Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I don't mean negligee as a disparagement of McCall 5880, just a descriptor. I think it's fun and has a little retro kick.
Cidell came to DC recently so there are some lovely outdoor project photos to look forward to. My new camera has a feature where it will take 3 shots in a row on the self-timer so it's a lot easier to do self portraits now (except that I can't get it to do a red-eye reducing flash and the red-eye feature on iPhoto keeps putting black spots in my hair and leaving my eyes red), but nothing is nicer than having a patient photographer who makes both the clothes *and* me look pretty. I end up with nice shots like the one at right.
While getting ready for Spain I crammed in as much sewing as I possibly could. I am forever lamenting the dearth of non-work appropriate clothes in my closet (it makes me feel old and boring that I could meet with my boss in just about every dress I own), and a vacation seemed like a good time to throw a flirty little dress in the mix. I had a flash of inspiration to make up the silk chiffon I got in Hong Kong with AllisonC into this pattern and just *had* to get it done.
And now, the public service portion of this blog post, by which I mean the public service you can do for me:
The next time I think that the only reason I don't like sewing with silk chiffon is that it has to be lined or underlined for opacity, somebody please slap me upside the head. The awfulness of sewing silk chiffon is inversely proportional to how lovely and luxurious it is to wear. Let's start with cutting. You lay it out aligned on grain and the slightest whisper blows it out of place. You pin down the pattern and carefully cut. When you lift your carefully cut piece up, it turns out to have been haphazardly hacked out by a blindfolded kindergartner almost directly on the bias. When you sew the threads snag, even when you are using the finest sharp/microtex needle in your collection, and of course that goes double when you're putting in French seams. And did I mention the seam puckering? Which goes double because you have to sew French seams? Seriously, sewing this stuff is an unfun experience.
But then! You put it on! And you decide you can live with the puckered seams and pulled threads and crookedness because look how it flows! Feel how soft! I think I am suddenly a Rich Lady Who Lunches! Who else gets to wear such fabulous fabric?
The pattern is cute and easy (just one instruction sheet), perfect to knock out for something to wear on a Saturday night. The pattern is actually designed to be lined, which is great.
The skirt is cut in princess lines, which adds little to the design if you don't plan to topstitch. Since I was working with silk chiffon I considered combining the pieces into a single front and back. While I was sewing my puckering, wonky seams I definitely wished I had, although there is such volume and flow that (hopefully) my bad seams don't show.
The bodice and skirt are separate pieces and the seam serves as the elastic casing for the empire waist. At first I thought this could be a little tacky looking, and in a heavier fabric it could be but in this fabric the final appearance is not much different than gathering would have been. However, as the pattern illustration suggests, this absolutely must have some sort of decoration at that line. I went with a ribbon tie, tacked on at the center back and sides.
The back is designed to have a short zip that stops a couple of inches above the waistline. I changed it because (1) there was no way I was putting a zipper into silk chiffon, and (2) I liked the idea of a split back more--it fits with the style of the bodice front and is a little flirtier. I just sewed the back as for the front and gathered it into the neck binding. I closed the binding with two hooks and eyes because with just one set the ends rotated. I may go in and replace these with snaps because the hooks and eyes are forever coming undone. I put a button on top for decoration.
This was a fab dress for Spain. It looks cute with leggings and a denim jacket for slightly cooler temperatures, and is very comfortable when it's hot. I feel fun and flirty in it--perfect for Saturday nights at home once vacation ends. (Although those Saturday nights are many months away in a warmer future.)
All photos are here and the Pattern Review is here.