Oh, pucker!

So I did some more work on the gold silk dress today.

I rechecked that I had the waistline in the correct place, and then I marked a 1 inch seam allowance. You can see the fine blue line below the elastic in the picture below.

mark and pin

Because I didn’t want the fabric to slide around on the cutting table, I cut this directly on the dressform. Notice the line of pins about 3″ below the cutting line; those are there so that the cut-off fabric does not hang down and weigh the upper part unevenly.


My next step was to determine how long I wanted the skirt to be. So I stood on my trusty bathtub ledge and measured the edge of the bodice to my knees. (That’s 25″, if you are playing along at home.) I took another measurement at the side (26″) and figured I’d make the back 27″ for luck.

Then I laid the excess fabric on the cutting table, and cut it from the hem to fit. There was about a nine inch strip of fabric over, which is intended for the shoulders.

It was at this point that I realized that this fabric is not cut on the bias. It’s a knit!!!! I was looking at my excess strip, trying to figure out how to square off the edge while keeping the bias true, and I couldn’t see any diagonals. It’s a very, very fine gauge knit, shiny on one side and matt on the other. And as far as I know, it’s 100% silk, although I haven’t done a burn test to check.

I spent a lot of time pin-fitting until I decided on where I wanted the gathers. I finally went with a flat front, with tiny gathers* beginning a couple of inches behind the side seams. Then I spent a lot of time basting. Once I finally set in the real waist seam, I was pretty pleased with myself, although I had a lot of cleaning up of loose ends of thread.

I pressed the garment and tried it on, and I thought it looked good. Then I set about finishing the interior seam with a zigzag stitch. This might have been my undoing, because now I have a bunch of puckers at the front of the waist seam that no amount of pressing will get rid of.


*Here’s how I sew a gather. I hand-baste two rows of stitching inside the seam allowance on the longer pattern piece. At one end, twist the loose ends around a pin. Pull the threads from the other end until the gathering thread is the same length as the shorter pattern piece, then twist the second end around a pin to secure. Then just even out the gathers created by pulling on the thread.


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