Thank you for the interesting replies on what makes you love a fabric. I am thinking more about this myself, and am preparing to re-order my stash and disperse some fabrics that were crushes :), or maybe other people's crushes...
Daughter the first and I are attending a mocktail party on Sunday evening for her dance awards. The dress requirement is semi-formal (awful term, what does it mean?) or cocktail.
I feel this dress requirement is a tricky request for a 14 year old girl. Last year she wore a cotton voile smocked and beaded dress that she loved, but she was a little underdressed compared to the other very young ladies. However, I do not want her to dress like a 19 year old just yet.
We hunted through the stash, and she came up with some embroidered poly chiffon that she had picked, aged 6, for a flowergirl dress to wear to my brother's wedding. (My SIL vetoed it, so it has been lurking for a while, poly chiffon not being our usual style). Daughter the first obviously still likes this fabric. I asked her what appealed, still thinking about why we love fabric, and she thinks it is the sheerness and the embroidery. I thought it might be a bit twee, and reminiscent of 6 year olds for a mocktail dress. However, as it still appealed, I made it up in the Laura Ashley McCalls 5039 with an imperial batiste underlining/underlay. We added a cotton voile green sash at the empire waist for some jazzing up.I know I said this pattern was boring to sew, but it is also quick and easy. I am liking it more and more!
I thought it looked a bit like a garden wedding dress when she came out wearing it with a pink organza hat!
However, without the hat, it looked less garden wedding. I did wonder to myself how often she would wear it until she started talking about wearing it to the ballet in a few weeks (lets me off the hook for another dress), and to Christmas lunch. It seems to be a winner. I think she should wear her hair up to the party, for a more grown-up look.
The making of this dress has confirmed my aversion to poly chiffon. Originally I planned to made a full dress in the outer, and the lining fabrics, attached only at the neckline and sleeve cuffs. After sewing french seams in the poly chiffon for the skirt, I felt that curved raglan seams in a fraying, sheer, slippery fabric were not something I fancied, so I treated the batiste and poly chiffon as one layer for the bodice. I made sash keepers at the side and front from DMC stranded cotton in a silvery grey, using buttonhole stitch.
I tried a tip by Marji that I read at Stitcher's Guild for poly chiffon - to couch a perle thread rather than gather with a long straight stitch, but after attempting this realised that I should have zig-zagged seperately over two strands of perle cotton, then used a small straight stitch just inside the seam line to set the gathers. My misinterpretation, pulling up one strand of perle cotton, gave me lumpy gathers, and as I failed to remove the perle cotton before stitching the gathers to the straight pieces, I did manage to catch the perle cotton in the seam in several places, necessitating some unpicking.
If I ever get around to sewing the rest of the poly chiffon, or its relations in the dress-up-fabric box, I will try Marji's tip properly, as it has definite possibilites. I wish I had known it when sewing dozens of tu-tus and fairy dresses!
I would like to point out to Elizabeth that the rolled hem on that poly chiffon was achieved in about 30 seconds on my overlocker. I am not sure if I can face the rolled hem foot on my conventional machine - My previous experience suggests that developing any skill at this will take me a very long time.
Pattern - 3rd use, free
Embroidered poly chiffon (Pizzazz Fabrics) - about $12 per metre = $16.20 (the fabric is wide,and I used 1.35 metres, rather than the 2.2 metres called for in the pattern)
Imperial cotton batiste (Stitch Bliss) $17.60 per metre - $33 (imperial batiste is pretty skinny, but I still did not require the full yardage , 1.85m only.
Cotton voile (Oh Sew, Noosaville)- remnant from earlier projects, free
Absolute bargain silver sandals, $13 (I had to put those in, they were a great find)