Creative finishing armholes/neckline: Brasilia Dress


Thanks to Diane, some time ago I knew that Rachel (@ House of Pinheiro) was giving away her Brasilia Dress pattern to be (eventually) graded and tested. I remember seeing  the photo she was inspired from, while I was collecting Pins about The Sixties for one of our Stitch Once, Rip Twice Sewing Challenges.

When I’ve seen she drew the pattern (and we have roughly the same body measurements) I was really pleased to sew it!

The part I love about sewing someone else pattern, is to let my personality peak out, while trying not to change too much the pattern. Well, this time, I feel like my personal goal is achieved (pat pat on my shoulder): check my creative way to

finish armholes and neckline!


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I’ve started with using a solid black fabric (in my mind, this was supposed to be my new LBD) but I was hoping to have a not-that-plain final result , so I started topstitching in red all the vertical lines (not the horizontal ones, that would end making me look like a whale), then I took the arrow-shaped side detail and topstitched parallel lines every 1/4” (aka the machine feet width).

Now the detail was showing his best! Rachel suggest to add a piping detail, instead, to make details pop!


Last, but not least, I decided to change the finishing of armholes and neckline: Rachel talked about the possibility of adding an all-in-one facing, while she used a bias binding.

I felt too lazy to create my bias and too out-of-money to go out and buy some, so I made some “shopping” on my Sewing Room’s Old Clothes Stash and I’ve found an old LilPotato’s red T-shirt that perfectly matched the red thread I used for the topstitching. I cut strips 2 cm height, large as the shirt, fold in half along the length and pressed well.

Serger-Pepper-Brasilia-Dress-testing-armholes-neckline-cut strips

I’ve paired the original side seam of the t-shirt (or the middle point of the strip) with the shoulder seam and pinned the strip along the armhole; marked the underarm seam on the strip and cut, leaving 1/4” of seam allowance.


I’ve sewn Right Sides Facing, then I pressed seam open, folded and pinned the rest of the cuff.


Then I serged these tiny cuffs to armholes and neckline, ending with a small red border all along.


Lastly, I topstitched in black and pressed well.


Then I’ve repeated the same steps on the neckline, starting from the center front.


I’m really in love with this kind of details… simple but fun. What do you think about it?


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About the Author:

Hi there! I love sewing, creating my own patterns and refashioning pre-loved clothes... If you love the same things, why not be friends? See you on Pinterest


  1. cucicucicoo November 18, 2013 at 10:28 - Reply

    Irene! Excellent tutorial and I just LOVE how you accented the pattern’s shape with the red topstitching! I think this may be my favorite project of yours yet! (And zang, woman, you look *hot*!) 🙂 Lisa

    • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 12:14 - Reply

      Thanks Lisa for your sweet words <3
      I hate that now here it’s SO cold and I can’t wear it outside… it’s one of my fav by now too!!!

      • cucicucicoo November 18, 2013 at 12:25 - Reply

        I was thinking that, that you must’ve been freezing during the photo shoot! Well, you could always wear it with a cardigan on top, although I guess that would hide most of the lovely details. Spring and summer will come soon enough… or at least I hope so!

        • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 20:15 - Reply

          Yes… I had a stomach ache, then… but a real PRO has to endure the pain stoically LOL

  2. HouseOFpinheiro (@HouseOFpinheiro) November 18, 2013 at 13:30 - Reply

    you Look so amazing. I love what you done to make the pattern your own x

    • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 20:13 - Reply

      Thanks Rachel! I think that You designed a great pattern to work with!!!

  3. Emma November 18, 2013 at 13:35 - Reply

    Love it. My first thought about the cold was wear it with a cardigan and thick tights but I agree with cucicucicoo – it would be criminal to hide all that detail. Save it for the summer and just really enjoy it once the sunshine hits.

    • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 20:12 - Reply

      Thank you Emma <3
      I was thinking about wearing with one of my black turtleneck under the dress, but here the temperature is about 5°C all day, now, and it’s getting colder and colder everyday… I think I would freeze… I’ll put it in the closet, waiting for the spring/summer: it will be a hit for sure!!!

  4. Rosey November 18, 2013 at 14:07 - Reply

    I think it’s gorgeous, I love all of the details, and I love that they’re in red. And I agree with the comments above, you look fantastic in the dress!! Really great work with this one!!!

    Thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync.

    • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 20:09 - Reply

      thanks Rosey!
      The fun thing is that the contrasting topstitch came out of a low-light (now fixed) problem on my Low-Budget New sewing room… I was unable to topstitch black in black 😉

  5. Amy Mayen November 18, 2013 at 18:26 - Reply

    I don’t know what I like more; your dress, or watching you get more comfortable in front of the camera!! These are some fabulous photos!!

    • Mamma Nene November 18, 2013 at 20:07 - Reply

      You are SO sweet, Amy! I really find hard to stand in front of the camera… but we’re trying to manage it 🙂
      The hardest part is the 10 seconds timer, the tripod and all this fun nonsense hehehehe
      But hear that you like it makes me stronger – smack <3

  6. velosewer November 19, 2013 at 00:16 - Reply

    This is such a comfortable dress. I love your version.

    • Mamma Nene November 19, 2013 at 08:14 - Reply

      Thank you so much for liking my version, yours is lovely too 🙂

  7. Rachel November 19, 2013 at 01:53 - Reply

    Way to make it your own. It looks fabulous!

    • Mamma Nene November 19, 2013 at 08:15 - Reply

      Tx Rachel, I think it’s a good dress to work with!
      I loved the side detail and I think that now is more noticeable 🙂

  8. vintagezest November 19, 2013 at 10:43 - Reply

    I adore the topstitching on the side panels. Beautiful!

  9. Jenya November 19, 2013 at 11:50 - Reply

    Gorgeous! The dress look absolutely stunning! That stitching – oh yeah!

  10. elisa masi November 20, 2013 at 09:07 - Reply

    Real good job!! Ire !! You are so sexy in these pics ! Very lovely! Kisses

  11. Agatha Lee (Aka Agy) November 20, 2013 at 16:08 - Reply

    The red top stitching is a great idea, and it enhances the whole look of the dress. Well done !

    • Mamma Nene November 21, 2013 at 10:29 - Reply

      Thanks Agy Lee <3
      I’m so happy I decided to do this, in total black it was a detail that was going to be lost….And it was such a pity!

  12. Parnuuna November 20, 2013 at 20:59 - Reply

    Really cool dress, you’ve made. And great details! I wonder where you find the time to sew all the stuff you get to sew, you superwoman, you! 😉

    • Mamma Nene November 21, 2013 at 10:43 - Reply

      Well, if you could see my dishes to-be-washed, my to-be-ironed pile of clothes and so on, you could easily guess where I find it LOL
      Seriously: I have two afternoons a week where I finish to work at 2 and send my LilPotato alternatively to the grannies… and I squeeze here all of my sewing/drawing time… and by night I can always edit pics, write posts and be social…and I wait for sunny days to take pics!
      Are you going to release your new pattern soon, Parnuuna?

  13. Pam @Threading My Way November 23, 2013 at 12:47 - Reply

    You look GREAT, Irene!!! This dress really suits you. I love how you’ve done the red stitching and added the red to the armholes and neckline. Great idea to use the old t-shirt.

    • Mamma Nene November 23, 2013 at 15:20 - Reply

      Thank you Pam! I’m in love with it, really! I’m so happy you like my added (and frugal!) details 🙂

  14. Julie November 25, 2013 at 10:48 - Reply

    I love the red stitching (sorry most of these comments are just saying the same thing!) and you are working it in those photos – love it. I just stand like a lump and then crop my head off so people can’t see my weird “have you taken it yet” expression!

    • Mamma Nene November 25, 2013 at 11:05 - Reply

      Hi Julie! I appreciate your words, no matter if someone else told the same! You can’t even imagine how much shoot did I take (in two different moments) to have some usable photo! And how many times go forth and back to my point and shoot with a 10 sec timer… aaargh! If only Santa could take me a DSLR with a remote…. 🙂

  15. julie November 25, 2013 at 18:09 - Reply

    Definitely bookmarking this for future reference & idea! Great information!

    • Mamma Nene November 25, 2013 at 23:03 - Reply

      Thank you Julie! Sometimes (ehm, in fact more always than sometimes!) we have to use what we have in hand 😉

  16. Theresa November 26, 2013 at 03:40 - Reply

    I absolutely love that pop of red! Great job.

    • Mamma Nene November 27, 2013 at 10:25 - Reply

      Thanks Theresa <3
      Total black can be boring, a splash of color is my fav combo with it 🙂

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