A Three Piece Outfit for the Holidays, Part 3: The Sash

The sash started it all. After finishing this silk taffeta coat last year, I was left with about 1 and ½ yards of that luscious coral fabric.

I just could not stand the thought of having that yardage sitting in my fabric closet, unused, as I found it so delightful to sew and to wear. That is when I got the idea to combine this fabric with the Guipure lace, also sharing space in that closet of wonders. However, my first thought was to make a blouse from the fabric and also use it as the fashion fabric for a lace skirt, knowing I would need at least one more yard to accomplish this plan. I contacted Britex Fabrics, from whence the fabric came, and to my dismay, they were sold out, with no more available to special order. Undeterred, I then came up with the idea of coordinating fabrics for the blouse and skirt, and using the coral silk to tie it all together. After receiving swatches of several silks from Britex, I settled on the bronzy brown and the apricot colored fabrics for the skirt and blouse, respectively.

A sash should really be straightforward, right? Well, yes; however, I thought it would be good if the sash had a slight curve to it to follow the curvature over the upper hip. That’s when I went to my closet and pulled out a silk sash that I purchased from J. Crew years ago. I had remembered correctly that it had a slight curve to it:

I often think of the tip in the book 101 Things I Learned in Fashion School, page 86: “When in doubt, look in your closet.” Looking at something that is “Ready to Wear” will often help you with construction methods or design ideas.

The J. Crew sash is 72 inches long. A trial tying of the bow proved to me that I needed to add more length to the sash if I wanted to tie a full bow at the waist, which was my intent. I determined that adding 12 inches would do the trick. Then I used that sash as a template to make a pattern, not quite knowing how sewing that long, slow curve was going to work (the sash has one long seam on the concave side of the curve, meaning that some give would need to be worked into that seam.) As it turned out, ironing was the trick to get it to behave correctly, as is so often the case!

84″ proved to be the perfect length to tie a complete bow.

I had to piece the sash in the center back, but I knew that ahead of time and it really does not bother me.

After trying on this completed outfit for the photos, I know that I need to somehow tighten up the interior waist of the skirt (you many recall from my last post, that I added what turned out to be unnecessary width to the circumference of the waist.) My blouse is not going to stay tucked in if I don’t, and the skirt feels like it is drooping on me. I am going to try adding interior waist elastic to straddle the side seams and see if that might do the trick. I am not about to take the skirt apart and remake it! And the sash should help conceal any bobbles in the waistline.

The “concealed zipper.”

It was cold and blustery when I took these photos! I could not wait to get back inside for a cup of hot tea!

Sewing for the holidays is such an anticipatory activity, and one that I love to do. There is already a festive feeling in the air here in late November, and so much more to sew…

27 Comments

Filed under Blouses, Bows as design feature, Fashion commentary, Lace, Silk taffeta, Uncategorized

27 responses to “A Three Piece Outfit for the Holidays, Part 3: The Sash

  1. Karen, I used the side elastic trick with Girl#2’s skirts for years, and it generally works great to tighten things up just a bit. For 1-2 inches total, it barely shows!

  2. What a festive outfit, indeed. It’s a wonderful colour combination.

  3. Debbie Hixenbaugh

    Love the outfit! Going to try my first guipure lace skirt after the first of the year!

  4. Mery

    What a marvelous holiday outfit, and that touch of hairbow color adds just the right accent. What a fun way to start the holiday season. Hmmm, an extra inch or so in waistline of holiday attire…perhaps your subconscious had visions of sugarplums. If the rest of your holiday sewing projects are one-tenth this good, they’ll be great.

  5. Karen Mizzi

    I absolutely love the whole ensemble and that bow fabric is so luscious. I love it when it all comes together.

  6. Beautiful colours! You’ve got a lovely outfit there.

  7. Absolutely stunning colour combination-knockout! [And I wish I had a waist!]

  8. Now I am back to just enjoy this fabric! The shimmery silks lend an elegance that makes it perfect for the holidays, and your use of these colors give it a unique twist on the gold family. The coral sash sends it from an elegant evening ensemble suitable to wear year round, to extra special celebration mode. ♥️

  9. Ruth Murphy

    It is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

  10. The sash is gorgeous Karen and pulls two lovely items together. I have always loved this colour scheme of warm corals, browns and yellowy looks. And I remember now that my lace skirt was a little wide in the waist and it drove me mad. As it is heavy anyway it dropped down and looked too long. I had to redo it!

    • Thanks, Kate. Good for you for redoing your skirt. I just could not face that right now! So, hoping the elastic will help. It’s kind of helpful to know someone else had the same issue with this type of skirt.

  11. Laureen Larrison

    Love the colors!

  12. Marguerite

    Gorgeous as always! I love the colors and the lace. With so many over blouses and tops around it’s refreshing to see a tucked in blouse. And with a sash to boot! Lovely.

  13. The three tones of silk coordinate beautifully and are much more interesting than using matching fabrics. For the skirt waist you might try Mrs. Mole’s trick of using twill tape to snug up the top edge of strapless gowns. Her latest posts demonstrate the technique (fitforaqueen.com). I sympathize with you about not wanting to undo hours and hours of work on that georgeous lace.

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