Friday, April 9, 2010

Silk Vintage Gown is Underway!

Before I get to what I've accomplished so far, I feel I have to address the issue of what to call this gown. The pattern description is prosaic. It only reads "An evening dress in two lengths with stole." What? Well, that is what it is.... but I mean come on! Was it 5:00 and time to punch out when the person who's job it was to write patten descriptions got to this one?

Whatever the reason, it deserves more: "Elegant evening dress or gown with decadent, swagged shaped gathering over the entire sweetheart bodice. Gathering extends below the waistline into the full, billowing eight gore skirt. Wear with stole for romantic evening under the stars." Doesn't that sound better?

So onto the project itself!

After several hours of futzing with the dupioni fabric choices over several days, I finally decided on one. It wasn't the orange-shot-with-red and rose embroidery one. I was a bit disappointed, but try as I may, there was no way I was going to get the eight gores placed properly over the swagged embroidery pattern to make it match up.
I moved onto the solid dupionis and decided upon a gorgeous color described as "rust". It is in fact, a dark sandy color shot with red which gives it the all over rust shade. It is stunning. I love how it picks up the red as you/the fabric moves. This will give hopefully give the gathering great depth and show off finished gowns movement.

Also, the rust should be outstanding for a gown on an autumn Caribbean cruise.

I did not wash the dupioni because I didn't want it to lose the lustre and body. Because the gown won't be something that will be thrown into the washing machine, nor will it be worn frequently, this is not a problem. After pressing all of the yardage yesterday, I cut out all of the pieces for the gown and the stole. There wasn't enough for the skirt lining facings, but I will use a natural, tan dupioni for that.

Yesterday, I also ordered the other fabrics that I did not have in my stash. I'm splurging on a dyed silk crepe for the lining, a silk/rayon brocade for the stole lining and silk/cotton batiste for the foundation lining. While I had silk organza in my stash for the underlining, it wasn't enough so I ordered more of that too.

Today, I cut the organza underlining (that I had) and started basting it to the dupioni pieces. Because organza shifts a lot, I was very careful keeping it on grain before and during cutting. To cut, I used a rotary cutter which is a must for slippery/shifty fabrics!!! Scissors pull and distort the fabric whereas there is no interferance with the rotary.

To keep the organza and dupioni from slipping while basting together, I used a lot of pins. I'm a "pinner". I know lots of people get by without pinning or minimal pinning, but I just can't. I was pleased that the organza and dupioni matched up and sewed well. When basting underlining to fabric, according to my Vogue Sewing Book, sew all the way along one side. Stop and repeat along all sides; the stitching lines will cross at corners... i.e. do not turn the corners in one, continuous line... my pieces turned out flat with no twisting or puckering (something I worried about); I pressed when finished basting.
After the bodice pieces were underlined, I marked the darts and gathering lines. This is the wrong side, organza showing with markings:

Next, I started pinning the organza to the skirt pieces, but then it was time to start dinner! Darn! Why do people have to eat when I'm in the zone! I'm really psyched about this gown which I hope will turn out to be elegant with a fiery glow. I can't wait to work on it tomorrow!


Suzanne said...

Love the fabric choice and color!

Debi said...

Oh goodie! Thanks for posting on the progress (and what you did for the underlining--I haven't done that yet). And that's exciting that you used to live in the UK--it's so lovely here :-)

Katherine @ ZipZapKap said...

Dupioni is gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen anything made from it that wasn't stunning.

Dede said...

I love that color! Fiery! Classy! Beautiful Texture...don't I sound like one of those silly people who critique those who walk the red carpet in their lovely gowns? LOL. Really, I am following your project with bated breath and dreaming of the day when I will be skilled enough to pursue that kind of project.

Thank you for your blog, I truly enjoy the classic outfits you are creating.

ellekaye said...

The color of your dupioni is quite elegant, and the pattern is stunning!

Two questions:
1. Will you wear evening gloves with it?

2. How will you pack it?

When Ladies Dressed said...

Thanks so much!

ellekaye, funny you ask about packing... it's the very first thing my husband asked! I'll figure something out - wearing it on the plane isn't an option. :p And yes, I plan to wear gloves!

Dede said...


I have been looking at your blog for some time. I enjoy it so much, I have decided to give you an award that someone gave me. Please come get it at my family blog. Thanks!

Jenny said...

Wow! I can't wait to see the finished gown! I'm also embarking on a fancy vintage silk dress project: Vogue 8956 (1956), in a very loose basketweave silk with dupioni underlining. I'll be following along to pick up tips -such as the "no pivoting at the corners" for the underlining!

Lassie Sullivan said...

So, so lovely. I am eager with anticipation to see how it is coming. I have never sewn with such wonderful fabrics and can't wait to be more of a seamstress and give it a try in the future. This is going to be beyond stunning.

Anonymous said...

How lovely! Mary R.

Brenda said...

I can't wait to hear all the details of your dress. I hope all is well with you. I've missed your posts lately.

Val said...

Beautiful - and you're very brave to do a sweetheart neckline. I've done one, and I about pulled every last hair out over it!

As a first time visitor to your blog, I have to tell you that I love the title. If only ladies did indeed still dress the way they once did!