Thursday, May 30, 2013

1960s Chenille: Construction

The Britex Guest Blogger process starts with an idea for a tutorial.  A recent ebay pattern purchase was nagging me.  And my obsession with silk organza is quickly catching up to my seam binding addiction, so an underlining tutorial seemed like the perfect way to get this 1960s sack-back dress made!

The first item of business was to make a muslin.  My pattern is a 31 1/2” bust – and I am quite sure that I was never that petite, even as a child.  There are many situations in which I cannot be bothered to make a muslin, however, when working with special fabric on a pattern needing significant alterations I feel it is vital.  Turns out, I had to add 1 3/4" in length to the bodice pieces (that is a record for me), so my practice run served me well!

The fun really started when the fabric showed up in the mail!

This time around, I had this incredible fuchsia chenille to work with, along with some silk organza.

I was curious to see what sort of construction methods would be used to stabilize the back bodice.  Turns out, all that is needed is a simple stay.  How fun is it to learn something new from a pattern?!

I ended up lining the skirt because the fabric is perfect for Fall weather, and I have a feeling I will be wearing stockings!

To make a lining, I eliminated the extra pleat fabric by drawing in a new seam allowance, and folding the excess of my muslin out of the way.

Because my skirt back seam is finished with, you guessed it, rayon seam binding, I left the slit open - this helps to eliminate extra bulk at the back pleat.  To keep the lining in place, a used a few thread tacks.

For a bit of contrast, and to pull in the gold and black background, I made a few covered buttons, backed with some gold Zeus lining scraps I saved from a previous project.  Speaking of which, did they stop producing that fabric?  I am bummed that I cannot find more yardage.  It really is my favorite lining for heavier coats. 

Because the back side of the fabric is almost as yummy as the front, I used it for my belt.  

And because I could not find a suitable buckle, I wrapped a bias strip around a basic metal one from my stash.

The last bit was to make the neck bow that snaps the neckline closed.  

In this case, the gold seemed just a bit too much, and with that incredible Chanel video fresh in my mind, I decided to tear apart the extra length I took off of the skirt pieces and make myself some braided trim.

[The fabric for this dress was received in exchange for my contributions as a Britex Guest Blogger.]


  1. Fantastic work - and such as beautiful colour combination. Rich raspberry and burnished gold are tremendously lovely and very sophisticated together. I just know these hues are going to look gorgeous on you.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Fascinating to read about your process. Looking forward to the big reveal!

  3. Fascinating and destined for greatness!

  4. This was especially interesting to me, as lately I've been attracted to those sack backs for some reason and have picked up a couple. It does look at these would be more cool weather dresses as there are quite a number of back warmth! Thanks!

  5. This just looks yummy! Can't wait for the fashion shoot. Loved the hat, too.

  6. This is turning out beautifully! Such a great color combination. I'm looking forward to seeing how that pleated back looks!

  7. This is just stunning! Thanks for sharing your construction process, it is so interesting to see how you construct a dress. I always learn something or remember something that I should be including in my garments from one of your posts!