Saturday, 8 November 2014

Almost Frocktober: Burda Style 05-2013-124 Petticoat and Frock versions. Sewing with silk-hemp and sheer fabric.


When I inadvertently sewed a see through Tiramisu, I developed a sudden need for a petticoat with a deep v neckline. Naturally, thinking of such a requirement, my mind instantly turned to Burda, who seem to specialize in chest exposing garments.
Fortunately for me, there were some magazines with possible frocks with sticky labels on them lying about on my sewing table, so it didn't take me long to find a candidate, Burda Style 05-2013-124.

 Technical drawing from
The only thing was, that I had no idea what fabric to use for a petticoat under a knit dress that would not cling, and would not be too hot to wear for a Spring to Summer garment. I was leaning towards silk charmeuse, this working so well under my merino knits for winter, but really, this is rather a warm fabric for our climate.
Delving deep into the what-was-I-thinking layers of the stash, I came up with some slippery, semi-translucent,slubby, bouncy fabric that I vaguely remembered was silk/hemp. I posted about this 2011 purchase here. (In the interest of unusual fabric reporting, the hemp/cotton sheets are wearing nicely and are now beautifully soft, and the hemp/cotton knit top is now just like a rag but I am still wearing it around the house because it is so comfortable- this made me more willing to try this unused fabric, which is really quite unusual - my husband said "plasticy")


I had some fun making this. I cut out a single layer (and used the Tiramisu skirt, without the center seam - its a similar shape but the skirt is more full). I used several different seam and edge finishes.
At the neckline, I used fold over elastic, slightly stretched. This worked really well, or would have worked really well, had I noticed that I had sewn one of the front bodice pieces on backwards before I applied the elastic.
I am now very practiced at unpicking 3 step zig zag stitch at 1.0mm length from fold over elastic. Sigh
For the underbust seam ( I gathered the bust instead of darts, as I'd enlarged to a D and didn't want to redraw the darts) I folded the gathered seam allowance over the waistband allowance by hand (the gathers were too fiddly by machine) and whipstitched.
For the waistband, side seams and shoulder seams, I used french seams.
For the armscyes (these are trimmed to make the petticoat sit fully underneath the outer garment), I used a fine bias finish - applying bias binding to the right side, turning the bias over the trimmed seam allowance and edgestitching at 1/8 inch, then turning the bias to the wrong side and topstitching. This gave a very neat, thin edge on the silk hemp.
The silk hemp ravels very easily. As it felt so plasticy, I did a burn test, where the fabric burnt like paper, and left long strands of ?hemp after I blew out the flame. This is definitely all natural fibres!

Having finished the petticoat, all the sheer fabrics in my stash suddenly looked very appealing as a frock.
Somehow, I cut out another version of 124 from a mere 1.3m of silk chiffon print that I may have bought to make a scarf.
The chiffon was pre treated in a gelatine bath to improve its handling qualities. I cut out using a rotary cutter, and continued using the size 60 universal needle I had used for the sheer silk hemp garment. This time I used the fine bias edge finish on the (raised 5 cm) neckline as well as the armscyes, but the other seams are mostly finished in the same manner as in the petticoat version.
For both versions, the fabric under the invisible zip is reinforced - in the petticoat with a woven nylon ribbon, and in the chiffon frock with a strip of silk organza selvage.

 The silk chiffon dress was a challenge for me. I tried finishing the neckline with the same technique as the armscyes in the petticoat.
Unfortunately I neglected to first stay stitch the neckline, and the neckline rippled in an unsightly manner. (The armscyes in the silk chiffon, finished in the same manner, behaved perfectly)


I tried to fix this with clear elastic, but this attempt failed.
Eventually, I took 2 small pleats from the neckline on either side of centre front , handsewing these, and was content with the fit and finish. However, it is not my best work. I anticipate becoming a better seamstress with my next silk chiffon frock!


I was pleased with my other seam finishes on the sheer fabric. Having just practiced on the silk hemp, I was able to make french seams throughout, including the curved underbust seam, which contains gathers. I pat myself on the back a bit for this.

In the end, I have a pretty, floaty dress in time for seasonal socialising, which does not photograph to advantage on a windy day.



BeaJay said...

That is an absolutely gorgeous dress and a very pretty slip too.

SewRuthie said...

Oh very very pretty, and a clever slip too.

Summer Flies said...

Beautiful! Looks so floaty. I'll see you tonight!

liza jane said...

Oh but I think the wind gave you some fantastic photos! Pretty dress in a very pretty fabric. Silk chiffon is one of those fabrics that is so far out of my skill set. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Gosh what a lot of work Karen (including the unpicking - ouch!)

But you have cracked both the petticoat (how useful) and the dress. I have silk chiffon I just can't bear to approach, but the gelatine bath idea is calling! It looks so floaty and comfortable and I imagine that with tights and heels it could work for formal occasions, and with flats and bare legs it is perfect for the hottest days. The neckline is really flattering and I especially like the midriff sections on both the slip and the dress. Gorgeous.

Catherine Daze said...

So pretty and feminine!

fabric epiphanies said...

Despite making formal gowns, sheer fabrics scare me! I don't know whether I would be game enough for sheer silk. I must try the gelatine trick. The fabric in your dress is lovely and despite your issues it does look lovely.

Paola said...

I've just done the gelatine bath thing to some silk/rayon chiffon, and yes, it does work! I bailed on the project in short time frame, but reading this makes me think I should go back to it when there are no deadlines. Very pretty!

velosewer said...

You look wonderful. And your dress is so pretty - 'it must have cost you a fortune to buy':)
You do such beautiful sewing.

Sewingelle said...

Beautiful dress and slip! Your neckline save worked so well. I doubt it would have been noticed if you didn't point it out.
I've just finished a self chiffon dress for my daughter and used a gelatine bath too. It helped, but I am very much looking forward to sewing something well behaved next, like cotton!

Audrey said...

Silk chiffon can be a challenge to sew. Kudos to you for sewing such a pretty, feminine dress and a slip to go under it. Really lovely!

Sue said...

Lovely fabric for this dress - it looks great on you!

Sharon said...

Beautiful dress and love the fabric.

Carolyn said...

Oh, such a very pretty frock! and you look lovely in this very feminine style. I hadn't heard of the gelatine bath tip before, thanks for telling us about it :)