NYE Silk Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown
My New Year’s Eve dress!
This was my first attempt at working with silk and despite a few hiccups, it went really well! This dress feels incredibly luxurious swishing around my legs. The silk was from Ditto Fabrics, and a very reasonable £8.50 per metre, I think because it's intended for lining rather than a main fabric. But I liked how it looked and thought I would give it a go anyway.
I cut it out with a mat and rotary cutter, sandwiched between two sheets of tissue paper and thought this worked really well. I did consider using starch spray but was ultimately too worried about it leaving marks - the fabric is quite a light gold. I think the cutting came out pretty accurate with very little shifting.
The main place I came a cropper was the interfacing on the bodice. The pattern calls for light-to-medium draping fabric, and I really lining fabric is just a shade too light. I added interfacing to the bodice, and even though I pinked the edges of it as suggested to make less of a strong line, you can still see a bit of an outline from the outside. There’s also a small amount of wrinkling.
If I was doing it again with a similar weight material, I would seek out a really extra light interfacing and use a much narrower strip than is suggested in the pattern. I think the instructions would have worked fine if I was using something just that little bit heavier. But all in all it’s not so noticeable that I’m unhappy with it.
The pattern is the Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown. My favourite element is definitely the low back with crossed straps - so glamorous! - but I think the pointed bodice section is also a lovely touch - really emphasises the waist.
I just used the same silk for the lining, and I also made the straps out of self fabric. The pattern recommends narrow cord or ribbon but I couldn’t find anything I thought matched well enough. It was a bit of a pain getting them turned out, even with a loop turner, but I got there in the end. They got really tight and scrunched up and wouldn’t budge for a while.
In terms of fit the size 14 was pretty good - only took a little bit out under the arm towards the front. I have ended up with some slight pulling lines at the centre front of the bodice; I’m not sure if this is a fit issue or if I slightly stretched it or something while trying to press the interfacing wrinkles out.
My dress is definitely more creased-looking than the sample picture but I think that’s what you get with the fabric I chose. I was a bit concerned about going too hot with the iron.
I will end with a sewing horror story (with a happy ending). When this dress was nearly finished -- on December 31st - I accidentally snipped my thumb while trimming. I glanced down and didn’t see a cut, so assumed I’d just pinched it and continued on my merry way.
I put the dress down for a moment, and when I glanced back at I suddenly noticed A SIZEABLE BLOODSTAIN right on the front bodice. Unbeknownst to me my thumb had started bleeding - only a few drops, but a few drops is certainly enough when you’re talking fresh blood on pale gold silk.
I really couldn’t believe it for a moment and of course was completely horrified. I don’t think I actually wept but I certainly felt like it. I picked up the dress and there were a few more smaller spots anywhere I’d held it.
Somehow I remained calm and saturated each stain with cold water mixed with a really, really small amount of detergent - the stuff I use for handwashing delicates. I then hung it up to dry and spend some time in prayer and contemplation (not really, I spent some time crossly tidying up and putting a double layer of plasters on my thumb).
And it came out fine! Perhaps a very, very light watermark in certain lights but a significant improvement on BLOOD.