Isn’t this the most amazing colour? In some lights it’s cobalt. Other times it looks what in my mind I call “blueberry”. And the highlights are baby blue, but other times they look turquoise. It’s a visual feast, embodied in my DD3’s new Christmas dress. She leapt at the fabric when she laid eyes on it, and after perusing The Pattern Stash, chose this little classic number called Vogue 8615. The selling feature was the BIG SKIRT. Now, the brocade as has decent amount of heft, as most brocade does, but as you can see from some of the versions on PR (click the pattern image to see) the skirt falls rather flat. The pattern does mention a purchased petticoat, which I think helps the skirt stand properly. But I didn’t want to make a separate petticoat, and DD3 didn’t want to wear a separate petticoat. Isn’t it nice when we’re on the same page with our clients? 🙂
I had in my mind this BIG SKIRT from Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and since we watch this film bi-annually, I was quite sure that I could copy the stiffness of it. If you watch this scene you’ll notice that the skirt actually bends, like there’s 20 layers of organza underlining.I chose to use a stiff netting as underlining – just one layer – and the effect is similar.The hem was fun to make. Vogue suggests a narrow 5/8″ hem, but I wanted more support in that BIG SKIRT, so I turned it up 3 inches and micro-pleated in the extra fullness into purchased 1-inch-wide bias binding (that’s super stiff for some reason) and hand-stitched it to the underlining. I did not press the hem. The skirt is 6 yards in circumference, consisting of four panels. The centre of each panel is cut on the straight grain, which means each seam is on the bias. That was another reason I underlined it with stiff netting. 🙂 Netting on the bias doesn’t grow, and I was surprised, after cutting fashion fabric, that this brocade would if I’d let it have it’s own way.The dress is straining on Vintage Judy through the shoulders, but the V back fits DD3’s shoulders perfectly because I raised it by 1.5 inches and did a short-waist adjustments to keep it sitting properly. I debated putting a waist stay into the dress, but didn’t. I may add one if today’s wearing suggests it would be a good idea. (Today is DD2 and DD3’s piano recital.) The zipper is hand picked, and can I just say it was such a massive pleasure putting a zipper in by hand again? So much simpler than a lapped zip or an invisible zip and completely fuss-free. After inserting the zipper, I made an additional pass over the stitches and added iridescent beads. It’s my first use of this decorative technique. There’s a lot of pattern in this brocade, with a repeat that I ignored except on the CF bodice seam. You can see from the pic above how the BIG SKIRT folds in on itself rather stiffly. So pretty, even if I do say so myself. I’m really liking this pattern, too. It comes with custom bodice sizes A through D cup, two sleeve lengths, and seriously, peeps – who couldn’t love that BIG SKIRT?