Here you go, folks – the reason why I’ve been absent (well, completed-project-posts-wise) for like a week and a half:
I made the mistake of sewing a silk dress. Can you say WOOF? Because… woof. So much woof.
This is the Chantilly, by Colette Patterns. Secret time – I got this pattern as a birthday gift last year and this is the first time I’ve sewn up the dang thing. Honestly, I was a little put off by the amount of fabric needed (both fabric AND lining, mind you!), especially since this is the type of dress that really needs a floaty voile or silk to really work. As some of you may know, I was on a really really strict budget for almost all of last year, and my fabric buying options were *very* limited. So, hence, the reason this pattern sat for so long. Bc forreal – this is a gorgeous dress, and it needs to be made up a million times, y/y?
Of course you can’t see the detail too well, because it’s black – sorry! That’s probably a good thing, because I really hacked this one up and some of the construction is a little embarrassing. Silk is hard to sew, yo – and it didn’t help that I didn’t even bother to give a muslin a chance, which would have solved some of my fitting issues before I was dealing with a fabric that floated away every time I sneezed.
I sewed this up in a straight size 2, except the waist seam was sewn with a 3/4″ seam allowance instead of the standard 5/8″. This is version 1, without pockets. I actually started with version 2, put the neckline/shoulder yoke thing together… and realized that my silk was so sheer, you could see directly through it to the WHITE interfacing on the back of the lining. Of course, I didn’t notice this until after I’d already clipped, trimmed, graded and understitched the thing, UGH. I actually threw it in the corner of the sewing room (where the Bad pattern pieces go to sit in time-out until I can decide what to do with them) and finished the dress while I contemplated what to do. I didn’t have enough bow fabric to cut a second yoke, and the silk was so delicate, even the finest microtex needle left holes after unpicking. I ended up very very carefully unpicking all my stitching (srsly this took like an hour to do), cutting a new underlining with the seam allowances trimmed down to 1/4″ to match, and then putting everything back together.
Fortunately, my mistake was spotted before I dealt with the midriff – since it is also interfaced, we could have had 2 disastuhs on hand. But I remembered to underline it, so yay me! I also just want to take a moment here to brag about my new interfacing revelation – I found a digital steam press at the flea market last month (similar to this one, although my model is slightly older) for $30. Did you click that link and see how much those fuckers cost? (don’t worry, I don’t have affiliate linking or anything like that, ok!) YEAH BUDDY. I bought the shit outta that thing. AND IT IS AMAZING. You just put your fabric and interfacing on the board, close it, and thirty seconds later it is PERFECTLY fused, without you fussing over it with a hot iron. Plus, the board is much bigger than an iron, so it covers much more fusing ground at once. I am in love, and I shall never go back.
I should probably stop and talk about the fabric for a sec – this is the fancy bow print silk that I picked up from Fabrics for Less in NY. It’s Betsey Johnson! Actually, I don’t care much for her clothes – too much price for too much polyester, yeeck – but her fabric prints are always fun. And hey, since this is Betsey Johnson silk, does that mean I can now say I have a Betsey Johnson dress? Huh huh?
Real talk, tho – this fabric was a BITCH to sew. It was exactly like what sewing butterfly wings must be like – just really really hard to get under control. It was worth it in the end, but oh god I need a silk break. My lining is a plain black rayon from Mood – it’s not Bemberg, it’s much heavier than that. Honestly, I was a little disappointed at first because I wanted the floaty bemberg to go with the floaty silk, but having dealt with the silk… I’m glad the rayon I ended up with had more body. It was MUCH easier to sew, and it gives the skirt some foof. Yay!
Here’s another foofy skirt picture, because of reasons.
Isn’t the bow print delightful, though? Ah, I just love it! I was rushing to finish this dress because I plan to wear it for my friend Colleen‘s wedding on Saturday, so I’m glad that’s done!
I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I FINALLY finished this. Seriously, the agony of construction made me start to hate it toward the end. I seriously considered throwing the whole thing in The Corner and leaving it until I had my head back together, but I was too invested in the beautiful fabric. Which, by the way, going back to the yardage needed for this dress… I squeezed mine out of 3 yards of 45″ fabric. Check those layouts before you make a big silk splurge!
As a bonus – the skirt looks totally fabulous with my Chuck sweater, yeah?