Working with Bridal dresses and bridesmaid dresses doesn’t give me enough practice working with chiffon.
This magical winter wonderland time 3 ladies found their way to my doorstep with an airy-fairy request.
You see, they are life-long dancers with ballet and modern dance backgrounds who give performances in our community and beyond.
They wanted new costumes for a winter solstice production and had something in mind…you know this will be good and you know that the fabric will be from everyone’s fabric nationwide chain store -Joann’s.
First let’s say these woman are almost my age and are 3 different heights and sizes but all will be performing quite liquid moves and contortions while giving the impression they are floating and drifting…you get the idea?
The idea for the shape of the costume came from this sad looking t-shirt: You know the type…part rayon, loosey goosey, one size fits all and then the bottom edge has been cut away and a very loose weave chunk of something else has been added on with all raw edges of it’s own…the stuff dreams are made of. When I first meet the ladies, they all try on this little grey number so I can see how different their bodies mold to the soft drapey knit.I try to explain that knit is NOT chiffon and will not stretch crosswise or lengthwise and drape over curves, nor can I just “use the t-shirt as a pattern and cut around it” as most clients think is possible. That works in crafts but NOT in real clothes.
Two of them have the basic ballet dancer bodies, straight up and down, but one will need some darts in her costume: I make up a tank top pattern from my favorite landscape fabric from Home Depot and let them try on the sample. Sure enough darts will be the right idea as the fabric they have chosen is that Halloweeny costume stuff…good old polyester chiffon with glued on dots that you dare not run through a serger unless you want to replace the blades and even when running it through your sewing machine the needle hits these little metal blobs and break off chunks to deposit in the bobbin case for later…delightful. I have worked on this fabric before and have shared the results in my bobbin case in this post.
Once the ladies had been for their initial try-on I can cut out the fabric and decide which seams get to be French and which are pressed open flat and which hems are narrow rolled or top stitched. Here we go: The fabric is 60 wide so I can bring the selvedges to the center and cut both fronts and backs on the fold. Can you see the triangular cutaway portion? Instead of cutting each one on the bias, I decide to just cut them straight and trim away later. Now we have all three layers pinned together and ready for the chop. I use serrated scissors to help me get clean edges. The rectangular piece that attaches to the bias edge is 42 inches by 13 inches also in that chiffon but with the metal dots. The ladies return once these are basted and are pretty happy with the shapes and flow of the fabric and one starts dancing and doing her movements around my sewing room and I have to grab her to pin her in…I can see her exuberance. All the neck and armhole edges are bound with self bias binding (is there anything more tedious? )and here is the result: Let’s call them the 3 Graces…they will be wearing grey unitards underneath. Each one has a different colored safety pin attached so I know who is who. And here is a single one with the skirt portion pulled away for better viewing:
My last chiffon project of the year is that peach bride…remember her and her dress from China? She was so upset with whoever took her measurements on her internet order and tossed them and sent that poorly made, poorly fitting rag with it’s mis-matched lining etc and was afraid she would never wear her dress to her Jan 5 wedding. Well, here she is with her groom with their faces and tattoos blocked out for privacy:
I’ll be taking a break from all this client sewing for a couple weeks and trying to get some things sewn for me and my granddaughters (very late Christmas presents!) but I wish you happy sewing and mention that Anne at Prttynpnk is running her January Jungle extravaganza and you might like enter something animal print from your stash and join in the fun. I entered a jungle jacket already made from scraps.