Imagination meets reality

Ah, dear reader… when we last met, I was off to play with my sewing machine and a variety of silk and metallic threads.  Skip, hop, jump,  and what a cheerful night it was!    I took my teal colored Thai silk,

Alanna Nelson creates custom formal dressesbacked it with Sulky’s Solvy water soluble stabilizer and popped it into an embroidery hoop.  I tried circles, straight lines, zig zags, couching, free motion.  I had collected Kreinik Japan Thread #7 and some embroidery braid from In Stitches and the Silk Sampler set  from Superior Threads. Hmm.  The silk sampler set was a lot of fun, and I”m definitely excited about using their Kimono thread as a bobbin thread for couching.

From the night of play, it looked like I would choose a few simple motifs: lozenges inside parallel lines and perhaps a hand of Fatima.  Symbols of protection and good tidings sound like auspicious choices for an evening dress.  Hopefully this would protect me from the possibilities of a big mess.

Alanna Nelson creates textiles with historic symbols

From the web site,

And so it seemed: a long wrap skirt decorated with metallic embroidery topped with a portrait colored blouse with princess seams. More machine embroidery would follow the princess lines of the dress.

I coasted to bed that night a bit apprehensive about my machine embroidery skills (I’d much rather do this by hand), and ready to read New England’s sources of Kreinik’s Japan Threads.

Then imagination met reality.

My four yards of Thai silk was really 2 pieces of 2 yards, with a very strange discoloration about 6 inches in from the selvedge, not immediately noticeable, but there were also some different tensions in the weaving, leaving striations in the fabric.  Careful piecing on the horizon.  Hmm.  And I remembered the silk velvet dress I made in 2004, thanks to the able pattern drafting skills of Theresa Andrew, custom dressmaker in Milan (after 25 years in the business, she’s moved onto the world of translation).  A Vintage Vogue pattern from 1934.

vogue2609  Oops, sorry, you’ll need to click.  I scanned and saved it to pdf and not jpeg.

The last time we made this, Theresa and I decided that all of those godets were an invitation to misery for my dress made of bias cut silk velvet.  So we turned the dress into a high low hem, creating the flare in each piece of the princess seamed dress.  We also incorporated the cape into the center front panel.

Instead of tying at the back, I wanted to create a flowing cap sleeve that attached at the dress back.  Pulling out Pellon non woven pattern paper, I traced out the pattern piece from my velvet dress and put it on Ducky, my trusty duck tape torso.  Snip, snip and my muslin was cut out.  I planned on sewing a set of snaps to the modified cape in order to attach it to the back of the dress.  Fortunately, sizing was the same from 8 years ago ;)!

The original pattern shaping is on the left. The modified pattern is on the right.

I lined the dress with teal colored silk habutai. It was time to cut the real thing!