Today I have Party Dress photos! If you’re just joining us, I set a challenge for myself to sew a silk party dress in two days. I used a vintage dress pattern that I’ve used twice already (Simplicity 3965) and a beautiful teal silk dupioni… and finished it up just in time!
There aren’t a ton of photos of the dress in action, but here’s a cute one of Mr Sewaholic and me from the party on Saturday night. Look, shiny!The party was actually a boat cruise! We sailed around downtown Vancouver, sang Christmas carols and danced the night away. As you can see, we arrived at the marina after the sun had set. And it was freezing! Way too cold for a photo shoot. Besides, there’s something slightly embarassing about asking your guy to take photos of you around his work colleagues. Not the time or place. Although, a few read my blog! You could tell who read the last few posts where I was rushing to complete the dress, when I was greeted with ‘Oh look, you finished your dress in time!’
So I took a couple of photos after the party in the daylight.
I love that so many of you shunned the LBD! Down with black, hurrah for colour! (Especially when it’s this lovely teal colour, my favourite!!)Back view – I never get tired of the scoop back!
The inside-out shot, just for you guys! (Because I know you’ll ask… and you might be curious if it’s all sloppy and raw edged due to speed.)
And now, the answers to your questions!
Well, I wanted to line the bodice for softness and comfort while wearing it. And I wanted the facings around the edges to finish them off with the main fabric, in case of any peeks from the right side.
Plus, it was easy to use the existing facing pieces the way they were, and just cut another version of the bodice out of lining. There may have been a bit of extra bulk by doing it this way, but it was fast!
I stitched the facings on top of the lining around the neckline, and treated it like it was one piece. Then, I used the armhole facings to finish the armholes, turned them to the right side, and catchstitched them to the lining and interlining. Helen pointed out that next time I could eliminate bulk by doing an all-in-one facing. If I make this dress a fourth time (and I just might!) I’ll give that a try and show you how to adapt your patterns as well.
I was a bit concerned about trimming the darts! If I wasn’t lining the bodice, I probably wouldn’t have trimmed them. Or, I would have trimmed them, but then whipstitched the edges together to prevent fraying.
For the darts, first I stitched down the centre of each dart, like I did in the Twin Spruce Dress, and then stitched each dart. (Click here to read more about stitching underlined darts.)Here you can see the dart on the left is bulky, but the dart on the right has been trimmed. To reduce bulk, I trimmed the darts to 1/4″, leaving the tip on the end.Next, I snipped into the dart where the trimming ends. This is so the trimmed part can be pressed open, and the tip stays closed.Press the dart open below the clip. Use a tailor’s ham to create a nice dart shape.And you’re done! You can see the difference it makes in the photo below. One of the darts has been trimmed and pressed, and is nice and flat. The other hasn’t been trimmed and looks puffy on the surface.
Lisa asked if I dry-clean my dresses and which fabrics I usually pre-wash.
I tend to pre-wash everything but silk – I wash and dry the muslin interlining, and the rayon lining. The silk I left un-washed so it would stay crisp. I do plan to dry-clean this dress but I can get a few wearings out of it before it needs to be cleaned.
For the Twin Spruce Dress, I pre-washed the rayon, the rayon skirt lining, and the muslin underlining. Technically I could machine-wash this finished dress, but I’m a bit concerned about the washing machine being too rough on the vintage rayon. Probably I’ll end up hand-washing this one and hanging it to dry. Treating it with a little TLC will help it last longer!
Same thing with the Picnic Dress. It’s a synthetic fabric, acetate, which I pre-washed as well. I could also machine-wash this one but probably won’t, just to preserve the dress and make it last longer. I tend to throw all my laundry in together, and there’s a good chance that a zipper or velcro could ruin the dress and all my hard work!
However, I would machine-wash this cotton open-back dress. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have already. It’s cotton, it’s lined with pre-washed rayon lining, and it’s much sturdier than the other dresses. This one can probably withstand machine-washing no problem.
The short answer on drycleaning, washing and care of my dresses:
- if I haven’t pre-washed part of the materials, I’m doomed to dry-clean only or wash at my own risk.
- if I am concerned about how the dress will hold up in the washing machine, I’ll hand-wash it and hang it to dry.
- if the fabric is tough, all parts have been pre-washed, and I feel confident it can withstand the agitation of the washing machine, in it goes!
Uta asked why I constructed the bodice and skirt separately, lined them, and then joined the top and bottom.
I was following the pattern instructions, but you’re right, it’s because of the waist stay. You need the seam allowance to attach the grosgrain ribbon, so that nothing shows through on the right side. (See this post for how to make a waist stay!)Did I miss anyone’s question? Did my explanations answer your questions fully? Anything else you want to know? Let me know in the comments!