Yup, in 2013 I am bringing out my unfinished projects.This item broke the PSP (pending sewing project) aka UFO record of all time. The LBD (little black dress) now achieves completion on my personal blog right here and now.
Stashed away carefully many, many years ago, these parts were unearthed from my daughter’s closet (it had begun as a prom dress):
Le dress, underlined with black silk organza up to the hip area, darts sewn, invisible zipper installed, seamed together on sides, no sleeves, crinoline pinned inside at the waist level to give it a “bouffant” look. Below, the dress is shown inside out with the crinoline removed.
Lining, also darted and seamed, with no sleeves.
Sleeves in fashion fabric were stitched and ready to be attached to the dress. No lining fabric available for sleeves.
The original paper pattern had disappeared, but I did not miss it since the pattern was used only for cutting out the upper body to the correct size. The silhouette and some details were changed as we went along. The tucks in the original pattern were changed to darts for a smoother shape. Time to put this baby together — for my baby.
Off with the crinoline! The “bouffant” idea was nixed by the wearer.
I basted together the dress and lining at the neckline and armholes.
Conventional wisdom tells one to attach sleeves to dress and lining separately before putting them together, but I made other plans. I shortened the length to create a cap sleeve and underlined them in a contrasting scarlet Bemberg rayon since we could not unearth any more black Bemberg, the original lining fabric.
Sleeves hems were sewn by hand, attached to the dress, easing in the sleeve cap, checked for fit and permanently machine-sewn. The armhole seam was finished neatly with a separate bias binding of a satiny, rayon-y black material. This is how: I stitched the bias binding’s one long side to sleeve side of the armhole seam, trimmed seam, pressed the binding to the dress side and hand stitched it to the lining only. That is, it’s not a free-standing seam but is sewn flatly down. I kinda like this.
The neckline, a square with rounded corners, was easy. The same black, satiny rayon-y fabric was used to create a bias strip, and finished the neck edge with a “bias facing”! Steam shaping was involved…. maybe I’ll visit this in another post.
In keeping with the “couture” vibe of this sewing project, the dress hem was done by following instructions from my haute couture guru, Claire Shaeffer, in her book “Couture Sewing Techniques”. A strip of wigan (stiff cotton interfacing) was “invisibly” sewn to the inside of the hem, the hem turned up and hand stitched to the interfacing. Result: a somewhat rounded edge. The lining hem was stitched on the machine using a blind hem foot.
To prevent the lining from moving around and bunching up inside, the high-end RTW and “couture people” make a chain stitch running from wrong side of lining to wrong side of dress just above the hem, Well, at this point I went from haute couture mode to a peasant mindset and stitched up thin 4 inch strips of lining fabric, which were then used to attach the dress and lining loosely in the waist area and the hem area.
There you have it. Record breaking PSP (okay, UFO) finished in 2013. What are your thoughts on sewing projects that have been pending for say, 18 years, 5 years, a month? Thoughts? Questions? For commenting, click on the little balloon with a number, just under the title.
PS: I’m still working through the tech aspects of this blog, which is why you do not see some widgets and things I would like to add. Soon, very soon……
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