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Sewing, Style & Creative Writing
  • An Update on Nadia’s Birthday Dress

    Posted on 29/10/2013 by David in The Women I Sew For.

    It’s been a little quiet on the sewing front over the last two weeks; not because I was lazing around but because my productivity output clearly didn’t measure up with the hours I put in. On top of this, I still haven’t managed to find a fabric I really like for my winter coat project  which may well transform into a spring jacket if I don’t act faster. In summary, it’s been a frustrating time…productivity: nul points; Learning curve: a generous 10 as there is no point beating myself up and I prefer to remain upbeat even in defeat! Indeed I’ve lost a few battles but not the war as I am finally starting to tame the beast which is none other than the georgette fabric I’ve purchased for Nadia’s birthday dress. I’m sure some of you will spare a thought as this is my first time working with silk so let’s do a rundown of what didn’t quite go to plan and some of the solutions I came up with.


    Cutting silk

    Are you a paper or a gelatine person when it comes down to cutting silk? Apparently these are the two most popular methods! You either sandwich the silk between 2 pieces of paper or you give your silk a well-deserved gelatine bath (not so extravagant compared to Cleopatra bathing herself in donkey’s milk). I didn’t use of these methods and favoured a more traditional approach with plenty of weights and pins before tracing around and cutting the fabric. I did a decent job with this but I’m keen on trying the paper method next time. As for the gelatine, some people swear by it but I do worry this may adversely affect the texture of the fabric.



    Cute stuff to look at, isn’t it? Not so cute to sew though and I bet my facial expressions would easily have rivalled that of Freddy Krueger because “A Nightmare on Sewing Machine” it was! Now I wouldn’t be fair putting the blame on my good old Bernina as this is more my lack of experience which played a major part in the initial di-SAH -ster!

    Sewing 2mm pintucks on silk really isn’t my idea of fun. Somehow I found a couple of holes in the fabric after I did half of them so it was all back to square one. This ridiculously small – but visible -part of the dress went on for agggges and after a few trials and errors I realised:

    -Lowering the thread tension on the machine really helps to sew nice-looking silk pintucks.

    -Pulling the fabric and buying good quality thread is paramount if you want to prevent the sewing machine from jamming.

    -Cutting a larger piece of fabric than you actually need helps, measuring that piece perfectly before sewing pintucks doesn’t. Why? Next point…

    -How do you keep exactly the same distance between each pintuck? This is the $1,000 question. I thought of pulling one or two fabric threads at regular intervals but clearly that didn’t work. It seems the fabric wasn’t woven evenly. So I eventually settled for a dual method of pulling the thread and eyeballing the distance between each pintuck. Did that work perfectly? No, but the result is close enough for me. Readers, I’m really open to suggestions on that point if anyone has any!


    Hem finish

    I won’t disclose too much for now but I cut the front and back of the dress on the bias. What was really fun to do was using a special foot on the Bernina serger which did the tiniest and most delicious overlocked hems I’ve ever seen! I have no idea what foot was used for that effect as I borrowed it from my friend Rita but it’s apparently expensive and needs pre-ordering. I think the hems I did are akin to what we call lettuce hems which can be simply done on a sewing machine.


    That’s all for now! There is still a big chunk of work left to do so bear with me before the big reveal!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Delgado says:

    Bonjour, coudre sur un tissu en soie est la chose la plus difficile qui soit cela demande beaucoup de dextérité, de souplesse, de finesse… Les motifs fleurs dans le ton “violet parme” sont magnifiques et je suis persuadée que Nadia sera ravie d’avoir une si belle robe confectionnée par le très grand couturier David à l’occasion de son anniversaire.


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