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Made By A Fabricista: A Mother's Day Treat

Hello everyone! I am so excited to be back for my second blog !!!

Every Mother’s Day I treat myself to a new dress (ok… shoes, too!) and my husband treats me to brunch.  For inspiration this year, I watched several runway shows online.  I liked the comfortable laid-back look, but not the Little House on the Prairie or tiered styles.  I was attracted to the floaty, loose fitting maxi-length tent dresses with big sleeves; they reminded me of the 1980s.  The silk dresses I liked cost thousands; the discounted ones were priced over $500. No way was I going to pay that much for a dress, especially when I can sew it for less!  Besides, the colors were not for me.


I decided to make a similar dress; Vogue V1699 maxi was the right silhouette.  I searched the Fabric Mart website for several days until one day, THE fabric came at me - a silk and lycra stretch Charmeuse in geometric print of black, white, and pale yellow!  The colors were energizing, bright, and happy.  It had been awhile since I had sewn a silk dress and I had never worn these colors together, but I ordered the fabric anyways.  When it arrived, I was super impressed. The large multi-color print exuded modern art.  The yellow had a greenish tint, incidentally the perfect shade to go with my yellow shoes I had never worn! 

According to the Fabric Mart’s website, “only silk pre-shrunk by washing is washable.”  Because I wanted the option to wash this dress in the future, I hand washed it in lukewarm water with Woolite. I dried it on a towel, air dried it on a plastic hanger, and ironed the wrinkles out once completely dried. The iron was set on the "silk" setting for low heat.  I sprayed fabric stabilizer all over its matte side to make it stiffer and therefore easier to cut and sew. I waited 2 hours before touching it again.  I hand washed the white polyester lining fabric (from my stash) the same way. 


As I was laying out the fabric to cut, I was panic-stricken.  I did NOT have enough fabric, even though I ordered half a yard extra!!!  I had not noticed earlier that the pattern recommendation was for 60-inch-wide fabric (there was no mention of 45W) and my fabric was merely 43W. I definitely did not want to shorten the sleeves.  The only fix was to shorten the length. The resulting cutting line for the hem was 7 inches shorter than the View B maxi I had wanted, yet 3 inches longer than View A below the knee length.   Thank goodness, it turned out to be a nice midi length for me- whew!


With the fabric’s shiny side as the face of the dress, I sewed with a Singer Microtex Size 60/08 needle at slow speed with my machine’s built-in walking foot.  I used a serger to finish the edges as this fabric frays. For the zipper, I first applied a sew-in interfacing to the zipper area to stabilize the area.  Then I attached the invisible zipper using the Kenneth King method I learned online, which basically involved basting the center seam together before sewing the zipper with a narrow zipper foot.  I was pleased it gave me no puckers at the end of the tape, but, because the zipper tape was still visible, I ran an invisible zipper foot over the zipper teeth. Never did that before!

I usually do not put pockets in special occasion dresses, but I decided to do so this time using the lining fabric.  I was relieved the deep pockets did not add bulk to the hip area.  The inverted pleats in the front gave the dress a loose fit but not over the top.   I made the sleeves long, down to my wrist for an effortless vibe. Hand sewing the bodice lining to the bodice gave the inside a clean finish.  After letting the dress hang for a couple of days, I stitched a 5/8” narrow hem.  I then hand washed it to remove the fabric stabilizer.  A hair dryer on medium setting was enough to dry it; quick strokes of the iron touched up the remaining wrinkles.



I am happy with the elegance of this dress.  Its deep-V neckline, long puff sleeves, and comfortable tent style made me look well put-together for Mother’s Day.  The silk Charmeuse felt heavenly against the skin and draped well. The print was a delightful surprise.  Enhanced by the gathers of the sleeves, the shoulders, and the bodice, modern art was displayed differently on each angle of the dress!   The sleeves looked puffier when I pushed them up to the elbows; I liked that look too!  The midi length was comfortable to walk in and showed off my “new” yellow heels.  On this special day, I felt like a queen, walking around the garden and lounged around the house in style. Most satisfying was that I was able to sew a high-end look in a luxurious fabric for around $50.  I will be sewing more silk dresses in the future.   One thing:  you never know what unique fabric will show up on the Fabric Mart website!

Til next time,

MARY ANN  @anasewperfect


Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following category CHARMEUSE

Comments

  1. Wow Mary Ann! You positively glow in your dress, well done! Thanks for all the details too. As a relatively new sewer, I appreciate learning the special details that will make my work...awesome! Beautifully created & recorded & Happy Mother’s Day! Deb

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  2. Gorgeous dress! The fabric was perfect for this pattern.

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  3. Wow ! I love the print and style on you. It's a good thing you were short on fabric because that midi length is perfect for you ! I'm glad to know that silk CAN be washed ! Keep up the beautiful work !

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  4. So beautiful and you really took the time to ensure this dress turned out so well!

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  5. I love this dress, the style, the silky fabric and the print. The silhoutte is very flattering and really looks nice on you. What a nice creation!

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  6. Your dress is lovely. And if those pictures are from your garden...wow. You must also have a green thumb. It looks like you had a wonderful day.

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  7. The dress looks store bought! The fabric you chose is so light it's whimsical. Gone in the wind mode. You are truly talented and stunning in your Mother's Day dress ����

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  8. So, so beautiful, thank you for sharing and Happy Mothers Day.

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  9. Perfect length! I love your dress.

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  10. Lovely and I enjoyed reading about your decisions and process. Love learning, thanks.

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  11. Beautiful and great use of the print

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  12. How beautiful, and I love that your shoes match.

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