I was a tester for the pattern, and I made it up first in a muslin for testing purposes, doing my usual BHL 2 inch FBA, which worked pretty well and also gave me the little more I needed in the waist too (I’d be a BHL 18/22 if they went up that far – they are ever so nearly in plus sizes!). Once that was done, on to my silk!
This is a lovely, slightly crisp, slightly mad (Rorschach anyone?) silk twill which I picked up on my trip to Vietnam earlier this year and had been hoarding for just the right pattern. I made a few further modifications to the testing pattern for my final version, sewing the straps with a smaller seam allowance to make them a smidgen wider, and making the back of the straps attach to the back bodice in more of a curve, to cover up my bra straps.
I underlined all the silk with silk organza, which is a time-consuming technique but one that’s well worth it- I always feel like my underlined garments are the best looking ones! Then, I lined the dress with creme crepe de chine. I did the bodice as per the BHL instructions – although I did Oona’s “flip it over” technique to attach the lining to the zipper by machine (why did I ever do that by hand?!). I also lined the skirt, as the tulip shape means you’re going to be flashing to folks whether you like it or not, and I didn’t want to be flashing organza (or indeed have it next to my skin). To attach the lining I sewed it right sides together to the curved hem all the way round to the back seam. Then, I flipped it right sides out, and finished the back hem by stitching the lining and silk together (almost like underlining) and finishing that seam with bright pink bias binding, before putting the zip in.
The biggest challenge with this one was definitely print placement! I mean, what do you do with that print?! I decided that my goal would be symmetry, but I wouldn’t try to do any pattern matching. I did a reasonably good job – after an Instagram referendum I chose the front bodice motif, and then some “coordinating” (but not matching) side panels. The on the back I took the same approach and managed to do the mirroring pretty well. The eagle eyed among you will notice one error – the underlap piece of the front skirt is not symmetrical with the other side of the skirt.. Sadly I didn’t have quite enough fabric to match everything, and I figured that was the one piece that could cope best with being the odd one out. And I’m going to bet that only sewists would ever notice! (The front skirt looks like it’s skewed off center in the photo below, but it’s just the way I’m standing…).
My only qualm with the final thing is that it’s pretty short on me, and that skirt definitely goes a lot higher at the front than I’d usually wear. I may tack down the two pieces and/or just sit down very carefully… Next time, I’ll probably add 2 inches to the whole thing.
Are you making something colourful or sparkly for holiday parties this year? What pattern are you using? I think the BHL have a lot of options if you’re looking.
I was a pattern tester for the Kim Dress and received the testing and final pattern for free. It probably influenced my opinion. But I like my dress, so I don’t really care!