straps and make the dickey to fit that. Longer velcro tabs will also allow for greater adaptability.
Here's a polyester dress I found at SaveMart for a couple of dollars. The neckline was too low, so I found a white cotton t-shirt to wear under it, but in the middle of summer, that many layers was uncomfortable. That's when the dickey was perfect, preserving modesty without perspiration.

Note that these photographs are taken on a dark model, so facings are more visible than they would be when I wear the dress. I wear a white cotton chemise under the dress, but I couldn't convince the model to squeeze into that for the photo shoot.

Directions to Make Dickey:
  1. Draw a paper pattern of the shape you need to fill the gaping neckline. Add extra width and depth to allow for the garment shifting when you move, plus seam allowance -- a narrow hem is good for the sides (my example used 8mm), but I recommend a 15mm or wider hem for the top edge so it looks like a shirt seam and not underwear-ish.
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and check that both halves are the same. Leave it folded.
  3. Fold your fabric in half, and set the fold of the paper against the fold in the fabric. If you're using a patterned fabric, make sure the design is centred on the fold. Pin and cut.
  4. Add iron-on interfacing or pin an underlayer to your main fabric.
  5. Fold the side edges under, press, and hem. (If you have two layers, you may need to stitch them together first.)
  6. Cut velcro tabs. I've used 4cm for the fluffy-side folding tab (+ seam allowance), and 2.6cm for the prickly-side tab holder.
  7. With the fluffy side facing the wrong side of the fabric, pin the tab 15mm below the top edge of the dickey. Fold the top edge down to form a 10mm hem, raw edge tucked under the velcro. Press.
  8. Stitch along upper edge of dickey.
  9. Place prickly-side velcro holders level with the tabs, on right side (outside) of fabric. Stitch.

Coming soon: FURTHER SOLUTIONS for plunging necklines.

Please pardon the delay in posting the last two week's posts. Blogger's auto scheduler seems to be asleep.

3 comments:

RJ said...

I Love Mine, I ordered mine, I have brown,black,cream,and white, I had set of 2 each color but gave one set away :)

Blessings, Renee

RJ said...

Hope you dont mind, I liked this tutorial to make these back to you :)

Blessings,Renee

Narelle Worboys said...

I'm delighted you've found this post helpful in meeting your needs, Renee, and appreciate you taking the time to say so. Best wishes from Narelle =)

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