Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a new year, and there is a new dress

Best of a bad lot on a dark January evening
My Burda sheath dress project got temporarily side-lined by Christmas present projects. And by a little mishap that deflated my enthusiasm for it. I was merrily sewing along making great progress towards the end of November when I discovered a hole (yes, a HOLE) in the fabric of the skirt, right at centre front. And above the level of the hem (although luckily near the hemline).

Good God, how did I miss this when I was cutting out the dress? Good God, how was I going to recover?

Mend - inside
Mend - outside
Luckily, the fabric is very thick and very dimensional (it is a double wool crepe, so technically two layers of crepe that are attached to each other, but not extremely firmly), I could easily harvest lots of self-fabric thread for mending, and the hole was worse on the wrong side than the right side (although there were cut threads on the right side too). I did my best invisible weaving imitation. And then I put the mostly-constructed dress into time-out to stew over its sins and let the magic closet do its work with that little mend (out of sight = out of mind). It has mostly worked I think.

Onward. This fabric is magic. It is thick and dimensional and my triple-stitch topstitching looks pretty fabulous on it, if I do say so myself. Further, because it's crepey, it has a lot of give and the dress is super comfortable although quite fitted. And then, because it's wool, it is nice and warm even though it's sleeveless.

Bodice lining is poly tie fabric
I think Burda wanted me to line it to the edge, but I made little facings (which I sewed to the lining and then treated as part of the lining) to prevent the lining from showing at the neck and arm openings. This made the edges fairly thick - I kept it all nice and flat by allowing about 1/8" for turn of cloth at the armhole above the diagonal seams on both front and back.

The relatively thick facings made for a bumpy shoulder area. I retro-fixed this by cutting a little padding out of fusible fleece which I slipped between the layers and fused to the lining side.

The seaming details are really lovely even though they might be mostly invisible to the casual observer. The seams line up very nicely with the darts at the waist and with each other at the side.

As usual these days, The Sewing Lawyer's stash came up with all the needed bits including the interesting lining, invisible zipper, thread and emergency fusible fleece. The fabric for this dress was purchased at Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago when I was there in 2012, along with the fabric for this suit. So they coordinate, right? Well yes, the jacket does look pretty good with the dress.

But to my surprise, another jacket in my closet looks even better with it. I made this jacket in April, 2007, long before this blog got started, and it's what The Sewing Lawyer will be wearing with the dress on the first working day of 2016.

Happy New Year from:


  1. Such beautiful lines on the dress! I like the little facings and the snazzy lining--not a fan of lined-to-the-edge on an otherwise elegant garment. Off topic, but do you have a recommendation for having labels made? Thanks!

  2. Beautifully done – the sewing, fitting, mending – the whole shebang. And gorgeous with the jacket. Please tell us about the jacket.
    Vancouver Barbara

  3. Great dress, the topstitched seams look fab!

  4. Very professional! You made this look fabulous, I love the whole outfit. Great job on the repair.

  5. I agree with becki-c that this dress along with all your other sewn garments look so professional and the fit is spot on! Happy New Year. Karen

  6. Gorgeous dress and beautifully fitted as always.

  7. Great dress, and I understand the magic of putting it away for a while. Sometimes with something like this, just going to lie down for a while will help. Too much input after a sudden tragic problem shuts us down,I think. I really like the dart tucks in this. Glad it worked out, and I think I was there when you bought this fabric? :)

    1. You certainly were! (And you may have urged me to buy it too.)

  8. Well done for mending the hole. The dress is lovely.

  9. Fabulous! The best dressed lawyer in town. I love that second jacket. It's really gorgeous and looks wonderful with the dress.

  10. This dress looks expensive and I mean that in the most complementary way.

  11. Great fix and nobody will notice it as you will be distracting them with your lawyerness and tripled stitch top stitching! Great pattern and beautifully done.

  12. Impeccalbe outfit and outstanding sewing. You must be the chicest employee in your division. Happy New Year again and see you soon. xx

  13. Kayy, the whole kit and kaboodle is fabulous. Fit, design, fabrication is all top knotch. Too see this and know you fit yourself, is an inspiration.