A couple of years ago, I was trolling around the local estate sales in my neighborhood and I came across one of the holy grails of sewing – a copy of Vogue 1610, a Vogue American Designer pattern from the 70s, this particular one dedicated to Diane Von Furstenberg. Not only did I score with finding the pattern, it was my size *and* I bought it for $1. That’s a pretty sweet score, so naturally I did with it what I do best – shove it in my pattern cabinet and forget about it for two years.
When I finally came to my senses and rediscovered this beauty, I decided to do the pattern it’s true justice and make it up in a gorgeous silk jersey and pretend like I had my very own DVF (I mean, it sort of is a DVF in a sense, right? The pattern is branded with her name, that’s close enough… right??). I know, I know, an original DVF from the 70s would probably be sewn up in some ~futuristic~ polyester, but I’m a lady who loves her silk and silk jersey just sounded so dreamy. I had to have some and it had to be a wrap dress.
After making up a quick wearable muslin using a rayon knit I bought from Mood Fabrics while it was on sale (I posted the final on my blog, which you can see here), I was ready to cut into my dream fabric – this paisley silk jersey, also from Mood Fabrics. It’s actually by Marc Jacobs – I hope Diane doesn’t mind!
Silk jersey is a new-to-me fabric, and I certainly enjoyed the process of really getting to know this fine lady. While silk jersey comes in many different weights, this particular fabric I used is on the heavier side. It actually handles a lot like a ponte, except with a better drape and that wonderful feeling of, well, silk. It is a fairly staple knit, which means you can sew it on a regular machine without much fuss. For the most part, I treated this fabric the same way I treat any other knit – the seams are constructed on my serger (again, not necessary – but hey, I have a serger and it’s there, so why not?), and I stabilized the shoulders with strips of iron-on interfacing to keep them from stretching out over time.
The few parts that I did sew on my sewing machine, I used a fine 70/10 ballpoint needle and regular polyester thread. What is different here (as opposed to how I normally sew knits) is that I included facings at the arm holes and blindstitched them down, as well as blindstitched the hem and the facing on the skirt overlap. I know, I know – it’s a knit, throw a binding on it and call it a day, yeah? – but I felt like this dress deserved just a little more finesse, it being a silk jersey DVF and all. Since the silk jersey is so, well, robust, it lends nicely to blindstitching as the stitches really sink it and are completely invisible on the right side. Plus, it presses like a dream. Yay silk!
One big concern I had when I was picking out this fabric was upkeep – y’all, I don’t take stuff to the dry cleaners. EVER. Things that cannot be washed in the machine simply do not belong in my house as far as I’m concerned. As I’ve been prewashing all my silk in the washing machine at home (well, ok, fine, at the laundromat – my washer is broken THANKS FOR THE REMINDER) and nobody has died yet, I decided to take a leap of faith and prewash my silk jersey just to see what would happen. And hey – it worked! It definitely dulled the saturation of the colors ever so slightly, as well as removed the sheen on the fabric (which is fine with me, I like the matte look!), but the silk looks great and it makes me really happy to know that cleaning it won’t be an ordeal – which means I’ll wear it much more frequently. Yeah!
Overall, I’m really pleased with how this dress turned out and I can’t wait to test those silk-breathing properties in the dead of summer. Not to mention – how about those colors, eh? Seriously, is it even possible to be unhappy while wearing this dress? 🙂
So, there you go – baby’s first (faux)DVF! What do you think? Are you ready to fall in love with silk jersey yet?