Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Muslin for a Special Project

I was recently contacted by Organic Cotton Plus about reviewing some of their fabric.

To be honest, I have had my eyes on this hemp/silk blend fabric for some time.  It's pretty luscious, right?!  The color is a little more blue toned than the website photos look on my screen, but the following picture doesn't quite capture the color either.  This is a difficult one to photograph!

As I had a lovely experience with my last review of one of their organic cotton sateen prints, I jumped right on board.  (So much for no new fabric added to the stash, right?!? - except I used this one right away, so maybe it doesn't count?)

When the fabric arrived, it had a bit more drape than I was expecting, so I had to reassess my pattern choice.  Also, the "wrong" side of the satin was just as gorgeous as the right side.  The fabric is labeled as charmeuse, but this seems more like a heavy crepe backed satin than a charmeuse to me, although the weave is not a crepe.

Once I realized that I wanted to use both sides of the fabric to do it justice, there was only one pattern that would do!  I made Vintage Vogue 2354 many, many years ago in a poly crepe backed satin.  The publish date on the pattern envelope is 2001, so my dress is probably close to 15 years old.  I did wear it a few times, decided that I did not like the side opening with snaps and hook & eyes, replaced those with an invisible zipper, did not do such a great job, and to top it off it was made from POLYESTER.  Yuck!  I still don't have the heart to get rid of it, but will I ever wear the garment again?  I doubt it.

Here was an opportunity to try again.  I did attempt to add length to the torso of a fairly complex design with some success with very few years of garment sewing under my belt back in the early aughts, but it did not turn out perfectly, and a muslin was definitely going to be on the table with my gorgeous hemp/silk textile.

To properly lengthen the bodice pieces, I thread traced my muslin pieces but left plenty of extra fabric along the bottom edges.

I pleated those pieces and then trimmed the extra seam allowance.

What remained was a properly lengthened bodice!

The only real issue was that I could not be absolutely sure how those two front pieces should match up.

I took an educated guess, and continued on.

Can I just say how much I love the interesting style lines of this dress!  You just don't find this in modern design, and it's a real shame.

But, oh well, this is why we make our own clothes!

And, of course, I basted a zipper into the side seam to get a better idea of how this thing was going to fit.

Turns out, I had to shorten the left front bodice piece just a bit to make the neckline sit properly.  Other than that, there was not a whole lot to mess with.

I was a good girl and even used my shoulder pads to test the fit.  (They really do make a difference.)

A few notations regarding the alterations to the left front bodice scribbled on my muslin . . .

and it was time to rip the whole thing apart.

Now the question is, did I finish the dress in a single weekend in order to wear this to the opening concert for The Marin Symphony . . .

I just love self imposed deadlines!  But a full length gown with satin fabric involved is a bit much for a simple day at the office, even for me.

[Disclosure:  Organic Cotton Plus provided me with this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]


  1. Organic Cotton Plus has a great selection (what you did with the ginkgo fabric!), and this looks like a stand-out in colorway and texture. Lights will dim, but you will glisten. Aisle way touches and compliments from "admiring since you first walked in" confessional concert-goers will stack to the ceiling (of a concert hall, no less!).

    Donate the polyester dress (and other "never again" pieces) to a theater troupe, or high school drama department. Some aspiring dame or gun moll will wear your creation in her first production. You'll have a free hangar, or two, in your closet, and all will be right with the world (full circle, passing of the torch, new memories to be made).

    'Tis the season (what with the new house) to edit your collection, and perhaps your life Laura Mae, to what, and whom, you TRULY enjoy (so long as this blog continues, and you're willing to suffer an on-going and unsolicited commentary from far afield).

    Kindest regards,

    A selfless fan

  2. I'm a costumer and heartily endorse the above response! It seems like it's always a huge cast and never enough time, a local theater would be very grateful. Thanks for doing what you do, your projects are inspiring!

  3. I have never ordered from Cotton Plus but I always peruse their web site and this blend is the MOON to me! I love natural organic fiber but the blend of hemp and silk would have be at the top of my list. I've never seen this combination before - my 2 favourite fibers in one fabric?! And drapey like a crepe? I can't imagine anything better! My problem is that I'm in Canada and us Canucks have pretty much given up on ordering fabric from the US. You would be shocked at how much it actually costs us - difference in the dollar, pricey shipping AND customs means we have to double the amount we see (ie $19.99 a yard works out to approx. $40 a yard for us) which is a little insane unless it's 4 ply silk :)