See that pretty yellow and black chiffon fabric? Doesn’t it look like it would make a fun dress? Does it scream 1960s psychedelic to you? It did to me. Another of the Arthur Toyes haul, I really liked and still do like the look of this fabric, I find it happy and appealing.
A few days after I bought the fabric, I was walking down the street and saw this incredibly beautiful Somali woman wearing a skirt made from this fabric. Tall and elegant the fabric floated around her ankles, a vibrant bottom to her severe black Hijab. Thoroughly inspired by how glamorous she made that fabric look I went home and pulled out the bag with my 3m of the stuff. I’ve had this Burda pattern for a while, I like it. The lady on the envelope? She looks sophisticated and interesting. In my brain I combined the pattern and the fabric, morphed the two inspiration ladies and voila! I would become a sophisticated Glamazon.
Not even my incredible powers of self delusion, can turn this image of a short blonde stuffed in a dress that looks like the fabric is trying to eat her, into that woman of style and elegance that was in my head. When I bought the fabric I had no real plan in mind, the store was closing down, the 50% off meant it wasn’t expensive and hey I like yellow. I have a trunk and cupboard full of fabric purchased just like this, no purpose in mind, just fell in love with it. Which is fun when sitting amongst piles of fabric playing with it, folding and “re-organising it” but can mean I pick fabrics that may not always suit me and can on occasion be an absolute nightmare to work with.
This fabric? NOT fun to sew. I did not like sewing this fabric Sam I am, I did not like it cutting on the floor. I did not like it hand rolling the edges for hours four! It’s a chiffon, a floaty synthetic chiffon – possibly the most evil fabric to work with I have ever encountered. I laid it out on the floor to cut out and swear, I only leant across to pick up my scissors and the damn stuff was halfway across the room. Ever put a jumper on a reluctant toddler? That’s what cutting was like – lots of wriggling and tantrums.
The pattern itself is really simple and easy to put together, just four seams. There are no facings, no fastenings, no zip, not even buttons, it ties on your body at the shoulder – how easy is that??? Teach me not to think things through. No facings, that means all the edges are raw and need to be finished somehow. Chiffon, floaty fraying, semi-transparent evil chiffon.
I tried a couple of things, overlocking looked awful, a tiny narrow twice folded machine hem was heavy and ugly. If it wasn’t bulky then the black thread showed through messily. Stumped I rolled the dress up in a ball and threw it back in the bag in the corner and started thinking about chiffon scarves.
Frustrating as this dress was and is (I’m still trying to figure out how to style it so it doesn’t look so engulfing), there is a good thing that came out of this dress. I learnt how to hand roll a hem and by the time I finished I was quite good at it. But take my advice for goodness sake don’t try it for the first time using nylon INVISIBLE THREAD!!!!