Ottobre 02/08 #7

Posted on: 26 April, 08

At long last, here is *the* dress. Was it worth the wait? It was a long journey. Ok, it wasn’t really *that* long of a journey, but it felt like it to me. I can usually pop out a project at a good rate. Lately, everything I do, sewing or otherwise, seems to take forever. Anyway, the dress is done, it fits, and I am pleased.

Like most Ottobre, simple sewing yields great style. Any complications I had were entirely the fault of the fabric, a beautiful silk charmeuse from Hubski’s most recent trip to China. The incredibly soft hand was perfect for the flowing skirt, but devilish to sew. I heavily starched the fabric before even cutting it out. I marked each piece as I cut, using more marks than usual. For the bodice lining, I used a very stable cotton broadcloth.

Remember the fits the binding was giving me? I tried severely starching the bias strips, but was still not happy with the result. Next I tried fold over elastic, but the shade of red was not quite right and the FOE just didn’t look right with the silk. Finally, I stumbled upon a piece of red pima cotton in my scraps. It was the *exact* shade of red that I wanted. After having done one armhole with the matching bias strip, I decided that contrasting fabric really was needed to show off the design details. Besides, silk charmeuse on the bias was making me crazy.

The pattern calls for shirring with elastic thread just below the bodice. I did not have any elastic thread and did not have time to get any. Once again, the dress sat on my sewing table. On the positive side, this gave me time to think. I feared the empire waist and shirring would give the dress a maternity look. Now the question became “How to keep the empire waist, but not look pregnant?” I decided to skip the elastic thread and do some sort of pleating. Since the dress has a zipper, the elastic is strictly decorative. Pleating or even tucks in charmeuse would have pushed me over the edge. Not being one to fight the true nature of a fabric, random pleating was the solution. I cut a piece of the cotton broadcloth the same measurement as the lower edge of the bodice and 3 inches wide. Next, I ran a gathering line along the upper edge of the skirt to fit the lining strip. A hot iron pressed the gathers into somewhat random pleats. In keeping with the random theme, I did some free motion stitching in a random wave pattern to hold down the pleats. To further emphasize the waist area, I added two bands of the red pima cotton at the top and bottom of the pleated band area.

As for the fit, it was true to size in true Ottobre fashion. Since I always need to take in the bust a bit, I overlapped the front piece a bit more. This had the added benefit of making the neckline less revealing. The pattern directs you to ease the front bodice pieces a bit which helps keep the neckline close to the body. There is also easing in the armholes to prevent gaping. This is a very nice touch that Ottobre adds.

Had I made the dress with self fabric binding and the shirring, it would have been a pretty dress. The fabric is rather spectacular so it would be challenging for it to be anything less than pretty. All of the roadblocks that prevented me from finishing the dress in the day (which is totally possible with any normal fabric) were actually a blessing. Inspiration struck at the most unlikely times. I am far happier with the end result. At first, I thought using contrasting binding would make the dress too casual. Instead, the contrast draws attention to details that would have been lost on such a busy fabric.

I wore the dress to school on Friday. There were lots of compliments from students and adults. The best part is the dress was so easy to wear. Yes, it is a bit indulgent to wear such luscious fabric to work, but some days we all need a little indulgence.


12 Responses to "Ottobre 02/08 #7"

How pretty and summery!


you have made it simply stunning!!!

Gorgeous dress!!!! I so look forward to playing with silk once I’ve passed the spit up stage of life. 🙂

Beautiful dress, teri.

Teri….this dress is absolutely FABULOUS ! Love the way you handled the waist detail.

Pam from ~Off The Cuff Style~

What a beautiful dress! I can well understand why you got so many compliments. I love the embellishments and the colours. Great job. 🙂

Beautiful! You are ready for a Spring cocktail party or a walk on the beach. The fabric is so stunning. . .

LOve that dress 🙂

T ~ that dress turned out great! I can’t wait to see what you sew up next. g

spectacular dress teri!!! I love your change of the empire waist. You are right about the gorgeous fabric. DH definitely has good taste.

Absolutely GORGEOUS! Wow!

Beautiful!! I love everything about it!!


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