Adventures with Silk Chiffon

Hello! Its been a few weeks since we moved into our new house, and I’ve finally had some time to get sewing. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about neglecting the blog, ridiculous as that sounds, but I think this is a good garment to get going again!  These photos are taken in my new sewing room (photos to come) against my lovely teal wall.


First things first, before I talk about the dress, check out my new hair cut! I’ve wanted an Emma Watson style pixie cut for years, and last week I finally did it. And I really like it, thankfully! 

So, to the dress. Its another Grainline Alder dress, this time view A (the one without the butt ruffle). Because I am a sucker for punishment, I made up in a gorgeous black and white silk chiffon from the Fabric Store. I’ve had it sitting in my stash for a while, but I’ve been a bit wary of using it. There are so many horror stories out there about silk chiffon! Every time I picked it up I was put off by just how shifty it is. Its not slippery, as such, just really mobile.

To tame the writhing, shifting mass of fabric, I starched the whole length of it before starting! It made the silk feel pretty gross, but that was a small price to pay for a nice crisp length of fabric which didn’t shift out from under my pattern pieces or twist and warp under my presser foot. And it washed out, so that was a relief! As I’ve made an Alder before I knew it would fit, so it was a fairly straightforward sew once I had the fabric sorted out (though the above photo makes me think I should have done a sway back adjustment. Must stop being so lazy)! I wanted a slightly dressier version, so I left off the collar, and didn’t topstitch the collar stand. I may have to go back and top stitch it down though, as the silk is a bit bubbly now that I’ve washed the starch out!

I think I should have used a slightly heavier interfacing, probably silk organza rather than the lightweight fusable I went with. Again, I was just being a bit lazy, but I regret it now! The button bands and the collar stand are a bit droopy. Lesson learned! The rest of the finishing on this dress is pretty good though, I slipstitched the collarstand facing and the armscye bindings down, the seams are all frenched and the hem is machine rolled. And I think I’m finally getting to grips with nice buttonholes, these ones are lovely and neat! I still need to get the manual out (thank you thank you Nana for keeping it!!) every time to remind me which order the levers get flipped, but thats ok.

I used smokey, sparkly buttons, just because. They’re incredibly hard to photograph! I like that they’re subtly blingy.

So thats my new dress! I can’t decide if I prefer it belted or unbelted. I might try it with a self fabric tie as well. I am going to need to try it with a different slip, as this one made everything super static-y and clingy! 

Finally, a huge, spectacular, massive thank you to everyone who voted for my jammies in the Carolyn Pajama Party, because I won! I’m so excited and grateful to get such an amazing prize, it was an excelent way to start my weekend. And to make it even better it was a Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network clean sweep, with Sophie-Lee taking second place with her awesome dog print pair. Thank you all so much 🙂

31 thoughts on “Adventures with Silk Chiffon

  1. Well, dang, this looks awesome. I haven’t really liked this pattern for me ever, but it looks awesome in the chiffon! And good on your for braving it – I have a few chiffon’s I should get around to actually using… one day.. *sigh*

    Also – the hair cut looks awesome/you look awesome

    Aaaand, congratulations again – your PJ’s definitely deserved the win!

  2. I love your hair and your new turquoise wall! I’ve always wanted a wall that colour, because Tilly looks so cute against hers! Your dress is lovely too – and congrats on the PJs!

  3. Congrats on the PJs and your brave hair cut! I’ve considered the pixie befoe but have always chickened out. Looks great on you. How did you starch your fabric? Where does one even get starch? Enlighten me please!

    1. A pixie would look awesome with your curls! I found the starch at New World, its called Crisp, comes in a light blue aerosol can. I just sprayed it on and ironed it in section by section until I had done the whole length of the fabric! I’m not sure how it would work on something heavy and slippery like silk satin, but it was quite helpful here 🙂

  4. I’ve always wondered if that starch trick worked? Thanks for the tip. Love this dress, static is such a buggar isn’t it? You might need to whip up something in rayon for under, that came was so pretty you made previously. A huge congratulations on the win, you thoroughly deserved it. Congrats to the other NZers too.

  5. Its lovely! Great pattern and fabric for you. By the way, I was the very bemused and confused hairdressing patron. I can’t believe I managed to recognise the coat but attribute it to the wrong person!! Hope it wasn’t too strange!

  6. Really pretty dress! The Alder is on my to sew list this summer and I just got some nice silk crepe de chine, so the starch tipp came at the right moment. 😉

  7. I love how your shirt turned out. I am making my Granville this weekend. I have a can of Crisp which my husband uses to iron his shirts, so I may just have to borrow that! It’s the fiddly bits of a shirt that makes me nervious with this fabric but seeing how great your shirt looks gives me confidence. Congrats on rocking the bold new hair cut – brave!

  8. Love the hair and was delighted you won the PJ comp, so well deserved! Nice job with your crispy chiffon! I’ve done it before but found in a solid that the starch did mark a little… Fortunately was a lining….

  9. I think this look so pretty – the perfect compliment to your new pixie cut – which I love by the way! Short hair rocks! Congrats on the pyjama win too – your pyjamas were fantastic!

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