Floral Silk Girly Dress

Whenever I have been invited to an occasion, the first thing I think of is “what am I going to wear?”. The next thing I think of is “what can I sew for myself to wear” as I love to make clothing and I love wearing things that are unique and nobody else has in their closet. From there, I pull up my pattern stash archive, pay a visit to my fabric stash (or the fabric store if I really don’t have the appropriate fabric to work with) and get started planning and sewing my outfit.

For this occasion, I was invited to a wedding of a lovely bridal alterations client who had become a friend over our many dress fittings and consultations of her beautiful wedding gown. The major part of her dress that I altered was her complicated and intricate bustle of her train that I she dreamed up and I created for her. Originally, as I fiddled and fussed to get her train bustled just right at one of her fittings, I said to her “I’ll just hide in the bushes at your wedding venue, you give me the signal when you are ready, and I’ll sneak out and help you bustle, then disappear back into the bushes and let you be on your way to the reception”. She would have none of that and insisted that I attend the wedding as her guest, and enjoy the entire ceremony plus be ready to bustle…DEAL!

So, being the alteration seamstress of honor at this wedding, I just had to have something special and handmade to wear! Not having all the time in the world to be sewing for myself with the very busy post-Covid wedding season upon us and other alterations and custom sewing client projects literally piling up in my sewing studio, I decided to make a dress that I have made before (a huge time and energy saver!) and use fabric that I had in my stash from Mill End Store in Portland, OR.

I pulled out this lovely pattern from Butterick that I had already cut out and made fit alterations to the pattern for a dress that I made a couple of years ago:

Butterick 6554 pattern

I made view C, the halter neck, ruffled and flounce dress that wraps and ties to the side.

This time around, I decided to fully line the dress (instead of using the bodice facing from the pattern), meaning I cut out the entire dress, the bodice and the skirt pieces, less the flounces, in both the outer, floral silk georgette fabric and the silk lining that I also had in my fabric stash. Cutting silk, especially sheer, floaty slippery silk, is NOT easy if you’ve ever tried. It slips all over the place and misbehaves in as many ways as it can, just to drive you nuts and practically give up before you even started. But, since it was SO pretty and soft, I did my best to battle it and tackle it into submission, knowing in the end it was going to be incredible and worth it all.

The silk draped so innocently on my dress form
Anchored down and ready to cut!

So the sewing begins!

Making a tiny hem to the ruffled edge

It all went pretty well and the fact that I had made it before, I knew what to expect from the pattern instructions.

The most difficult and time consuming part was making the narrow hem on the long outside edge of the flounce that would be attached at the bottom of the skirt. Check out this pattern piece that is over 110 inches long. Yikes!

After tackling that beast, the dress was nearly done and I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Having a major deadline to hit, and other clients banging down my door and begging me to help them with their last-minute bridal requests, I finished up my dress and just got ‘er done.

One last thing I added to the dress was lightweight foam bra cups sewn into the bodice lining as that sheer stuff certainly wasn’t going to hide my bits. Thank goodness I had some on hand in my supply stash and I was able to swiftly hand sew them into my dress, no problem! Confidence boosters for boobs-horray!

Bra cups sewn in saved any wardrobe malfunctions!

I just have to share the insides of the dress with the lovely silk lining!

Here I cheated and used my serger to attach the waist of the bodice to the skirt and hide the raw edges.
The skirt lining that ends just above the flounce

So off we went to the wedding, leaving enough time to stop at one of our favorite spots in the wine country of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, The Allison Inn and Spa, to snap some photos and have a glass of champagne and a light cheese plate before the wedding. Perfect!

Let’s go up there, that’s where the champagne is served!
The lovely snack we shared over a glass of wine and champagne!
Watch that breeze!

As much as I enjoy the entire process of making a new dress, it feels so good to be done with this one, wear it to a fun wedding (and not have to hide in the bushes!) and hang it up on my wardrobe for another occasion.

Until next time, cheers!

Vogue 8847 Silk Crepe Shirtdress

Vogue 8847 in Silk Crepe de Chine

Vogue 8847 in Silk Crepe de Chine

I made up this nice shirt dress in a nice Liberty silk crepe de chine print using Vogue 8847 pattern (now out print unfortunately).

Vogue 8847 pattern photo

Vogue 8847 pattern photo

Vogue 8847 line drawing

Vogue 8847 line drawing

It was not too bad of a pattern to sew, it took me a couple of weeks over weekends and evenings after work. The pattern features a stand up collar, open placket, self-lined yoke, long sleeve gathered into a barrel cuff and self belt. I chose to not add the pockets because the fabric I used was pretty light and delicate, and I thought that the pockets would just weigh down the dress, especially if I had my hands in them.

I made View A essentially for the collar style and the length of the dress, modifying the hem to be just straight across instead of curved at the front, split at the sides and straight at the back as the pattern features.

I added 2 inches to the front and back pattern pieces of the dress in order to have enough length in the torso and for the dress to “blouse” when I belted it:

Added 2" in length to the front and back pattern pieces

Added 2″ in length to the front and back pattern pieces

I cut out the pattern pieces of the dress as best I could, not really following the pattern cutting layout for view A, which calls for an insane amount of fabric, essentially 6-7 yards of fabric, if using a border print. I just went by view B to estimate the amount of fabric to purchase, more like 3 1/2 yards of 45″ wide material.

Instead of using sew-in or fusible interfacing, I used silk organza to interface the front facing and the collar. This was a great suggestion from the sales associate at Josephine’s Dry Goods, the wonderful fabric store where I purchased the material.

used in the front facing and collar pieces

silk organza used in the front facing and collar pieces as interfacing

I used hand basting with silk thread to baste the front facing to the front of the dress:

front facing basting stitches to mark the cutting line

front facing basting stitches to mark the cutting line

One part of the instructions were missing, the step between 11 and 12, where you are to sew the yoke back to the yoke front, attaching the front of the dress to the back of the dress, so that is something to take note of.

It took some time and careful pinning to get the gathers at the yoke just right:

Using many pins to gather the yoke.

I love how this dress turned out and am quite happy with the results! It is a lovely, casual yet elegant dress to wear and I just love this Liberty printed silk!

Back view of Vogue 8847 dress

Back view of Vogue 8847 dress

Side view of dress

Side view of dress

This dress reminds me of some dress styles that I have been saving in my sewing inspiration files like these:

Joie "Marlola" silk shirtdress $358

Joie “Marlola” silk shirtdress $358

Open placket dress Zulily

Open placket dress Zulily

DVF Silk Freya dress $398

Diane von Furstenberg Silk Freya dress $398

Printed shirt dress

Piperline Collection printed silk gathered shirtdress with pockets

I am sure I will get a lot of wear out of this dress, and would be more than willing to make it again:

V8847 side front

V8847 side front

IMAG3373

This photo really makes the fabric look blue!

Wearing my new silk dress!

Wearing my new silk dress!

Me enjoying my new fabulous silk dress!

Me enjoying my new fabulous silk dress!