This is the first time I made a silk dress for myself.
I found this gorgeous Italian silk on sale from Britex and couldn’t resist it. I prepared by reading tips on working with silk and bought silk pins and silk thread for basting. And I knew I had to cut each piece out individually–no folding the fabric and cutting two layers! I did wash it beforehand, and I’m really glad I did because then I wasn’t worried about getting water spots on it when I ironed it.
I decided on the Chloe dress from Victory Patterns, which I’ve used twice before. It does have 7 seams, but it fits really well. I duplicated the pattern pieces so I could place them all at once. I lined them up so that the patterns on the fabric would match as closely as possible. Just barely fit!
I first made the lining, out of bemberg, and thought I could make a short cut by using a serging stitch. But no, that looked terrible! The seams were so wrinkly.
So I took out all 7 seams and sewed them with a straight stitch and pinked the raw edges.
I was worried about the silk slipping when I cut out the pattern. I’ve heard of putting the silk between two sheets of tissue paper during cutting, but I didn’t think I would have enough control with that. So I just taped the pattern right on the fabric, all around each pattern piece! It was super easy to cut out!
Too bad I forgot a bit of tape here…
Oops! Oh well, the dress is not tight, so I made it a tiny bit narrower.
I basted the dress with the silk thread—by machine, of course! I was not about to baste 7 full length seams by hand! I redid the front seams several times to get rid of bubbling. Then I sewed with regular thread exactly on the basting thread. I set my machine to the slowest sewing speed to be as accurate as possible. It took me 40 minutes to sew those 7 seams!
I used the selvedge edges for the zipper, which worked very well. I had no problems putting in the invisible zipper. (Have I said how much I love invisible zippers?)
I had bought a ribbon for the bindings but it wasn’t the right color, so I made bias tape out of the scraps of left over silk to bind the neck and arm holes. I did hand sew the insides of the bindings.
Of course, it’s fully lined.
I put a bit of lace on the wrong side of the lining in case it peeks out from under the dress when I sit down.
The hardest part was the hem. I put the dress on my dress form and measured and pinned and pressed and measured and taped and pressed and measured, for days. I am still not sure the hem is straight. It sure looks longer in the back, but maybe it’s just the photo…
Now all I need is an occasion to wear it to!