Orsola in Silk

As soon as I saw the Orsola dress pattern, I knew I had to jump on board and make my own. Rather than start simple, I went straight on as complicated as I could make it: silk charmeuse.

So, it took me about 6 tries before I decided the By Hand London method of doing an FBA on the Orsola bodice wasn’t working for me. Maybe it was the pattern, maybe it was the method. Any who, I decided to use the Basic Bodice from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. This took about 4 attempts before finally gaining a good fit. Hooray! It ended up being so simple: traced the size 8 neckline and armscye, then graded to a size 10 for the darts and waistline before lowering the side bust dart 1″ and moving the bottom busy dart towards the center 1/2″ to match my apex point. The Curvy Collective has the best tutorial. The final change I ad pinched 1/2″ out of the armscye using this tutorial from Craftsy.

Here is my Frankenpattern, ;).

After perfecting my bodice fit, I then adjusted the neckline and armscye to match the Orsola bodice front and used the Orsola back pieces with no adjustments. After putting them together in silk, I would pinch out about an inch of fabric from the tops of the side backs. As I had already cut and stitched the silk together, I basically just gathered the top edges of the back pieces so they wouldn’t flop open while wearing it.

Now the actual construction… I understand why everyone comments on the darts. Between the front, back, inside, and outside pieces, so many! Also, I decided to use a silk charmeuse…so about as slippery and lightweight as you can use. I made this a little easier by marking lots of points along each dart to reduce error to fabric slipperiness. Of course I hand knot the thread at the top of the dart (pointed end), but I backstitch at the end of the dark (edge of fabric).

After doing all the darts, putting the bodice pieces wasn’t too tricky except my server didn’t quite cut off enough of the seam allowance, so I struggled getting the seams to iron flat. Also, my silk did not want to iron, so I under-stitched as much of the bodice as I could. This helped so much! Plus lots and lots of ironing, then pressing the pieces with my wooden ruler until the fabric had cooled.

Here are a couple images of my bodice progress. Love having a made to my measurements dress form, :). (It’s from Bootstrap Fashion).

Next part: the skirt pieces. This part was so much easier than the bodice. Still some darts, but not as many, and only single layers as the skirt isn’t lined. I french seamed the skirt sides so that there weren’t any pesky strands unraveling. I loved the look of the tulip hem, so I made that version. Pretty simple. I stitched the facings together, then pinned them to my skirt. I skipped the ironing the seam allowance of the non-skirt attached side as I decided to just serge that off after stitching the facing to the skirt. I made sure to mark the dot of the v of the tulip hem in the front. Then I trimmed the seam allowance down to about 1/4″, ironed it really well to the inside of the skirt. Then I serged the excess 5/8″ seam allowance for the inside and top stitched the facing down.

As for the waistband, I decided to interface the waist parts with lightweight interfacing to add a little extra structure, but not the tie ends because I want to leave those softer for tying. Also, I decided to edge-stitch my color blocked waistband because 1) I didn’t want to hand stitch it, 2) time constraints, and 3) my silk was not ironing very well.

Pinning took awhile, but worth it!

I love this dress! I like the line’s of the bodice (next time I’ll use something easier like rayon or polyester) and the skirt. I love By Hand London’s circle skirt hack though, so I see a possibility of one of those versions…



Seamwork Savannah in Silk

Yay! I’ve finally made a camisole that is almost perfect, ;). I’ve had this Seamwork Savannah on my to-make list for awhile. For anyone not currently a subscriber, you can use my referral link for half off your first month (usually $6/month, so only $3 for 2 patterns!). I love Seamwork’s patterns. Overall fairly easy and simple quick projects that look great! I have quite a few on my list but was really excited to finally get this one made ever since I had some leftover silk from previous projects.

My first attempt at making a 3″ dartless FBA failed so I decided to try again using a 4″ FBA and adding bust darts. The 3″ wasn’t enough room but the 4″ fits much better! And the darts help with the shaping. I used this tutorial. The only thing I need to change for the next one is to move the darts up about an inch and start about 1″ further to the side, but could just be partially the bra I was wearing as the fit was much better over another.

I had to take in the sides a little bit (pinched out 3/4″ darts) before finishing up my french seams. Definitely a must on a silk camisole. French seams take a little extra time but result in such a nice finish. I also used my fancy new narrow hem foot to hem the neckline and bottom before sewing everything together. On this version I opted to not use the recommended lace trim.

Then I ran into the fact that the scoop of the back was much too low for my personal tastes, so following a similar design feature on the Aurora tank on the back on my camisole and it worked out really well and I think it looks pretty great. Not sure why my skin tone is so crazy!

Overall, I am pretty happy with how my fancy new silk camisole turned out. So shiny! Love silk charmeuse.

Colette Dahlia Version 2 in Silk

I’ll apologize in advance for two posts two days in a row but I was just so excited to finish this dress, ;).

This is the Dahlia by Colette, a gorgeous pattern. My initial plan was to try to make a copy cat of their green silk dress but then I saw this beautiful blue silk from the local shop Textile Fabrics that is more of a lining but I think it makes a great summer dress. They are having their pre-moving close-out sale with everything 60% off!

Tah-dah! Overall the pattern was really easy to follow. It took some time as I decided to finish all the seams using a French seam and then at one point I accidentally attached the front skirt panels wrong. So I had to re-cut those pieces, thankfully I had enough leftover fabric, and redid the front pieces. I’d already cut, trimmed, and French seamed them. So taking them apart wasn’t really an option. I did make a small full bust adjustment of 1″. I made up a trial version using the regular pattern but was a little too tight so I’m glad I made the adjustment. Colette has a wonderful sew-a-long with lots of great tutorials for both versions of this dress. Her bust adjustment tutorial was so easy to follow. I just did the waist gathers only version since it was only 1″. I also underlined the top pieces and the yoke pieces for added fabric strength and also for modesty. It is a very thin fabric. I didn’t have enough to underline to skirt panels but it’s easy enough to wear a half slip under it.

And my invisible zipper work. I ordered an invisible zipper foot and am so glad I did! It made the process 10 times smoother, as did properly ironing the coils open. Threads’ guide to seam finishes for silk was very helpful in selecting the best seams for my garment. As mentioned earlier I used French seams for the dress, but not really an option with zippers, ;). For the zipper seam I turned them in under the zipper tape and sewed them to the zipper tape to keep those pesky fringes under control. I also overcast the edges of the seams before doing this. Looks pretty, doesn’t it?

And voila, a beautiful invisible zipper. Only had to take the zipper out once due to massively not matching up the seams of the yoke, but all fixed.
This one took some time, but only because I wanted to make it look really nice and finished. For the hem I turned it down to the inside 1/4″ and stitched it down, then turned it under another 1/2″ and put in a blind hem using my blind hem stitch on my machine.

This is the back. Another small change I made was to mark off 3″ for the front bias strap and 1″ for the back. Looks great!

And so versatile! I can dress it up for work or a night out by adding a lace shrug (made this one using So Sew Easy’s pattern).


Or a little more casual with my knitted Vianne cardigan, ;).

Or wear it alone on a hot summer day like yesterday! Whew it was hot yesterday, heat index of 114!

And as always, need to explore and check things out, plus a pretty side view, ;).

Overall I really love this pattern. It is simple with beautiful lines and very versatile. I definitely plan to make a wool version of version 1 for the Fall, :). My only regret is that this silk wrinkles so easy, but it also dries super quick!