Silk for Summer

Hello all! It’s been a while, but never fear, I am still alive and indeed still sewing. It’s just this last project has been a bit longer in the making than most – the fault of the fabric, but also because it’s exam month for me, which does tend to cut down on sewing time.

However; the final finished product! Which I am super happy with.

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(also I got a fairly drastic haircut – it was a month back, but I haven’t blogged any pictures of me since then)

This dress began as a vague inclination for floaty summer dresses, as the weather started getting warmer. Combined with a 50% off sale at The Fabric Store, and finding this fabric, the inclination solidified. Originally I wanted a maxi dress, and there’s still one in my future, but this fabric was a panel print so its length was somewhat pre-determined (the skirt uses almost the entire length of the panel, and the entire width).

As the title tends to suggest, the fabric is a silk chiffon – the first time I’ve sewn with silk, and the first time with any chiffon, so a slightly terrifying process. Ok, absolutely terrifying. It took me two days to unpin the fabric from the pattern after cutting, I was so scared I’d stretch it out of shape… I did a little, as it happened, but it was easily steamed out, and you can’t tell now.

By the end of the dress construction, I’d got over the slightly terrifying bit, but had got up to just being irritated by how easily this fabric frayed. It was near impossible to get my seam allowances accurate, since the fabric was fraying all over the place, and I think they may have been a little smaller than usual – I had to take out some extra width when I sewed the zip in, which I haven’t had to do previous times I made this dress pattern (it’s the same as my smaug dress, though without the sleeves and with a different back neckline and side zip, and the bodice was also used in my ball dress and outfit-along dress). It’s all done with french seams, which probably didn’t help my seam allowance accuracy, but did make everything look finished and beautiful.

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Have I mentioned before that I like my back? And backs in general. So this dress, I decided I was going to lower the neckline rather from previous versions. This was done with exactly no science, just drew a nice curve and hoped for the best. It ended up – not deliberately – being almost exactly the same depth as the bodice scoop, and I think it worked out reasonably well. (This photo is also the first time I’ve seen my hair properly from the back since it was cut, so that’s exciting.)

It really does look like the dress is pulling at the back in this photo – I think it’s one of those what I can’t see can’t bother me moments, though. I’m just going to ignore it.

I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the front and back bodices on the same part of the fabric, which is why the back bodice includes part of the border print. Another thing that would bug me if I could see it – lucky I can’t.

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I love this dress with all the love. It’s so light and floaty and wonderful. The chiffon and the cotton voile lining both feel so soft and whispery on my skin, and it dances in the breeze, and man I feel amazing in it. It took ages to sew, including a couple of serious mishaps (some of which I dealt with properly. Some I didn’t. I sewed the skirt on inside out, and refused to unpick it – I’d already unpicked it for sewing the bodice inside out, which is more of a problem – so instead I resewed the seam so it has some sort of double-french-seam thing going on most of the way up. With all the gathering, it’s not terribly noticeable, so I don’t care). But all that time and effort was worth it when I get to wear it. Annoyingly we’ve just had a month of warm, but it looks set to be less warm through October – but summer, at least, should give me a good chance to wear it.

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nice neat french seams make me so happy

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Both lining and dress have narrow machine hems. I find they work very well on straight non-bias edges, but terribly where there’s a curve involved. It took me forever to even up the hems, though, and I’m not sure I did a particularly good job – the one time where I’ve really desperately wanted a dress form! But oh man, I needed one.
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I did bias binding around the neckline because I realised halfway through that the fabric colour is kinda terrible on my skin tone, and this was my emergency salvage operation. It does also give a beautifully neat finish to the dress. And makes me generally happier with this dress. I considered doing a waistline strip too, but I think I prefer wearing it with my gold belt.

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lapped zipper – looks great when flat, but tends to stick out when I’m wearing it

Otherwise, in life, it’s exam season now so slightly stressed about that (I’m kinda supposed to be studying now, but writing a post makes a good study break). I finish for the year on the 28th October, which is marvellously soon! And am looking for work for the summer. That one hasn’t happened yet.

Spring has sprung, and everything is growing well, so just because that makes me happy, some of the growing things in/around my flat:

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My rosebush. Nearly died last summer, but looking very healthy now.

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This has been slightly more shaped since I posted it – not sure you can tell though

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My Apache chilli, which I’ve named Eduardo

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my new Thai Red Dragon chilli, called Javier, and some chilli seeds hopefully germinating. In the background a kumara – NZ sweet potato – I’m trying to convince to grow

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my succulent, Hubert (I really go in for naming things) and some just-germinated pumpkin seed (two varieties, but I have no idea which is which)

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Finally, for fun, this is my favourite photo of the afternoon. I am not elegant in life. This is me running to try to get into the photo before the camera timer went. On the plus side, it shows how floaty the dress is…

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7 thoughts on “Silk for Summer

  1. Pingback: Silk for Summer | The Monthly Stitch

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