Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Made by a Fabricista: A Dress for the Holidays


Every December I want to sew up at least one dress I can wear to holiday escapades and even wear in those official annual family photos with the official fancy photographer.  I assumed it was going to be red this year but this decadent green cashmere/viscose knit (sold out now) grabbed my eyeballs immediately while shopping Fabric Mart's site. It's a drapey, super soft knit that moves like a dream.  The inspiration for my dress was drawn from two gorgeous dresses, one from Pucci and another from Issa (the blue version of this dress was made wildy famous by the Duchess of Cambridge as her engagement dress.)


Viscose is simply another term for rayon, and I've sewn up innumerable rayon knits before, but this one made me very nervous since it was labeled "dry clean" AND it's a cashmere knit-- this is the unicorn of fabrics and it's not easy to purchase yardage otherwise.  But still I decided to pre-treat my fabric at home after doing a swatch test!  I cut out two identical 6x6" swatches, gently soaked one in cool water with a couple drops of mild detergent for 20 minutes, then laid it flat to dry.  To no surprise it shrunk some, but the quality of the material was unaltered!  I also tested out the swatches to confirm this fabric presses best at a very low dry wool setting with a press cloth.  As for the actual sewing, this stuff went right through my machine and serger no problems at all.  None.  I used a walking foot on my sewing machine and ball point needles on both.



I used Vogue 8921, View B for my pattern. I cut my standard size of 16 but did not need to grade the skirt up by two sizes like I'd normally do to fit my figure-- the skirt is quite full with all of the pleating detail.  I also didn't need to lengthen the bodice, skirt or sleeves like I normally would being 5'8" (two inches taller then what Vogue drafts for.)  I made a swayback adjustment on the back waist seam on my paper pattern before cutting.  I stabilized my shoulder seams with Pellon Easy Knit Tape.  



This fabric is a little more sheer than I wanted for a dress so I had to underline it.  I cut a second set of all the pattern pieces (excluding the sleeves) basted them together and then treated the joined materials as a one piece of fabric.  I had *just* enough to underline the skirt but went to my stash and found a grey rayon for the bodice that has a similar hand and weight as my main fabric.  You can see all the innards of it in the pic above, I just threw it on inside out on my dress form.  I used my serger, but I basted the front center bodice seam with my regular sewing machine instead to prevent the bulk of a serged seam.  I also excluded the unnecessary zipper in back.


The material has this very, very slight sheen to it reflecting its intense shade of green in such a lovely way-- I hoped my amateur photography skills had captured that and would show up on a screen. I can't lie, this dress is as comfortable as pajamas, it's true.  I would run and skip if I weren't wearing heels, but I'm much too lady-like for that.


~Kathy from KathySews

What are you sewing for the holidays?

4 comments:

  1. I bought this fabric too! It is beautiful, but I've been nervous about ruining it so thanks for doing all the pre-wash work for me! Your dress is lovely and will serve you well through the holidays.
    Laurie

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  2. I LOVE this on you and have had dreams myself of making Kate Middleton's famous blue Issa dress, so this definitely has inspired me.

    Great work, Kathy!

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  3. Awesome!! This design looks pretty cool. Initially I used to buy fabric blocks for my these designs but these days I use whole fabric and cut the blocks as needed. I also customize the whole fabric accordingly in terms of cutting & designing. We can save a lot of time and money quilting if we do things properly and with a fixed plan. Thanks a lot for sharing such an informative piece with us. I would like to share one more link which is about quilting and sewing tips at http://www.warpandweft.ca/blog/ .

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  4. Absolutely beautiful sewing job! The dress looks stunning on you. Thanks for sharing

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