After all my worry that this dress was either too simple or to fuddy-duddy, it turned out fine. It was at the same formality as the other bridesmaids, maybe even a little higher.
I'm so spoiled now that I've worked with silk charmeuse. Yes, it was difficult to cut, even sandwiched between two layers of paper, my lines weren't straight. But, oh, how it feels on my skin! I keep trying to convince myself that of course I can afford $50 a yard for fabric for all my clothes. Of course I can't, but I wish I could.
Never having worked with this fabric, I did some learning on the way. I knew I wanted the skirt longer than the dress skirt, even though it was from the same pattern because the dress skirt was a little too short for my psychological comfort.
So I used hem tape to give myself as long a skirt as possible. Bad idea. I hand stitched all 3 yards of the hem and then realized the hem tape was too stiff for the fabric. So I took it all out and hand stitched it again.
Also, I ended up sewing the elastic waist three times before I figured out how to use my new machine without stretching out the fold-over elastic. That's a lot of seam ripping, trying not to damage either the elastic nor the silk!
I tell you, walking foot aside, my pre-1983 Kenmore didn't give me nearly as much trouble with elastic or flimsy fabrics as my brand new Janome. With my Kenmore, I can start any fabric within 0.25 of an inch of the edge and most fabrics right at the edge if I hold the threads. With the Janome, with the zig-zag plate in, I need to start nearly 0.5 inches from the edge or use paper to get things going. Really not happy with that part, but I'm adjusting.
I made the silk skirt and camisole so that they could be worn as a dress on their own. I also used bra-strap elastic inside the camisole straps. I've yet to be able to sew on non-elastic and non-adjustable straps that don't slide off my shoulders. The elastic pulls the camisole up a little higher than I intended, but at least the straps stay up. The camisole is bias-cut which gives it more ease than an on-grain cut, which isn't intuitive to me since it's the exact same number of inches, but after three muslins in sheeting, I determined that is, indeed, the case.
I pre-washed the silk so that the garment will be washable.
I also figured out the problem with the belt closure and fixed that.
Even though it was hot and humid, I was not uncomfortable with the silk under-layer.
Both these dresses are hacks of the Bronx dress.
Special finishings on these two pieces:
- Pockets in both skirts
- Hand-crocheted belt loops
- Hand-stitched hems, even on the camisole
- Bra-strap keepers on the dress