Saturday, March 28, 2009

In for a penny, in for a pound

Thank you, dear friends at PatternReview, for your advice on how to make myself look like this, except with more color:

The Dries van Noten dress of dreams 
(Oh come on Dries, a little peachy blush couldn't hurt)

I started making this dress exuberantly enough, tracing and then cutting out a muslin of the HotPatterns Deco Vibe Delicious Dress.  

"This dress isn't all that fitted," I said to myself, "I'll use my bust size." Wrong assumption, as it turned out. The muslin was a vast poof from the waist down. 

I've taken some advice from many people at PatternReview. Rather than add darts or try to shape the seams,  I traced the pattern in a smaller size from the waist down. 

I gave up on making another muslin, as the fabric was just too stiff. I rather bravely decided to skip making a second muslin and instead pin fit the Swedish tracing paper. The new size seemed to fit well enough, and was much sleeker.

Scissors in hand I launched into a long piece of deep blue silk. I was too terrified to cut into the Pucci fabric in my stash, but I needed to try this HotPatterns dress in very, extremely drapey fabric to discover whether this pattern would ever work. I was prepared to sacrifice this blue silk crepe de chine that I bought a few weeks ago on sale.

 I found that the blue silk was rawwther sheer
(My hand, visible through the silk)

I contemplated how to solve the sheerness problem. Wear a slip? Or underline? This dress is still an experiment, but it's getting more expensive by the minute. So far, I've bought a pattern for $18.95, plus shipping, and then $24 of silk and $5 of thread. I've made one muslin and traced this pattern twice using up practically an entire roll of $12 Swedish tracing paper. I've already spent $65 on a pattern I'm none too sure will work. 

But hey, why not go whole hog? I cut out the blue silk, which has great drape, although it was just too thin for a dress. I decided on interlining, thus my next step in crafting this utterly unproven HotPatterns design was to make another purchase: this time gossamer silk underlining, four yards at $12 a yard. I bought this silk at my local fabric shop, where the girl behind the counter had no idea what it was. 

"What kind of silk is this?" I asked. "Gold," she answered. We held up a length of the blue crepe de chine with this gold silk behind it. The two fabrics married as though draping a Grecian goddess.

Photos can't describe the delicacy of this gold silk,
whatever it is (habotai?)

This gold silk was so light that it was difficult to cut without pinning it to a surface. I didn't have a big enough piece of cardboard, and feeling impatient, I pinned it to my Persian carpet. Not at all the recommended method, but it worked a trick.

Silk pinned to the carpet

Underlining sewn in place, before pressing

The underlined silk panels have the most astonishing lava-like drape. Hopefully drapiness will be the trick that transforms the Delicious Dress experiment from maternity dress to goddess-wear. I'll let you know in a few days. I've got yards more basting to do.

In the meantime I'm still contemplating the Pucci fabric in my stash. I've ordered two patterns from Marfy. Maybe this fabric wants to be a tunic? Or an asymmetrical dress? 

The butterfly is missing a wing
Does it work? I think I love it.

A great square pleated neckline

Sometimes there are just too, too many options out there.

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