Well guys, spring has definitely sprung around these parts! And I for one could not be happier about it! This time of year I tend to have one thing and one thing only on my mind – silk dresses. Making them. Wearing them. Living in them for the next nine months… That and long, lazy, bike rides. Preferably paired together. At sunset. Sigh… paints quite a picture, doesn’t it?
This month I was irresistibly drawn to this gorgeous floral crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics online. Silk crepe de chine is one of my all-time favorite fabrics to sew with, and to wear. It has a bit more ‘grip’ than many of it’s slippery silk counterparts, making it easy to handle, but it still has that lovely, fluid drape that you want from lighter weight silks. And it’s breathable, which is an absolute must in my hot and humid climate.
I absolutely adored the floral print of this fabric! It’s so bright and playful, it made me instantly happy! I find the color palette to be sort of unusual and unexpected (magenta and poppy red, royal purple and inky black, viridian green and chartreuse… all on a soft, off-white background). It also reminded me a bit of vintage prints, but I couldn’t decide what decade – 30’s? 40’s? 70’s?? Maybe 70’s-does-40’s? I don’t normally go for a vintage look, but there was something so timelessly feminine about this print that was just calling me.
I thought it would be nice to pair this fabric with a pattern that also had a bit of a vintage vibe, without going totally overt, and felt like By Hand London’s Anna dress totally fit the bill. I love this pattern – it’s like all the best parts of being a woman rolled into one dress! For this version I opted for the v-neck and the shorter hem. However, rather than just chopping the pattern off at the knees, I kept the hem width of the maxi-version and adjusted the skirt panel pieces to compensate. This way I maintained maximum skirt swing-y-ness (very important for those warm breezes!)
I reinforced the v-neck with silk organza strips, which helped a little with gape-age, however there is still more gape than I would like. Perhaps I should have eased the v-neck to the silk organza a bit? Ah well – ya live, ya learn.
I also lined the entire dress with silk habotai, because the floral fabric was ever-so-slightly sheer. Silk habotai (or china silk) is a wonderful lining fabric, especially if you’re like me and like to keep your silk dresses silky – inside and out! The habotai I used was from my stash, but Mood has an awesome collection online in, like, every color imaginable.
And because I always like to learn new tricks, even on patterns that I’ve made before, I decided to try my hand at using my machine’s blind hem foot for the floral silk. Can you believe I’ve never used that little gadget before?! That’s one of the reasons I love sewing – there’s always something new to learn! Anyway, I love how clean the hem turned out, and it saved me so much more time than if I had hand-picked it myself. For the skirt lining I just used my serger’s rolled hem function. I always feel like I’m cheating when I do this, but it’s just so quick and easy, it’s hard to resist!
And there you have it! I can’t wait to wear this dress on the balmy summer nights that I know are right around the corner! What sort of fabrics have you thinking of warm weather?