06 November 2010

and for my next trick...

Okay folks, and now for the most daring sewing project I've taken on to-date...a strapless silk dress to wear to my cousin's wedding!  (My aunt even told me afterwards that she thought it was pretty gutsy of me- which I totally agree with).  The first gutsy thing about this whole endeavor is that I have never even worn a strapless dress before.  I honestly have no idea what possessed me to want to wear one for this wedding, much less sew one myself.  Out of silk.  In any case, I knew I wanted to try to make myself a dress to wear for this wedding, and after I saw Jess' version of the Eclair dress from Colette Patterns, I decided this was the one for me.  

I picked out some silk dupioni (actually, I think it was the exact same fabric as my first silk dress from two years ago) and set to work.  There were a number of new-to-me techniques involved in this dress, including making a lining, inseam pockets, and- oh you know- making a strapless dress that fits!  Yeah, it was definitely daring.  But it all worked out in the end. 

Overall, I would definitely say that this pattern was very well written and easy to follow.  There were a few little hiccups that I'm glad I mostly figured out while making the muslin.  

Number 1: (and this one would probably be obvious to anyone whose made anything with a lining before, but since it was my first time I totally sat there staring at the lining and the shell for about thirty minutes before figuring it out) The lining and the shell are inverse.  Meaning that even though you construct the lining almost exactly the same as the shell (minus the ties) the left side of the shell (where the zipper opening goes) is really the right side of the lining because they are inverse.  I know that's not a clear way to explain it, but I'm sure it'll make sense when you get there if you're making this dress.

Number 2: The directions for sewing in the zipper are not very clear once you get to where the pocket is placed.  The pocket is sewn right to the zipper, which seems weird when you're doing it, but it works out just fine.

Number 3: The directions in this pattern don't include those little loopy things that allow you to hang a strapless dress on a hanger.  I only realized that once I was pretty much done, and I'm thinking about hand-sewing some ribbon loops into the sides.  Just something to keep in mind.

And Number 4: The pattern calls for way more fabric than you actually need.  For a size 2, I bought 3 1/2 yards of the shell fabric (we had to estimate since this fabric was 55" wide) and only used about 2 1/2 yards.  Which brings me to my bonus project...I made a matching tie for Jared!  When I told him I had a bunch of leftover fabric, he assumed I was going to make myself a matching bag.  Oh no, a matching tie was where I was headed.  It was so awesome!  I used this tutorial from the Purl Bee and it was super easy- coming together in just a few hours.  The only notes I have about this side project are these: the tutorial uses Liberty Lawn, which is a very lightweight fabric.  I followed the instructions exactly and Jared's tie ended up being a little stiff, so with a heavier weight fabric like silk dupioni, I probably didn't need that second layer of interfacing.  

So there you have it...Julia's daring sewing project of 2010.  Luckily it was a total success and now I have gotten over my fear of wearing strapless dresses (and considering it survived a whole night of serious dancing, I think I'm good!).   

{And now that I'm back in the sewing mode, I think I might take part in Erin's Pillow Challenge Week next week, you in?}


  1. Holy cow! I am so glad it turned out well for you. I've made clothing for my girls but never myself and I am going to attempt the tova shirt pattern from wiksten soon. Yay for daring projects!

  2. It turned out so well! You look fantastic!

  3. super cute and great job! see, cutting silk isn't that freaky after all! (unless you're cutting silk chiffon or something equally horrid...i hate dealing with chiffon.) you two make a cute couple! ;)

  4. julia. i know i've said it before, but girl, YOU BLOW MY MIND.
    & you both look gorgeous.

  5. damn. you look amazing, and the dress is fantastic!

  6. i love it! and i am so so so impressed by you. amazing!

  7. fabulous! and i totally love a dress with pockets.

  8. you are, one brave woman! but you have to start somewhere. that dress is lovely. i love the color.

  9. what a beautiful dress! I especially love the color.

    I don't think that I'm brave enough to attempt a sewing project like that. For now, I better stick to curtains and pillow cases... :-)

  10. LOVE! You two looked so fab. Home run!