Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sewing With Reckless Abandon

I'm being foolhardy. I've been invited to a swanky do next Saturday and I intend to make my dress. My usual rule is that I never sew on a deadline, especially for a black tie benefit (for heart disease, I think) but I have decided to live life on the edge. Which means I didn't have much time to dither about my fabric, so I went to Couture Fabrics, the most expensive fabric shop we have in town on Thursday during my lunch hour. I sort of had in my mind to wear sapphire blue dupioni silk, but there was none to be had. They had red, they had black, but I had my heart set on blue. And the dupioni. It's easy to work with, even though it won't ease at all and I have experience with it. I nearly gave up, but just as I was walking out the door, I saw this silk jacquard: It is clearly a lighter color than I had wanted, and it is more of a springy fabric, but it had a nice hand to it. Here is a close up:
Really lovely stuff. Normally I would have thought about it for three weeks while I checked the internet for all other available options, but I didn't have the luxury of time. I put it on the cutting table and only slightly blanched at the price of $ 35 a yard.
I had already decided that I would make an easy dress with lots of drama, something I have made before. And that would be a tried and true bodice, with a full circle skirt (1950's style full crinoline underneath, already owned) and a sash for waist emphasis (and to hide any sewing imperfections). I am going to use the circle skirt part of this pattern which I have used before:

And the sweetheart option bodice from this out of print pattern which also happens to be the very first dress I ever made:

It's hard to see the sweetheart bodice on this pattern - the option is one of the small drawings. But these photos can be clicked on to enlarge.
I say this is foolhardy because I will have to work on the dress when I have the energy and I'm not working. Those are small increments of time. So I cut the bodice out today and actually got it finished!

This pattern has facings, but I usually like linings better; they are sometimes easier, and always cleaner-looking. I also usually line with the garment fabric, but this silk jacquard ravels like the very devil and I didn't need that aggravation. I lined it with a light pink batiste I got at my LQS. I also figured it would feel better and be more comfortable.

I made the bodice by sewing the shoulder seams together, connecting the front and back pieces, then I laid the garment bodice out and put the lining on top of it, sewing the garment fabric and the lining fabric at the neckline. Then I understitched the neckline. Next, I sewed the garment fabric and lining together at the armholes, understitched as far as possible, and then turned the whole thing inside out. Finally, I sewed the side seams, sewing the garment fabric and the lining fabric together in one seam on each side. Sorry I didn't take photos, but I was just so thrilled I was making progress at all. And I was working as quickly as possible because this silk unravels just by looking at it:
I know what you are going to say, "But Kim, why didn't you use that great serger you just got and finish those edges right after you cut everything out?" And you are right, but I've yet to actually figure out how to go from 4 thread to 3 threads and set the stitch length and width to do all that. Plus, I suspect I will have to remove one of the needles (though the manual doesn't explictly say that), and I haven't done that yet. I will learn all this, but sewing on a deadline isn't the time to be fiddling with a new piece of machinery. It is just an opportunity for frustration and dispair. Did I mention this fabric is $ 35 a YARD???
No Parting Shot tonight, but I was able to participate in the MS Walk this morning. They were expecting 1500 people, but I think they got close to 2000. We all walked three miles under perfect weather!


Vicki W said...

That's going to be a beautiful dress! Do you want me to come over Monday after work to show you how to use the serger?

gwensews said...

Thank you for participating in the walk, first of all.

The fabric is beautiful. Even when using expensive fabric, you couldn't buy the dress for what it cost to make it. It wil be stunning.

Summerset said...

Beautiful - I can see you wearing it - and you'll look fabulous! I often combine patterns to get the look I want from each. You chose wisely by using patterns you've already made, thus sparing yourself the tension of working with an expensive fabric in new territory.

anne said...

Superb fabric. I believe that Chris and I are attending the same event. Can't wait to see the dress!!

Audrey said...

Beautiful fabric! Blue dupianni would have looked great on you, but this fabric is really unique. I made a mental not to visit that fabric store. I don't need another source of fabric. Your dress is going to be guaranteed gorgeous, especially as you have made the bodice and skirt before. Please post picture of the completed dress.

YankeeQuilter said...

Wow, that dress fabric is gorgeous! Been wondering how you were doing...