Silk to the Max!

Do you ever spot a fabric that you want desperately, but don’t really know what to do with?  I usually try not to buy fabric if I can’t come up with a specific plan for it as I don’t really have the space to store it, so I said no to this amazing silk crepe de chine TWICE.  Finally, on a third visit to Mood Fabrics NYC, I had a vision of myself wearing it from head to toe and snatched it up to make a maxi dress! Editor’s note: Take a look at all the silk crepe de chines we have at MoodFabrics.com.

silk crepe de chine maxi dress Mood Fabrics

I know in my heart that “less is more” is a good mantra, but I’m just more of a “go big or go home” gal!  I will probably scare people and stand out like a lunatic when I wear this, but the bright colors really make me happy. I found out on Instagram that Oona picked out the same pattern and a fun silk print for her Mood project this month, and we decided to embrace it as a happy coincidence instead of pouting like two girls in the same prom dress (which totally happened to me at my junior prom!  My senior year I begged my mom to make me a dress so I knew I’d be the only one wearing it).

silk crepe de chine maxi dress Mood Fabrics

The fabric was really nice to work with, especially compared to the silk charmeuse I used earlier this month to line a jacket.  I used my walking foot, which helped to keep things from shifting around, and I pinked my facing to keep it from showing through on the front of the dress.  I also stabilized the zipper opening seam allowances before I inserted the zipper, which makes it way easier to avoid rippling in a fabric this light.  You can baste strips of organza to the seam allowances, or you can iron on some fusible interfacing.  I’ve had good luck with both of these methods (but please share if you have a better/different way!).

silk crepe de chine maxi dress Mood Fabrics

I used the By Hand London Anna Dress pattern, a new one from an independent pattern company.  It’s a little hard to see the design lines in this wild print, but it has a seven-gored skirt and pleats below the bust instead of darts.  One of the most daunting things about sewing a maxi dress is the amount of fabric that’s required, but I was able to fit everything onto 3 yards of this 60″ fabric.  I had a really hard time deciding on the hem length.  I wanted a really dramatic, ground-sweeping hem, but the thought of dragging this lovely fabric around on filthy NYC sidewalks just didn’t seem right, so I sacrificed a bit of the length for the sake of cleanliness.  I feel like I took off too a little much length, but I could hem and haw about this for ages and not be totally content, so I’m choosing to just move on with my life!

silk crepe de chine maxi dress Mood Fabrics

This dress is a bit of a departure from my usual style, but it’s really fun to wear.  I felt like I should be going to a fancy dinner in Waikiki when I put it on for the first time!  Hmm, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii…  Sadly, no trips for me in the near future, so I’ll have to settle for posing in front of my neighbor’s hibiscus, but if I close my eyes, I can *almost* feel the ocean breeze.  :)

silk crepe de chine maxi dress Mood Fabrics

I really enjoyed making this dress, and I’m so glad that I waited before buying this fabric because I like this project way more than I like my original half-baked ideas for this fabric.

How about you guys?  Do you buy fabric without a concrete plan in mind, and if so, do you cut into it right away?  Do you give special fabrics time to tell you what they want to become?  Or am I the only crazy lady muttering to my fabric stash, “What do you want to be when you grow up, my pretties?”  Please don’t say I am…

52

Comments


  • Clare Szabo
    August 28, 2013

    I love this version of the Anna. The colours are incredible and look so good on you. I love it! I don’t think I ever really have a plan. Sometimes I just see some fabric and I have to grab it and hug it to my chest and say “you’re coming home with me now”. I hoard alot of ‘special’ fabrics and just wait for a light-bulb moment too. So, we’re crazies together :)

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      I’m glad I’m not alone! Crazies together just becomes gals who love to have fun, right?

  • oonaballoona
    August 28, 2013

    this is just. WOW. you are truly going to have to be very careful around me. i may fight you for it, it may be beyond my control.

    and one must always mutter to your fabric. i like clare’s sexy pickup line. i usually whisper in a completely foreign and totally made up language.

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Bring it on! Whaddaya say we pile all of our clothes in one room, then just start grabbing for dear life?

      I can’t even imagine what the carnage would be like…

  • Sara
    August 28, 2013

    This is stunning! Also a little jealous at well you can wear this yellow! I’m with Clare on the fabric hoarding. I have a more than I’d like to admit in my “special” pile that I can only hope will see the light of day! Maybe I’ll just go drape my balcony so more people can admire without me ever having to approach it will some cutting instrument! Or wear it toga-style?!

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Yes, togas for everyone! I’m trying to work through my special pile– I bought the fabric because I love it and want to wear it, not because I want to keep it jammed in a drawer! But sometimes it’s so scary cutting into something really treasured.

  • Rosie Wednesday
    August 28, 2013

    The print! The print of this fabric is just to die for!! It grew up into something great.

    I usually buy stuff with a project in mind, but every now and again I “let loose” and buy on a whim.

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      You can see why I couldn’t help but grab this print! It’s just so happy! The color combination is unusual and a lot of fun. :)

      Girl, you gotta let loose now and again! I support you wholeheartedly! :D

  • Lauren
    August 28, 2013

    I love your dress! Some fabric I buy to make something specific with but some fabric goes through several different ideas before I decide what to do with it.

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Thank you, Lauren! I’m the same way, although I usually set out with something specific in mind (i.e., I want to make a pair of shorts), something beautiful usually captures my attention and then I need to think of something to make with it!

  • Angela
    August 28, 2013

    Love this dress! I am going to have to jump on the band wagon and buy this pattern. The colors are so summery, and it fits you like g glove! Great job!!

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Oooh, I hope you make this dress! I just know you’d make something fabulous! Plus you deserve to do some fun sewing after all that wedding prep!

  • Amanda S.
    August 28, 2013

    I can see why this makes you happy! Great job on it – now I need a silk dress!

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Oh my gosh, I bet you’d make a gorgeous silk dress! Do it! :)

  • Laura
    August 28, 2013

    Oh, wow, isn’t it stunning! Heck, are’t you stunning!
    I really see why you couldn’t resist the fabric. :)

    Can I ask how you went about the facing? Is it just interfaced silk?
    I’m halfway through an Anna in a silky polyester and the facing is showing through like crazy. I’ve thrown it into the corner in a rage for the moment.

    • oonaballoona
      August 28, 2013

      i have an answer…i omitted the facing and am going for bias binding instead! my silk is waaaaaaaay see through. plus i kinda hate facings. loathe would be better. but sonja might have a better answer…

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Hi, Laura! I didn’t interface the facing– I just used the same fabric as I did for the dress. I pinked the edges instead of serging or turning and stitching to keep it a little cleaner. Bias binding could work well, although I don’t really like making it, so I didn’t go that route. I’ve also heard of people using silk organza for facings because it’s really, really lightweight and less likely to show. Hope that helps!

      • Laura
        August 28, 2013

        Wow, thanks guys! That really helps. :-)

        • oonaballoona
          September 3, 2013

          ooh, i’ve seen marina vk (frabjous couture) use nude colored organza as facing, and self made bias to enclose seams on sheers and make them invisible. it’s AMAZING.

  • Lori
    August 28, 2013

    This is so wonderful on you, Sonja. Just perfect fit, fabric, pattern and length. Amazing job as always.

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Thank you, Lori! I wonder if Meredith would like a style like this– she looked so pretty in the maxi dress you made her a few weeks back!

  • Carolyn
    August 28, 2013

    Sonja, you’ve really been hitting it out the box lately! First the awesome bombshell and now this amazing dress. Love the color, love the print and love it on you!

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Thank you so much, Carolyn! The fabric really makes the projects! :)

  • Liza jane
    August 28, 2013

    Fabulous!!! That fabric is really fantastic.

    • Ginger
      August 28, 2013

      Thanks, Liza Jane! I wish I could have like 9 outfits made out of this same material. :)

  • Wanett
    August 28, 2013

    You look awesome in maxi lengths!!! AND bright prints!! We have to find somewhere awesome for you to wear it!!

    And I only talk to fabric when I’m having a hard time with it. I won’t post what I say here….it’s not for polite company ;o)

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Yes! A dress-up lunch or something! In my mind, you’re the queen of the maxi dress… well, and also the pencil skirt… and the crop top… and, crap, basically everything! ;)

  • Olivia
    August 28, 2013

    Lovely dress! You aren’t the only one who talks to your fabric. Sometimes I buy with no project, but other times the fabric leaps into my arms and shouts what it should be!

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      You just can’t help yourself sometimes– the fabric just wants to be with you! :)

  • Susan
    August 28, 2013

    Unbelievably gorgeous! That print and those colors look fab on you. Um… I always buy fabric with a plan. A PLAN TO STASH is still a plan, right?? Even when I do buy it thinking about making something specific with it, I almost always change my mind…

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      LOL! I like your plans to stash. ;) I have a feeling we would get along juuuuuust fine. :)

  • Cirque Du Bebe
    August 28, 2013

    Lovely lovely! I love following Sonja’s sewing and she looks amazing in her Anna.

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Thank you, Sophie! I hop you make this when summer rolls around– I know you would knock it out of the park!

  • Amy
    August 29, 2013

    Wow that colour triple jumps off the screen. You look gorgeous. Good work. Especially with it being silk!

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Thank you, Amy! This was definitely the easiest silk I’ve ever worked with, which was a pleasant surprise! I definitely recommend crepe de chine– it’s almost like sewing with cotton compared to charmeuse or, ack, taffeta (which is my fabric failure to date… in fact, let’s never speak of taffeta again!).

  • Sarah Gunn
    August 29, 2013

    I LOVE your dress! the fabric is Fantastic -I WANT THIS FABRIC!!!
    The style looks great on you too and frankly you never know when a trip to an island might come along :)

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Thank you, Sarah! There’s still some left at Mood NYC (or at least there was the other day)! This orange is a great color for you!

      If I keep making island dresses, do you think the Pacific breeze will carry me away one day? ;)

  • Louise
    August 29, 2013

    Wow – this definitely cemented my wavering about the Anna pattern into a firm decision to SEW. I also feel a bit treacherous that as London lass I have not yet tried their patterns. Now the fun part – Simply Fabrics in Brixton here I come!

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Do it! I have yet to see a version of this dress that’s unflattering– it seems to look great on every figure! And it’s a great platform to showcase special fabric!

  • Becky
    August 29, 2013

    Ooh, it’s so fun and bright! If you ever go to Waikiki, you must take it with you. I haven’t tried any of the By Hand London patterns yet, but once I work through a few more things in my indie pattern stash that I haven’t tried yet, I’ll have to consider it.

    And you’re definitely not the only one who talks to the fabric stash. I’m most certainly guilty of buying fabrics with nothing particular in mind because the print screams at me to buy it, or buying fabrics with a project in mind but being overly ambitious with my seasonal plans, and then changing my mind by the time I get to it 3 years later! Thus the size of my stash…

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Oh, gosh, I can TOTALLY relate to that! I was looking back at my summer sewing list the other day, and I only made about three items from the list… with probably three others thrown in that weren’t from the list and weren’t really even summer items! I’m frequently guilty of overestimating my productivity each season and bulking up my stash as a result!

  • Seattlerain
    August 29, 2013

    Your dress is gorgeous- by the end of this trio dress viewing I’ll be crazy for this Anna pattern. Trying to make myself finish a trio of UFOs before I reward myself!

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      That’s good on ya! A little motivation always helps get through less fun projects! The plus side of finishing UFOs is that you can usually get a finished garment much quicker– not quite instant gratification, but close!

  • Grace
    August 29, 2013

    Oh you guys! I’m so jealous! YES, I do sometimes buy fabric with no pattern in mind. IN FACT, I have some gorgeous printed silk cotton sateen languishing in my stash because it wants to be “a dress” but until this moment it couldn’t be more specific about what pattern. i think I know the answer now!

    • Ginger
      August 29, 2013

      Silk cotton sateen?! That sounds practically edible! Happy sewing!

  • ThisisCarrie
    August 29, 2013

    I always buy fabric and never have a plan. I can’t remember the last time I bought something and cut into it within the month. Usually it’s not even within the year. But that’s probably because vintage fabrics are my favorite so letting my new fabric sit for a few years actually makes them better in my eyes. :) Love the dress. Love seeing everyone’s takes on it.

    • Ginger
      August 30, 2013

      Teeheehee, you’re creating the vintage fabric of the future! This realllly justifies my stash! :) Kind of like all my little tchotchkes are future family heirlooms…

  • Erica B.
    September 2, 2013

    I love your version too! Just great!

    • Ginger
      September 4, 2013

      Thank you, Erica! :)

  • Amy
    September 3, 2013

    Woohoo! This challenge of yours has been so fun to watch. All these beautiful Annas, out of silk no less! I may just have to give in and get that pattern… and some silk!!

    • Ginger
      September 4, 2013

      Oooh, I would never step into the ring with you! But in all seriousness, I know you would work wonders on silk and it would be AMAZING!