Summer is quickly slipping away, but before it does, I will share one quintessentially summer dress which I made back in July. It ticks off a number of features which make it “Summer Seasonal”: it is sleeveless, it is a bright color, and it is linen.
I found this vintage piece of Moygashel linen a few years ago on eBay. Always a pushover for vintage Moygashel, I purchased it, not quite knowing what shade of green it would be. I was expecting a lime green, but when it arrived it was “lime green meets mint,” a color reminiscent of the early 1960s. Actually, not just reminiscent – an actual survivor from that period of time. The width of the fabric was only 35” which was a dead giveaway that this fabric is from the early part of that decade. Shortly thereafter, Moygashel began to be woven in 45” widths. Fortunately I had three yards, which compensated for the dearth of width.
To keep with the early ‘60’s vibe, I decided to line it in pink. Although I usually line linen with a cotton batiste or cotton/linen lightweight blend, I decided to treat this dress a little bit differently. I do not often use Bemberg for lining, usually preferring silk, but this lovely, time-tested 100% rayon lining just seemed to be the right choice. (Why? I knew the seam allowances of the bright green linen would not show through the tightly woven Bemberg lining, AND it would be a comfortable, lightweight and slinky fabric with which to line a summer dress.) I ordered what I thought would be a medium pink, but when it arrived, it was more of a very deep rose. What to do? I hemmed and hawed, I thought about ordering a different hue of pink, I even thought about abandoning the pink idea and just using a white crepe de chine I had on hand. Why I was agonizing so much over the color of the lining had to do with my thought if the dress turned out well, I would enter it in the County Fair. I knew not everyone would “understand” such a deeply contrasted lining. But not wanting to waste money and fabric – and time! – I finally decided just to go with the dark pink, shown a few pictures below.
I used this sheath dress pattern again, as I am so fond of the double shaping darts in the bodice front and the real kick-pleat.
I underlined the dress in silk organza so that I could eliminate facings and have an invisible application of the lining. (The silk organza underlining gives one a base upon which to tack and secure stitches which do not show on the fashion fabric.)
I surprisingly found a zipper which was almost a perfect match to the green linen, and I did a hand-picked lapped application.
Once I had the lining fell-stitched in place around the neckline and the armholes, I under-stitched those areas in waxed and ironed white thread. (I used white to quiet down the deep pink!) Using this technique keeps the lining in place. The under-stitching is attached to the silk organza underlining only, not the fashion fabric, as explained above.
To complete the early 1960s’ essence of this dress, I can pair it with a vintage ‘60s’ Guillemin scarf, also found on eBay. The pink in the scarf doesn’t match the pink lining, but since the lining does not show, it only matters to me (and now all of you also know this little fact!)
So how did I do with this dress as an entry in the County Fair? It was awarded a Red Ribbon in the Adult Division, which was lovely. The day was “saved” however, when dresses I made for my granddaughters each won Blue Ribbons (and one of them won Best of Division).
Good Summer memories, all of them.
Completing the Pink Coat Ensemble
Although I hope to wear my pink wool coat (completed Spring of 2019) with various dresses and skirts, I particularly wanted to make a skirt which would coordinate with it. That way I would have a “planned” ensemble. I envisioned a petite pink-and-gray houndstooth wool, or a mini-checked pink-and-gray wool. After a wide search and coming up empty-handed, I was just about convinced I was not going to find either of those two fabrics, at least not in the time frame I planned. And then I found a lightweight wool and silk blend on the website of Farmhouse Fabrics. It was a variegated gray and oyster-white plaid with a pink pinstripe running through it on the cross-grain. Although it looked lovely on my computer screen, I wasn’t sure it would fit my needs, so I ordered a swatch. From the swatch I could see its beautiful quality – and its perfect colors – so my search was over.
I am so accustomed to using silk organza as my underlining, but the incredible softness and delicacy of this fabric made me think twice. I thought silk organza would undermine the fluidity of the wool/silk blend, so I decided to use a very lightweight cotton batiste instead. Using the Susan Khalje pattern for which I already had a toile (yay!), I made a very simple straight skirt. Just for fun I decided to line it in pink silk charmeuse. I had some in stock as I had used it for the pocket linings in my pink coat. I also lined the waistband, which I like to do when sewing with wool.
The pink charmeuse lining is my unseen homage to this color which I love so much.
I inserted a lapped zipper by hand in the center back seam.
I angled the center back vent toward the center back seam so that it will hang evenly when I am wearing the skirt.
It is easy to see the angle on the vent with this particular fabric.
One side of the vent folded back.
When I cut out the lining for the coat, I maneuvered the pattern pieces to give me a long narrow length of the silk, which I made into a scarf.
Paired with a V-neck gray sweater, it proves to be the perfect accessory. As Christian Dior said in The Little Dictionary of Fashion, “In many cases, a scarf gives a final touch to a dress.”
It’s a nice combination of colors!
The scarf is a pretty addition to the coat, I think.
It is rewarding to see my vision become reality!
So, now the big question, one which I have been asking myself frequently as of late, “When and where will I be wearing this lovely ensemble?” It seems life is just so despairingly casual now, affording few opportunities to wear pretty dresses and skirts and specialty coats. I try to buck the trend when I have the place and time to do so – and I have yet to feel like I have been overdressed. Of course, Christian Dior had something to say about this, too. “Generally it is very bad to be overdressed, but I think that in certain circumstances it is very impolite and wrong to be underdressed.” I could not agree more and personally prefer to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. How about you? I do hope my pink coat, paired with this gray skirt, will prove to be the perfect dressing for many occasions. I am certain I will enjoy wearing them.
Filed under Christian Dior, Coats, Fashion commentary, hand-sewn zippers, Linings, Scarves, Straight skirts, Uncategorized, underlinings
Tagged as Christian Dior, coats, couture construction, Farmhouse Fabrics, fashion sewing, scarves, Straight skirts