Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Finished Project: Milly Wedding Guest Dress

If you'll recall, I left off with this dress having completed it but not being 100% pleased with the final product. The skirt is made from a piece of Milly silk that I snapped up from the remnants bin a little while back and this dress was my first time working with silk. The main part I wasn't pleased about on the final dress was the hem.

hem results

Here's what went down, as I'd previously reported:
This silk is so freakin' bouncy and buoyant and light and perky that it will not make a nice crease to save its life. 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. 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.

Well, after reaching out for suggestions (thank you all for your responses!), I was reluctant to un-do the hem I'd already sewn and was considering either continuing to press the hem to death to make it stop being poofy, or suck it up and re-do a much smaller hem.

What actually ended up happening?

I tucked the dress away in the closet, planning to revisit it before the wedding, and then promptly forgot about it.

the finished dress

That's right, I didn't end up making any changes to the completed dress after all.  However, if I were to sew the same thing again, I'd definitely do the smallest hem possible, as well as probably cut the bodice a size smaller (since it's cotton sateen with stretch to it), line at least the bodice, and cut the pink collar strips shorter and on the bias so that they fold over the curved neckline better and the tie isn't as long and floppy.

Changes I made to the pattern - New Look 6910:
  1. Gathered skirt (via Gertie's tutorial), not pleated
  2. Made gatheres at the top and little pleats in the bottom of the cap sleeves - they looked like little wings, IRL before. This little trick was inspired by Gillian's sleeves on her Peony.
  3. Drafted a pink collar inspired by the Beverly dress.
  4. Didn't add pockets like the above photo makes it look, but should have!

All in all, I'd say the dress was a success! I got some nice compliments at the wedding and the (...interesting) DJ even dedicated a song to me out of the blue, while mentioning my dress - hah! The song was the American Bandstand theme song, which I had no idea how to dance to, but oh well. Tom and I gave it our best fake 30 second swing dance and then discreetly left the dance floor.

Tom and I dancing to another song

There is a definite sock-hop-ish feel to the dress, which isn't a bad thing, but it's definitely... a thing! I'd originally styled it with a wide black belt at the waist and some retro heels, but ended up opting more for comfort and lost the belt before the end of the evening and didn't even make it out of the hotel room without switching to flats.

Styled with heels and a belt

Now that I've finished my wedding guest dress sewing, I almost don't know what to do with myself! "Almost" being the key word there. I'm making slow, lazy progress on my Simplicity 2154 blouse and may or may not be planning a (already anticipated to be belated) birthday shirt for Tom's birthday later this month. Luckily, Tom's brother is getting married in June 2013, so I'm not without future dress planning to do...even if it is a way into the future.


  1. Its lovley! I really like the... effortnessless of it :) Its chic and pretty and summery!

    Liebe Grüße

  2. That is such a pretty dress and you did a great job! I know how you fell about the hem -- I recently had a similar experience. Unpicking handstitches is the hardest!

    What shirt pattern will you be sewing up for your husband? My fella recently requested a 3 piece linen suit. Mind you I've never sewn anything like that before. I guess that's why he told me I could take 5 years to finish it ;)

    Can't wait to see your 2154; that one is definitely on my short-to-medium list of things to sew.

    1. Thanks! I've never sewn any menswear (unless unisex pyjama bottoms count, hah!), but I'm going to try M6044 for the shirt for my boyfriend (not quite husband :)) Wish me luck!

    2. Oops, I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention. You are a very cute couple. :)
      I think sewing a fella a shirt will definitely score you some diamond points (if the time is right, of course).

      I think M6044 will sew up into a nice shirt and I know you can pull it off. Can't wait to see it!

  3. Very cute dress!!! I love it paired with the wide belt.

  4. The dress is super cute!! Looks great on u!! I love the bow thingo around the neck.
    I'm going to be making a skirt/dress out of satin (crepe) next up and have been pondering about the hem as well... u think if i interfaced a small section of the hem it will help the crease stay?

    1. Thanks, Neeno. :)
      I think the interfacing sounds like a good idea...I've never tried anything like that, though. It seems like it would serve a similar purpose to the horsehair braid I always see Gertie and Casey talking about for full/circle skirts, without being as stiff? It's worth a shot!

  5. This looks great! I'm making my first synthetic dress. It's some type of rayon poly thin buggery fabric. Im glad I'm not the only one having issues with slippery fabric.

  6. Oh god slippery stretch fabric will be the death of me! This really does look gorgeous though and I adore the skirt colour and pattern, so cute! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

  7. Looks lovely on you! Next time, I definitely recommend horsehair. It's a hemming miracle!

  8. lol! I love the cute arrow you added saying "sad hem". And I'm glad you showed it- I enjoy seeing fellow beginners show off their learning experiences! I know I've had a dodgy hem or two for sure, along with a host of other mistakes, lol :)
    Maybe top-stitching on the hem would make it behave? Maybe you could make it a part of the design?
    Such a cute dress though :)

  9. You know what they say - you're your own harshest critic! I think the dress looks gorgeous!! Job well done :)

  10. In real life (vs. a still photo), that hem was not even the teeniest bit noticeable. Everyone loved your dress, it was unique & you looked so pretty!

    RE the cotton sateen bodice stretching -- if you line it with a non-stretchy fabric, you might not want to downsize it. The lining should stabilize the stretching.

  11. GoSh, mega swoon!! I love the fabric combos and this style is so cute with the tie neck....adorable

  12. Really, really cute! This looks so sweet on you!

  13. you are so funny! The dress looks so amazing on you that no one could have noticed the hem :)


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