THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

December 15, 2007

Holiday 2007 – Final Details

Filed under: couture sewing,Couture Techniques,Patterns — phyllisc @ 1:15 pm

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!



  1. Phyllis, you did a fantastic job on this dress and also inspired many people on trying and reviving Haute Couture techniques! I lack the English words to express my full admiration! The last paragraph of this post should be framed and highlighted! A BIG STRONG HUG to you from this side of the planet! BRAVO!
    (Now off to grab my copy of Fashion : A History from the 18th to the 20th Century and admire the deatils that have inspired you!)

    Comment by Tany — December 15, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  2. The insides are so well done and definitely worthy of being shown off! Couture techniques are time consuming, but well worth it in terms wearing pleasure. Thank you for sharing such a lovely garment with us.

    Comment by summersetbanks — December 15, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  3. Beautiful!!

    Comment by Vicki — December 15, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  4. So very beautiful!! The outside is stunning, but the bits that really make me go “ooooh” are all on the inside! Thanks for posting so many detailed photos of both the construction and the finished dress! I learned so much!

    Comment by Rachelle — December 15, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  5. I’m in awe… your work is so wonderful. Thank you for such detailed pictures and descriptions. You are truly inspiring.

    Comment by Birgitte — December 15, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  6. This is beautiful. I have this pattern but your dress is much better than the pattern would have you believe. Great job. Your work is very inspiring

    Comment by Linda L — December 15, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  7. I love all of the finishing details! I love the seam binding on the seam allowance of the sleeves. The dress is just magnificent… an absolute work of art!

    Comment by Erica B. — December 15, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  8. I love your dress. Thanks for such a great tutorial. I can learn so much for you. You look beautiful in your dress.

    Comment by Sheri — December 15, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  9. Fab fab fab fab über fab! And trust me, I know über fab!!!

    Comment by tootsuite — December 15, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

  10. Thanks so much for those detail shots! What a terrific garment you created!!!

    Comment by Lisa Laree — December 16, 2007 @ 12:14 am

  11. your work is an inspiration!! It looks beautiful on you!

    Comment by melanie mabe — December 16, 2007 @ 8:11 am

  12. Dresses that are as gorgeous on the inside as they are on the outside are RARE these days. You rock! BTW, that color is delicious.

    Comment by odumnobles — December 16, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  13. Phillys .- Lights fantastic dressed in your creation. Congratulations, so much effort and work has served to a wonderful end. I love clothing, has a perfect bill and sits very well with your style and your figure. Congratulations. A hug from Barcelona. Paco.

    Comment by Paco Peralta — December 16, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

  14. Killer dress. While I love the whole thing, I’m particularly impressed with your beading. It’s lovely, and it takes a simple sheath to the next level!

    Comment by nanflan — December 16, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  15. What a beautiful dress. The finishing work is outstanding…just gorgeous…thnks for posting 🙂

    Comment by Ann — December 16, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  16. Truly wonderful and with an amazing amount of work invested in it. Well done!

    Comment by Gemma — December 17, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  17. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! Thank you for all the tips and the inside details, this dress looks gorgeous on the inside!

    Comment by LauraLo — December 17, 2007 @ 8:11 am

  18. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous dress! Your couture work is an inspiration to all. I adore the finishing details.

    Comment by cindyann — December 17, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  19. Beautiful, beautiful dress! I know what you mean about the wonderful feeling of making a couture garment. That’s exactly how I felt when I made my wedding dress.

    Comment by Isabelle — December 17, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  20. This is what I aspire to…having the inside of my garment reflect the same time and technique as the outside does! Thanks Phyllis for all of the information and the assurance that us “regular” sewists can do this too!

    BTW, you look fabu in your amazing dress! 🙂

    Comment by Carolyn — December 18, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  21. Absolutely Stunning.

    Comment by sheila — December 19, 2007 @ 10:08 am

  22. wow!!!!Great work!
    This is exactly why i sew,have you everturned a store bought dress inside out,even the really expensive ones don’t have this finish!

    Comment by michelle Jadaa — December 19, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

  23. so gorgeous!

    Comment by Kim — December 19, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

  24. Your craftsmanship is so inspiring. Thank you so much!
    Gorgeous! You look beautiful.

    Comment by Robin — December 19, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  25. fantastic-you look stunning-I imagine that wearing such a beautiful garment was very enjoyable-and worht all the effort-congratulations-I very much enjoyed the detials of the project-thank you

    Comment by Theresa — December 20, 2007 @ 1:26 am

  26. The dress is beautiful on you. Stunning. And Thank you so much for documenting the process. Again, Brava for sharing and inspiring another generation to take up couture techniques.
    And thanks again, from these photos I’m able to see how the picot edge was achieved with the beads.

    Comment by Marji — December 22, 2007 @ 11:13 am

  27. Wow, you did an amazing job. I really enjoyed following the different step of your dress making.

    Comment by Berry — December 27, 2007 @ 5:57 am

  28. You did an exceptional job! This dress is a work of art. As a person who has done tailoring in the past, I admire the amount of time you invested in the garment. My tailoring teacher always stressed that a garment should look as good inside as it does outside, and this one does!

    Comment by Norma — February 15, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  29. Thank you for showing off the inside of a well made dress! When shopping, I always turn a garment inside out to judge it. My best buys have always been from the inside out!

    Comment by Suzanna — January 25, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

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