Friday, August 27, 2010

Vionnet dress - almost there

I had this dress cut out and sitting in a bag on my desk for quite a while because when I sewed the waist dart on the front I realised that this is one of those fabrics which my sewing machine haaaaaaaaaaates. It has a rubbery feel to the stretch and is what I call pin resistant - it's hard to push a pin through. The overlocker loves it, and it is heavy and drapey - perfect for a dress of this style, so I was going to persevere. Unfortunately the busy print pretty much renders the interesting seaming invisible. Fortunately it hides the hole I cut right at the CF when I trimmed away the excess facing strips from the neckline. (Yes I swore as I sewed it up.)

Oh, and it clings to every little bump. The bumps you can see on the hip are the adjusting knobs on the dummy. I don't have adjusting knobs, but I do have my own collection of bumps.

Inside out you can see much better how it's put together.

I love how it falls in such perfect graceful folds. I really don't love how hard it was to finish the neck and armholes. My first plan was to use a self facing. My attempts to sew this using my machine looked terrible, even with a brand new stretch needle and a walking foot, even using my usually fool proof press'n'seal stabilizer method. I tried using a narrow three thread overlock, but that lettuced out (first time in 20 years I wished my machine had a differential feed). Hand rolling (on a sample) also looked awful. Lying in bed stewing over it and describing my problems (at length and in detail) to my long suffering husband made me feel better but didn't produce an answer. Stewing about it some more after he went to sleep (sensible man) made me wonder if bias strips of a woven fabric would work as facings. Vionnet used on grain strips of self fabric to do this, but with my very stretchy fabric I thought bias would be better. And what do you know - perfect solution. The woven fabric stopped all the skipped stitches and finishes the edges perfectly. I still need to press the edges, but trust me, they sit very nicely against me.

So this is going to be a wearable dress. I'm going to leave it on the dummy for a couple of days to let the bias hang (yeah, I cut this very stretchy knit with a fantastic degree of recovery on the bias. Just for the hell of it), but I don't expect a whole lot of change. I'm thinking of hemming it longer to make the most of the swishy skirt. My first plan was just below the knee, but I think maybe longer would be better. Next problem - how the h*** am I going to sew the hem?


  1. Does it NEED a hem? Or if it does, could you do some sort of very tiny binding or maybe since the serger likes it, you could just do a rolled hem on the serger? Um. Except that it will lettuce if you cut on the bias. Huh. I see what you mean....

    But holy haute couture Batman! That is going to be an AMAZING dress.

    Ha. My word verification is "fanci"! It sure is!

  2. It is an amazing dress - it requires a level of skill few could undertake - so good on you - can't wait to see it finished and on you!

  3. You are so right about the drape of this dress. I agree with beangirl that a rolled hem may be a good approach. It will keep it light.

  4. I hope you show us how it looks on you. Sure looks amazing on your dummy, though! Although it looks like it's a no-bra dress? I can't give you any advice on hemming. My standard method with everything jersey is twin needle, since I don't own an overlocker just yet.

  5. That is going to be gorgeous! And I figure God created Spanx for dresses like these. Regards the hem, I agree with Beangirl - the knit can go unhemmed. And leaving it unhemmed will keep it from getting even more weighted at the bottom. If you really want the finished look of a hem, I'd do a narrow overlock rather than a rolled hem. It uses less thread, again giving you a lighter look at the hemline. I can't wait to see the finished product on you!

  6. Ooh it looks beautiful Judy! Even on the inside!
    I like a finished hem, but sometimes a rolled hem can affect the hang and make it look clumsier, and be too thick at the seams. Maybe a false hem with bias lining like at the armholes? I'm sure you will arrive at the right solution!