How to create a tie casing

Hello! I thought I’d share how I made the tie belt casing for the Mānuka dress which I posted last week!

The base dress pattern uses belt loops, but I decided to use a casing this time for a different look. I feel it controls the fullness of the dress in a slightly more structured way than the tie belt + button loops.

The best thing is that you can use this technique on so many other styles too!

Read on for the tutorial!

Step 1: Plan the casing!

I planned the casing after I’d sewed the dress up, but not hemmed it yet. 

First measure how long to make the casing. It should be long enough to go around the garment’s midriff. It doesn’t matter if it’s too long. I cut mine too long on purpose and then trimmed it in the later steps.

I chose to make my casing 2cm (3/4″) wide when finished. So, I cut my casing 4cm (1.5″) wide to account for turning the seam allowance under 1cm  (3/8″) on each side.


Note: a 2cm (3/4″) wide casing is a good width for the Mānuka dress tie belt as it is slightly bigger than the tie (1.3cm or 1/2″), which gives some wiggle room for it to move!

Cut the casing out on the straight grain of your fabric. This will make the casing stable and easy to sew.

Step 2: Mark your garment.

Find the centre front (CF) of the garment and mark it (I used chalk). This is easily done by folding it in half, matching the side seams. (Of course, if you’ve thought ahead, this would be great to mark as you cut out).

Here is the step where you decide how much blousing you want. I did this by trying the garment on, tieing elastic around my waist, and shrugging so that the dress lifted up, creating blousing. Then, I put pins in around the top of the elastic to mark where I wanted the casing to sit. I didn’t space them too closely, only about every 5-10cm (2-4″). Make sure you put pins at centre back, centre front, and at the side seams.

After I took the garment off, I marked this line with chalk and removed the pins. Note: I evened out the pins before marking with chalk, by making sure the side seam pins were the same measurement down from the armpit, and eyeballing the rest! Average out the pin line into a gentle curve.

Step 3: Fold the casing and sew

Turn under the short edge of the casing by 2cm (3/4″). Then turn the long edge under by 1cm (3/8″). You can press these into place if you want, but I just put it straight under the machine and folded the edge under as I went.

Place the casing 2cm (3/4″) from CF.

Stitch close to the edge along the top of the casing to secure it, placing the top edge of the casing along the chalk line you have marked.

Sewing it to the garment is the trickiest step. Take your time and try to make sure you don’t accidentally sew through more than one layer as you go!

Since I cut my casing too long on purpose, I just sewed until I was almost all the way around to the other side of CF, and trimmed it off so it was the perfect length to fold under that short edge!

Turning under the 2cm (3/4″) hem at each side of CF creates a nice gap for your tie belt to emerge from.

The next step is to fold under the bottom edge of the tie belt:

Repeat the same technique as the top part, this time on the lower edge.

Note: Since it is concealed inside the casing, I cut my tie belt piece in half and sewed an approximately 25cm (10″) length of elastic in the middle. This helps gather up the garment better than just having the tie belt, as well as making it comfortable when you pull it snug.

Step 3: Thread the tie belt through.

I fastened a safety pin to the end of my tie belt and pulled it through the casing. All done!

Note: The tie belt is part of the Mānuka pattern, so the pattern piece and instructions come with the pattern.

This is the way I did it last time I made it, but now that I have the casing all stitched on, I can just measure where the casing is placed and transfer it to my flat pattern for next time. Things are always easier when you can mark them from the start!

So this is my first time trying out this style of tutorial. Let me know what you guys think of the illustrations and if you have any questions. And also let me know your favourite style of tutorial! 🙂

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