The party – and my dress – were both huge success; I received many, many compliments! So here I am:
I lost a few pounds when I was sick a few weeks ago, so the dress is actually a tad large on me.
And as promised, here are details of the interior. The dress is completely clean finished on the inside. The main seams are covered with rayon seam binding machine sewn to the seam allowance and hand fell stitched to the organza underlining. The neck facing has a Hong Kong finish on the edges, and it’s also fell stitched to the organza.
The hem is black lace, and the actual turned up edge is small because I wanted to use as much of the border as I could Here is a detail of the finished appliqué seam at the side where it meets the regular side seam.
This above photo shows the side seam with the applique seam below. This area was hand sewn three times in this order: the area where the appliqué layers over the cut seam was sewn with a hand overcast, the rayon seam binding was fell stitched and then the appliqué was sewn down from the right side. In the end this worked really well because it evenly distributes wearing stress as I walk in the dress.
Finally, here is a detail of the beading:
The dangles are lengths of 2mm Swarovski crystals and bugles beads capped on the ends with a Swarovski 3mm bicone. Initially I had planned to just do the picot edge, but two things happened: (1) I didn’t order enough beads to do the entire neck and sleeves; (2) the picot edging by itself was overwhelmed by the strong color of the dress. So I had a creative crisis, and went to my copy of FASHION: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century. Page 372 shows a Callot Soeurs gown from 1911 that has a similar neckline and jet bead embellishment. It inspired me to add the shoulder and center front embellishment. The lack of beading at the back is only temporary; this dress makes a strong statement and it can take lots more beading, so I plan to order more Swarovski 2mm beads to finish up the back neckline and the sleeves.
I really encourage every sewist to try at least one project this complex during your sewing life. Couture techniques are not really difficult; they’re mostly just time consuming. If you can find the time in your busy life to do a project such as this you will really be proud of the work you’ve done, you will keep huate couture technique alive and you will inspire a new generation of sewists!