Hurrah! Hurrah! I'm finally posting the long-awaited keyhole tutorial!
Every time I wanted to photograph the making of a keyhole on a dress I was sewing, I ended up doing something differently or being in too much of a hurry to be able to do so. But my current sewing project (a gorgeous striped 1940s dress) ended up being the perfect opportunity to photograph my keyhole-making method.
You will need the back bodice piece of what you're sewing and a back facing piece to match. Interface the back facing piece and finish the bottom edge.
You'll also need a bias-cut loop piece measuring 1" x 1 3/4".
Sew the loop with right sides together, stretching it as you sew and keeping the folded edge even with the edge of your presser foot. You may want to backstitch just a couple of stitches as you start so you have a secure thread tail to pull later.
Once the loop is sewn together, use a big-eye needle to pull the starting-end thread tails through the loop and turn it. Press the loop piece and shape it into a loop.
Mark the center line of your back facing piece on the interfaced (wrong) side. Mark how long you want your keyhole to be (mine is 4 1/2" long) and make a dot on either side of your center line at the bottom end, almost 1/8" away on each side.
On the neck edge, mark a little line to note where your seam allowance is. Mine is 3/8", but be sure to read your pattern to see what yours should be. Make a dot 1/4" away from the center line on each side, even with your seam allowance. This is where you will pivot when you sew the keyhole.
Now, using a ruler, connect the dots!
The next step is to baste the loop onto your back bodice piece (see note below), having the raw edges even with the center line, and making sure the top edge of the loop is close to but not over the seam allowance. The picture above illustrates where your loop is.
Note: As I was sewing my keyhole, I kept getting the feeling that I was forgetting something. I was. I completely forgot to baste my loop onto my back bodice before sewing the keyhole together! Fortunately, it doesn't require much unpicking when you do that, so I was able to fix it quite easily. However, it's always best to do things the right way, so...don't do what I did! ;)
Next, pin your facing onto the bodice and start sewing!
When you reach the first dot at the top of the keyhole, pivot and start down your marked line.
When you get to the bottom, pivot on the dot again and change your stitch length down to about 2 (smaller than you have been sewing). Stitch to the other dot, pivot, and change your stitch length back up to where it was. Continue sewing up the keyhole in the same manner.
Hurrah! You're nearly there!
Next, snip down the center line marking to the end stitches, snipping very close to but not through them. Make a tiny diagonal cut towards the corner (like you'd do on a bound buttonhole) on each side.
Notch the curves of the neck edge and clip the corners of the keyhole edge as shown.
Fraycheck the bottom end of the keyhole, putting a goodly amount on but not so much that it runs beyond your stitching lines. Allow to dry.
Turn the facing to the inside, press, and you're done!!
I'm so glad to finally have this tutorial done; I apologize for taking so long to get to it! This seems to be one of the busiest times of the year around here (hence the missed post on Monday), but it's starting to be a little less hectic, thankfully. I'll be back on Monday!