Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hemming & Hawing

Remember how I told you all that I'd temporarily abandoned the in-progress Milly silk wedding guest dress I'd been working on? Well, it had been living in the "ehh" pile for a little while, until this past weekend, when I was suddenly and inexplicably inspired to finish the dang thing. I went with black for the bodice, as you can see - had I already shared that?

Check it out!

I was rather smug and quite pleased with myself (look at me, I'm finishing this dress now, even though my deadline isn't for another month!) until I finished pressing the hem, that is. This silk is so freakin' bouncy and buoyant and light and perky that it will not make a nice crease to save its life (yes, its life - I'm about to go at it with shrub trimmers just so I can force it to submit - Ah-HAH! I win!). I'm not used to working with silk but that perkiness was not an issue until I decided to hand-stitch a 3-inch hem - WTH? Also, though you can't see the actual thread on the right side of the hem from my stitching, you can see little dents from it. Damned shiny, sensitive silk. :( It doesn't look horrible IRL, but it makes me feel like foolish riff-raff who neither understands how nor deserves to work with nice material. Meh. (maybe that's a little dramatic, but let's just say I feel slightly discouraged.)


blahhhhh

sad, blobby hem


I can't figure out what to do to get the hem under control. I keep debating whether I should just rip it out and make a smaller, tiny hem (which could still have a weird bubbly effect, too), try to rip it all or partially apart and add some kind of weight or horsehair braid in the hem to help keep it flat/crisp, or just keep pressing it over and over until it finally submits. Any recommendations would be appreciated, though I am quite reluctant (meaning 97% unlikely) to do anything requiring me to take out the hem I've sewn.

One kind-of-positive thing about this hem situation is that the bouncy bulk down there kind of helps to keep the skirt a little fuller and swishier almost like a weak horsehair braid, which is nice.

Also, a full post on this dress will be done after I wear it to the wedding in early August so I can include pictures of me actually wearing it and looking halfway decent. Despite my complaining, I do like this dress (though it has more flaws than just the hem and Tom says it makes me look a little sock-hop-ish, haha) and I am looking forward to wearing it, even if I can't get the dumb hem fixed. I opted to use a thrifted black belt at the waist, instead of  making a pink belt/band, so it'll look something like this. Yay!

belted

20 comments:

  1. Wooo - the dress is gorgeous! Black was a great decision, and the neck is so cute!!
    That's a bummer about the hem. I'm afraid I don't have any experience of working with silk so I can't give you any help really. The only thing I could think of was to do a tiny rolled hem. But you don't want to take out ur current hem. I don't blame you - I HATE hemming! I only just hemmed a pencil skirt that I had sitting waiting for the past 5 months - ridiculous!
    If it's any consolattion, on the last photo, the hem you have done looks totally fine!

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    1. Thanks for the support, Suzie. :)I
      I'm considering doing a little rolled hem....we'll see.

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  2. I love the choices you've made with the colors & belt. If it were me, I think I would rip out the hem and do a baby hem. Or I would tell myself I should and then get lazy and leave it wonky.

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  3. cute! You can barely notice the wavy hem unless you had an expert eye for sewing! I love the fabric print for the skirt part, gorgeous!

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  4. I love the black bodice!!! I voted for the black bodice!!! yyayayayaya!!

    Re the hem, hard to see how "bouncy" or bubbly it is until u wear it... I would suggest that iron on hemming tape? I haven't used it personally on this type of fabric, have only used it once for cotton hem.

    I think the finished dress looks fab and looking forward to the full post!
    xx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Neeno! :) I'm intrigued by the iron on hem tape...
      I think, if I get enough courage/inspiration to rip out the hem, I'll either try that or do a tiny rolled hem. OR, I'll just keep pressing it and hope it fixes itself so I don't have to re-do anything! :)

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  5. I love it, especially the neckline. As for the hem, maybe some sort of couture technique like adding a strip of silk organza to the hem allowance or something fiddly like that.

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  6. This looks so cute! I love the perky pink collar! I wish I had some advice about the hem, but I've never sewn a silk skirt...

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  7. This dress is adorable!! I love how it came out and the skirt fabric to to die for! You have a great eye for pattern/color :-)

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  8. I wish I had some advice... but I have NO ideas! I think is a great though as is!

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  9. Ooh I know what you mean about feeling discouraged when fabric gets all tricky on you. I feel your pain! I can't offer any advice (big newbie over here! lol), but honestly I'm sure not many would notice if you left it as-is. Good luck! :D

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  10. Another option would be horsehair braid... It makes unmanageable fabrics more manageable. Overall, though, the look is great. Love the neckline detail!

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  11. Sadly, I've never sewn with silk so I have no advice. Personally, I'd probably leave it like it is, I'm sure nobody but you will notice! I love the dress, it looks totally adorable. I'm in love with the print and I really like your contrast neckline treatment!

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  12. That is too adorable!! Like a Marlo Thomas party dress- much envy to you!

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  13. Probably the puckering is from the downward weight of the hem fabric pulling against the stitches. With a deep hem and a silky fabric, that's a hazard, and I've had the same happen. Not sure what would be the best solution. Not sure it's noticeable enough here to require a solution -- the dress form is just that; you will be in motion wearing it, which renders such minor problems pretty invisible to others. For future silkies, maybe consider a narrower handstitched hem or even (heaven forbid) a fused hem (not if a sheer fabric). But experiment on your scrap fabric first to see what seems to work best.

    Also what if you lightly sprayed the inside of the hem edge with spray sizing -- less powerful than starch -- and pressed to see if it would help sharpen the hem edge? Just a thought, maybe try it on scraps if you have some. Spray sizing should be at grocery laundry or JoAnn's. It works well on lightweight cottons to add some body & definition.

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  14. Thanks for the great advice, Luanne! I like the sound of spray sizing and I'll be using a narrower hem on my next silky skirt, for sure.

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  15. I love your dress it is super cute. Re the hem, a small rolled hem will not work well with pleats. A better option is to carefully unpick it then dampen it and iron the creases out temporarily. Fold over 1cm to the inside and iron.
    Gently place fusible hemming along the inside so it sits in the fold. Fold over again and iron the hem, (all in 'silk' setting). Slip stitch the hem by hand. Then pin the pleats back into place. Baste them in place by hand all around the skirt. Press with a damp cloth and leave the basting in place until just before you go to wear the dress. A lot of work but the finish will be worth it.

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  16. I've been working with silk lately and it just won't hold a crease (where i want it to, the fabric itself holds all sorts of creases I don't want) with the iron at the silk temperature. However I've found if i boost the temperature it's holding the crease better. I'd recommend testing on a scrap and pressing the wrong side and probably using a press cloth (which i haven't done) and seeing if that helps on yours maybe?

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