I waited for Charlie and Nick to take themselves off to Birmingham for a Rush concert and, knowing I had from 3pm until at least half-past midnight, got down to work. I only got about half of the dress finished that day; there was a lot to do, including quite a bit of hand sewing.
The dress shell is a tartan silk dupion (as you may have noticed!) The skirt is underlined with silk dupion, too, in a plain navy. The effect of the two silks is that the skirt is full of body, yet still soft and easily manipulated; it can be scrunched into a shape and remain there, yet has no creases at all once it's smoothed back flat. At the same time, it seems weightless. I love it! I think all my clothes may be made in silk from this moment on! The bodice is lined, as per the pattern, and I used a red cotton lawn for it.
As I certainly have no plans to show this dress even a drop of water, and would rather avoid dry-cleaning it every five minutes, as that can be a bit of a hit and miss process when it comes to silk dupion, I made some self-fabric dress shields, with two layers of the red cotton inside them, for extra freshness! The dress shields are a crescent shape and are hand-sewn into the lower armscye with a simple running stitch to make removal easier for washing. The idea is that the shields lay next to the skin, thereby keeping the underarm area of the garment fresher, and will be removed after each wear, and washed in soap and water. Once laundered they will be sewn back into the dress. I did the same thing with the little jacket.
As you will see (above) the dress shields are sewn in to extend by about 3mm.
I think it's probably normal practice to conceal hem stitches as much as possible (or is that not the case?) but I love to see the stitches that took me so much time (and I enjoy the hand sewing) and so I don't hide them inside the hem (although I don't want them showing on the outside - only the inside of the garment!) Here they are:
And I sewed the zip in by hand, too:
The jacket is the little bolero from V8812. It was so simple to make, being just fronts and back, sleeves, and facing. It has shoulder pads, which contribute to the 1940s shape (it's a pattern from 1940). The jacket fits really well - it's like a little cocoon on the body, without being in the least bit restrictive. I would like to make it again in a more practical fabric than the silk dupion I used this time. Oh, and the back is underlined in red cotton lawn, the fronts in the same navy dupion.
I must talk about my hat. Isn't it just lovely? I bought it on ebay from Anna Chocola, who makes the most interesting - exquisite - hats and headpieces and sells them on Etsy and ebay. She also has a website. When this hat arrived I can't tell you how pleased I was to see it was as beautiful in the flesh as it looked in the photo. And when being worn, it's so comfortable you forget it's there. I might take to wearing it out shopping, with jeans. It seems such a shame to pop it back in its pink tissue paper and leave it to languish in the wardrobe for ever and ever.
The main part of the hat is in royal blue velvet, with a marine themed ribbon around the outside. The bow is of red silk and the whole thing has a navy net overlay. And look at that anchor button! This is a beautifully made hat, inside and out.
Here are some photos of my outfit in action: