Sunday, September 29, 2013

Next Gertie's NBBS Project: The Sultry Sheath

Well it's almost October and I am picking a new project for the month from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. As I browsed the book I new I needed a dress for my brother in law's wedding in a few weeks at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. I have been trying to decide what to wear for a little while and settled on the Sultry Sheath in silk duchesse satin the only thing that I had trouble with was the fabric color. 

I love the Red in the photos but I am generally a neutral (some would say boring) sort of gal. I ordered swatches of silk duchesse from Mood in the Roja Red and the Midnight Navy. They look very close to the color online.

Roja Red
Midnight Navy

I had wasted a few precious days thinking and rethinking and changing my mind about the color. It came down to the deadline and I had to decide in order to get the fabric in time. After asking my family, friends, even the bride to be I decided to sleep on it but I was leaning towards the navy. When I woke up I told myself if I could come up with 3 different occasions that I could see myself wearing this dress in red then I would step outside of my normal safe beige, black or navy.

My three occasions came into my head quickly.
Occasion 1. The wedding is in the evening  for cocktail hour and the color was bride approved.
Occasion 2. Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker (my daughter will be performing as Mother Mouse this year )
Occasion 3. My 20th anniversary weekend trip to Las Vegas in December.

All of these events feel very red dress worthy. So I went for it and ordered the Roja Red fabric was ordered and took only 4 days to arrive. The color looks like Samba from the Pantone Fall 2013 color report, maybe that means I am kind of on trend.

Pantone Fall 2013

Over the weekend I researched how to launder and handle the fabric before cutting. I came across several resources online and I found these two to be the best. Blog for Better Sewing and Denver Fabrics
They suggest either hand washing or dry cleaning. I knew that dry cleaning was going to cut a few more days into my already tight schedule and I really prefer to hand wash my more delicate garments do I tested the swatch in the sink with mild detergent(shampoo actually) and it turned out fine with minimal color fading. Then I laundered both the silk organza for the underlining, and the red duchesse silk satin and left them to dry overnight.

In the mean time, I worked on my muslin to perfect the fit, making my usual narrow shoulder adjustments. I used the size 4 everywhere then graded to a size 2 in the shoulders.
  The only problem I had was the darts did not match up to the skirt. The pattern pieces use the Sultry Sheath Bodice and The Pencil Skirt pattern together to create the dress.  The front bodice has two darts and I was very happy with the placement do I moved the skirts darts over to line up with the bodice.

The back bodice has one dart and the skirt has two. I decided again to change the skirt dart to match the bodice to one dart.

After adjusting the pattern and lining up the darts, I resewed the new darts and then tried the muslin back on. 
I referred back to a blog post on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing Working with Duchess Satin "The biggest thing to note about duchesse is that its luster, which is quite beautiful, also has a fatal downfall: it shows every lump, bump, and dent - in your body and in your construction. I would recommend choosing a style that's not too terribly fitted. This sheath dress worked well because there is actually a notable amount of ease in the bodice and hips. The waist is very fitted, and happily, covered up with a belt"
I plan to purchase and wear shapewear/foundation garments under the dress and a fabric covered belt. The only other thing that I changed on my muslin was the back skirt slit felt a little high for me so I lowered it. 

              I am really in love with the neckline on the bodice.

I am happy with the fit and ready to cut out my fashion fabric. The wedding is on October 12th, leaving me just 1 week to complete this dress. I was feeling stressed about having deadline looming and my husband quoted Tim Gunn and said "make it work". With two teenage daughters and a sewing wife in the house, he has watched a lot of Project Runway.