THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

November 25, 2007

Holiday 2007 – Vouge 8313, Preparing the Pieces

Filed under: couture sewing,Embellishment,Fabric — phyllisc @ 10:52 am

This is probably the least interesting part of the construction process.   The pattern has been thread traced onto fabric blocks, and each piece will be cut as I need it to keep raveling down to a minimum.  The seam allowances will also be cut extra wide and trimmed to deal with the raveling. The photo on the left is a back skirt piece from the right side, and the right side photo shows the same piece with a partially basted underlining.  In my mind I went back and forth over whether or not to also add a lining, and then decided the organza underlining would add enough structure, and I would still be able to see and enjoy the reverse side of this brocade, which is just a beautiful as the side I chose.  The silk organza looks much more opaque than it really is because I didn’t use a flash for this photo.

The crystal beads arrived yesterday, so I mocked up the crystal picot edging.  After some experimentation with thread, it turns out that the best one for this application is a double strand of Guterman silk (sold on the blue spool you see below.)  I tried Nymo, a beading thread, but it was too stiff, and a single strand of Guterman was not strong enough to hold the beads upright along the edge of the fabric, which is on a slight bias for the  upper bodice.  However, a double strand of Guterman silk is perfect.  The needle is a sharp with a small eye.  The Swarovski crystals are size 2mm; about the same size as a seed bead.


If I can get all of the pieces pinned and then thread basted to the underlining I’ll be making good progess for today.



  1. Oh my, is this going to be a great dress…love your very graphic indication of tailor basting the organza to the fashion fabric. The side by side photos tell it all.

    Comment by georgene — November 25, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  2. Gorgeous!! I love bead work, and the Swarovski’s are the perfect finishing touch.

    Comment by Summerset — November 25, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  3. Fabulous, beyond fabulous!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — November 25, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

  4. This is probably a really dumb question, but why do you baste the underlining to the fabric motifs? I’ve never underlined anything, but I imagined that you would just baste them together at the seam lines. Is it a special technique for this fabric?

    The beading is stunning! This is going to be such a beautiful outfit!

    Comment by Supermollio — November 25, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  5. Hi Supermollio – that’s a good question actually. I basted the entire piece of organza all across the fabric is to keep the two layers (which are pretty fluid and drapey) from shifting while I construct the dress. Also, I couldn’t just pin the layers together because the taffeta (red) side of the brocade shows pin marks if pins are left in for more than an hour or so.

    Comment by phyllisc — November 26, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  6. Also it’s best to use silk thread for the tailor’s basting stitch, which does not leave marks. I learned this when I worked on a silk duchesse satin wedding gown a couple of years ago.

    Since when interlining, the 2 fabrics are supposed to behave as one, it is very important that the 2 layers do not shift – no billows or wrinkles to mar the hang of the finished garment on the outside.

    The tailor’s basting keeps the 2 fabrics melded together in the construction phase. It is very important that the straight grain of both fabrics be identical.

    Comment by georgene — November 26, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  7. Phyllis, I love the detail you are posting! Thanks a lot for the extra effort this takes. One more really basic question. Did you lay the organza and the silk out together when you thread traced the pattern and then baste them together at the cutting line and the interior?

    Comment by Lorna — November 26, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

  8. Great tutorial Phyllis, but I do hope you considered the turn of cloth too for your silk underlined dress.

    Threads magazine issue 68 had a great informative article written by Sandra Betzina about how to use underling like Phyllis used for her skirt. It is very important to use the turn of cloth in any garment when you use an underling like this.

    See the article at

    Comment by Els — November 26, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  9. That’s very helpful. Thank you for explaining!


    Comment by Supermollio — November 26, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  10. Hi Lorna – I thread traced the pattern outline only on the fashion fabric, and then overlaid the organza on top, and then tailor basted the layers together, which helpts to preserve the turn of the cloth as Els mentions.

    Becaue of the single layer layout, I was lucky and could align selvages for grain on both the organza and the fashion fabric for the back pieces. For the front piece, I did have to thread trace the grain on the fashion fabric because it was in the center of the layout. The border has a horizontal repeat, so the floral motifs need to wrap around the dress the way they do on the fabric, hence the single layer layout.

    Comment by phyllisc — November 27, 2007 @ 7:41 am

  11. What a terrific job you’re doing. Can’t wait to see the finished result.

    Comment by Berry — November 28, 2007 @ 5:05 am

  12. Bravo, Phyllis! Excellent tutorial and detailed work!

    Comment by Tany — November 29, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  13. Simply beautiful. I am planning on using that picot edging on a project of mine, so thanks for sharing that.

    Comment by Connie — November 29, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

  14. This is going to be such a wonderful dress! Thanks fo all the detail you’re sharing.

    Comment by Robyn — November 30, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

  15. Phyllis, can you go into a little more detail on how that picot edge is forming with the beads? It’s beautiful, and I do appreciate all the detail you’ve given so far. But I’m looking at it, and am trying to figure out if the beads are just absolutely so close together they’re touching, or if there is a little thread loop or something between. Maybe it’s just my over-50 eyes that I can’t see it.

    Comment by Marji — December 2, 2007 @ 9:57 am

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