Back in November I wrote about finally locating some lovely pink and navy blue silk, which I had squirreled away after never making it up in the pattern I had purchased for it. Both the fabric and that pattern date from the late 1980s, and I must have known even then that this beautiful silk deserved a better dress design than was available during that era of big shoulders and more big shoulders.
So when I found this pattern in my size on eBay several months ago, it seemed destined to be interpreted in my pink and navy silk.
Specifically, I envisioned it made in the sleeveless version in pink, with a contrasting navy blue yoke (and without the side slits). I had just the right yardage of navy silk to accomplish this feat, and plenty of pink. Not only that, I knew an event was approaching when I would want to wear a dress of some elegance. What could be more perfect than that? The right fabric and pattern matched with incentive gets the project underway in a jiffy. My affair with Pierre (as in Cardin) was about to begin.
(Interestingly enough, back on February 25, this article ran in The Wall Street Journal, featuring some Spring dress designs from Victoria Beckham. Does the look of the pink and black dress seem familiar?):
Well, as is often the case with sewing, nothing is quite as easy as it first appears. The pattern called for an underlining and a lining. (Hm-m-m-m, I thought, this could get time-intensive!) Because I did not want to interfere with the fluidity of the silk fabric, I knew I needed an underlining fabric with minimal weight, but good stability. I found just the perfect thing from Dharma Trading Co.: rayon voile. I ordered what I needed (and then some extra yardage for future projects), and it seemed like about two hours later it arrived. Actually it was two days later, but considering it was being shipped across the continent from California to Pennsylvania, that’s what I call excellent service!
During those two days, I headed off to Joann Fabrics to find lining fabric, thread, zipper and hem tape. I was delighted to find Gutermann silk thread in a pink which perfectly matched my fabric. While a pink lining fabric to match was sadly elusive, I went with a navy blue lining fabric instead.
I made the dress lining first, and it was kind of nice to have this part of the dress sewn and set aside until needed. I did my normal basting of the underlining to the silk as shown here.
The scallop detail called for stuffing with lambs wool, but I used two layers of drapery weight flannel instead. This small section of the dress took a long time to complete.
I put the zipper in by hand, and understitched the neck and arm facings by hand as well, to make a nice, neat finish. The pattern called for the lining to be sewn in place by hand, so my fingers were certainly doing a lot of stitching! About this time I was beginning to wonder why I always make things so complicated. Here is the hand sewn zipper application.
When I purchased the pattern it came complete with a Vogue label, which I was only too happy to apply to the inside neck edge as the finishing touch!
Yes – I completed the dress in time to wear for the intended event!
The good news, other than the fact that this dress is finished? Two things – one being that I still have enough pink silk to make a skirt or a blouse, not sure which yet. The other is that I can start another project now that my fling with Pierre is happily over!