Feeling Good in Your Skin

Pattern: Kimono Sleeve Dress from Pattern Runway, $9.50

Fabric: 4 ply silk crepe purchased at Satin Moon Fabrics in San Francisco

Notions: 1 shank button from stash, silk organza for interfacing

Cost: I’m embarrassed to admit this but about $120


Like I said yesterday, this is my favorite finished garment to date. It was so satisfying to make and even more satisfying to wear. This is the type of dress that makes your feel good in your skin. Here’s the low down on the process:

Since I did a run through with muslin last week, there weren’t any surprises this time around. I can’t say enough good things about Pattern Runway’s products. The assembly of the pattern was made really easy with little paper ledges and graph lines. The instructions were straight forward with diagrams where needed. If you get stuck there is also a tutorial on the blog that has step by step pictures. This project has really changed my mind about print at home patterns and I already have plans to make the sleeveless sundress before fall gets here.

I made an error in judgment by cutting out the pattern late Friday night. The combination of poor lighting and a tired seamstress could have ended in disaster but (thankfully) I only fouled up in cutting the skirt portion. One of the edges was off kilter when I went to examine it the next morning and I spent some time pulling threads trying to get the pieces on grain. I’m so thankful that I decided to cut the length as printed because otherwise I wouldn’t have had length to sacrifice.

In addition to not cutting at midnight, I’d lay out some cotton flannel underneath to give me better control. The fabric isn’t as shifty as charmeuse or chiffon but it isn’t as stable as cotton either. I didn’t have any flannel so I chose to use pins in lieu of pattern weights, my normal method. The pins added some bulk in places so the cut wasn’t accurate. This didn’t affect the garment though.

Although most of this was mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m going to repeat it here so that it is all in one place. I used a 2.6mm stitch for construction with Mettler mercerized cotton thread. I finished the seams by hand overcasting using silk thread and blanket stitch. I chose a braided no-roll elastic which was heavy enough to hold up the skirt. For the hem, I used my machine blind stitch. Although the average person won’t notice, you can see the prick stitches on the right side. If I were to use this fabric again, I would blind hem by hand.

To interface the facings, I decided to go with silk organza. I wanted the crispness without interfering with the drape and it came out as desired. If you’d like a sleeve that is less pronounced at the top, you might consider using a silk georgette for the sleeve facings.

I varied from the given instructions in two places. One, I reinforced the underarm with a row of stitching an 1/8″ from the seam line at the curve and then clipped the curve. Two, when I overcast the sleeve facings I took a few prick stitches along the way to anchor the facing because, even with the understitching, it kept peaking out. Other than that my construction followed that of Pattern Runway’s.

The dress feels so good on and is really comfortable to wear. Any wrinkles from sitting down are quickly released within a few minutes of standing. The style is great for both day and evening wear with a quick change of accessories and shoes. Depending on the culture, it could also be work appropriate. Just imagine it with a belted waist, some sensible shoes, and a blazer! I have a feeling that I’m going to be living in this dress.



27 Responses to “Feeling Good in Your Skin”

  1. I.love.this. Love it! You did a great job and it looks so good. I can only imagine how soft it must be.

  2. Thank you, Andrea! It really is soft. 4 ply is seriously addictive. I’ve been running the numbers to see what it would take to have all my clothes out of it!

  3. GORGEOUS! love the fabric, color, shoes… everything. it looks so luxurious!

  4. Lovely dress – you look fabulous 🙂

  5. Great review~ and beautiful job you’ve done. I’ve got this pattern ready to go, thanks for the inspiration!

  6. That fabric drapes perfectly for the design! It looks so comfy, wearable and chic!

  7. This dress is absolutely phenomenal. Everything just looks so luxe—the textures are jumping out at me.

    Super-cheeky question—what do you wear under something like this? One of my biggest concerns about drapey tops is the bra show-through…but you look great! Are you wearing a cami or slip underneath? Feel free to chastize if I’m being TOO obnoxious 😉

    • You’re such a doll, Eunny! Thanks!
      Not too obnoxious at all – I was worried about it as well. I kept thinking that I’d have to buy one of those body slimming suits just to feel descent in it but surprisingly the fabric glides over most of my bras. If you look closely, you can see the top of the bra cup in a couple of these photos but I’ll confess that the bra doesn’t really fit me. It doesn’t happen with the “t-shirt bras” that I normally wear.

  8. I swear it’s worth every single cent…and then some. Just a stunningly beautiful and elegant dress. I think the “cost per wear” will justify any lingering doubts you have about the cost.


  9. Love, love, love this, Lizz!!! Those shoes look amazing with the dress, and your eyes are really popping with the blue! Worth every penny 🙂 I’d love to see a detail of the hand overcasting – I’ve never finished a seam that way, and am a bit intimidated to do so. Also out of curiosity, how does pulling threads correct grain? (Sorry for picking your brain over this one so much!)

    • Thanks, Lavender!
      I’m happy to answer any questions you have. Pulling threads in and of itself doesn’t correct grain but after cutting I had a terrible time seeing the grain in the dark fabric so pulling threads helped. The vertical seams were on grain but the hem and waist lines were totally crooked so I needed to straighten them without cutting too much off.
      Thanks for mentioning the hand overcast – I had intended on posting photos but forgot. This fabric was quite messy due to the four plies and I had my doubts as to how well the hand overcasting would work but it’s really holding up.
      This is the skirt portion that I finished first. I decided to stitch 1/4″ from the seam line to give myself a reference line in the beginning. This worked really well and by the time I started the body I didn’t need it anymore. Of course, if you were using a really lightweight fabric this reference stitch would add unnecessary bulk.

  10. This colour and style really suit you. Very elegant look.
    Wrt correcting grain, an easy way to line up patterns to the fabric grainline is to use a ruler/ measuring tape and measure in from the selvedge to the top and bottom of the grainline marked on the pattern. As long as these measurements are the same you are on the grain. I try to use the actual selvedge in my seam allowances (vertical ones)- it helps prevent the seam from stretching out of shape (especially when there’s draping/ folds involved..).

  11. Love it! It looks fabulous! I LOVE that you spent $120 on it and said so. It’s a gorgeous dress and fits beautifulyl.


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