Friday, August 12, 2011

Sapphire Gown: Underdress

The sewing bonanza last weekend was uber-productive, and I finished the underdress construction on Saturday with a quick nip to my sewing room at home on Sunday to attach the lining. It's really, really simple:

As it stands, I could actually wear this on its own--it just needs zipper and hem. But once I get those elements complete, the real fun of draping the chiffon overdress and creating a mini-bustle begins. Because as is? It's a touch boring.

I tried the dress on for fit last night and to get the zipper placement worked out:

Yay! It fits!

Things that worked well so far:

1) I created a boned foundation piece for the first time with this dress, and I'm thrilled with it. I've never used plastic boning in a garment before (I use steel for 18th century stuff most of the time). Despite the fact that little Edith, my sewing machine, faints at the sight of sewing anything thicker than a couple layers of satin and I had to hand-stitch all the boning, the results are worth it--much more support and the gown just hangs better. It was super-simple, and even if a gown pattern doesn't include a foundation piece, you can just use the lining pattern, cut two of each pattern piece cropped at the waist and stitch the boning between them. The pattern I used called for interfacing in the foundation piece as well, but I didn't include this--I think, after finishing, that this was the right call, as instead of the boning curving when I wear the dress to my natural waistline, the whole effect would have been stiffer and less natural-looking.

2) This pattern went together swimmingly. Even the princess seams, which I usually have a little fight with. It's an out-of-print Vogue wedding gown pattern.

3) It is such fun sewing with a friend! There were three of us gathered around her dining room table, our sewing machines all whirring away happily as we chatted and watched one another's progress. Only downside? My flood of navy satin kept trying to take over the table.

4) The fact that I'm not even making a "things that didn't go well" list. Yep, this part was that easy. I expect that the zipper will come to life and try to eat the dress or something, because no sewing project is without a mini-disaster.

Pardon the mannequin arms. And the giant bruise on my shoulder--I managed to shut my arm in my friend's car trunk unloading groceries for our sewing bonanza. Nothing beats a leisurely lunch of fresh bread and Camembert to keep the sewing energy up!

How are your projects coming along?


anachronist said...

Oh it looks great even though it is not finished! Congratulations !!! Zipper is always a tricky thing and you managed to sew it in without a hitch! I hope your bruise doesn't give you too much grief.

Connie Keller said...


Now that Shakespeare costumes are done, I have two pieces of plaid wool that are calling my name. Time to go pattern shopping--my favorite part.

Anonymous said...

Rowenna, its really beautiful and the midnight blue is so perfect. Have a look at and see the lapiz lazuli necklace that Princess Kate wore that would look perfect with it. Matching earrings.