My latest project has to be one of my favorites, because it feels so elegant and different from many of the things I’ve made this year.
I haven’t sewn with silk charmeuse since college. I distinctly remember a 30’s inspired yellow dress I made in design school that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever made… and thus was scarred for years. When I recently went to Mood fabrics in NYC and picked out a ton of beautiful designer fabrics, I realized it was time to face my fear and make something simple with silk again. I made sure that I let the fabric shine instead of take over my life.
High Neck Silk Dress with Fringe
The initial design inspiration was a white high neck Helmut Lang design from the early 00’s, which was oddly reminiscent of my wedding dress. Clearly I love this cut! But this oversize houndstooth print was loud, so I was hesitant to overdo it. While at the outset this design seemed simple, I needed to land on a few details that would make or break the dress.
1.the closure – I try not to add in zippers to silk charmeuse wherever possible because the structure of the zipper can ruin the fluid lines of the silk. While I could have done a side set in zipper, I opted out since I wanted the waist to be loose enough to slide over my body. Instead I chose to line the entire bodice so that I could have a small button closure at the back neck.
2. the fringe – at first everyone on instagram begged me to keep the dress simple, but me being me, I knew it would look unfinished without the fringe detail. I ordered 8″ chainette fringe from etsy and while I love it, I wish I had bought even longer fringe!
3. the drawstring – the absolute most hotly debated detail of this high neck dress was the drawstring. Again, my insta-followers said to keep the bag line shape and not ruin it with a drawstring, and I AGREE, however, not with the drawstring I had in mind. By adding a drawstring just to the front and curving the shape so the drawstring ends hang from the sides, this dress was given a little more shape without ruining the lines. Plus, I am now convinced it is even more flattering since it grazes over my waist, and the drawstring ends can be tied in the back to fully cinch in at the waist if it strikes my fancy. I used the lining of the dress, which goes to about the waist as the backing for the drawstring casing, and created 2 button holes next to the side seams in order to have a place for the drawstring to extend out of. I’m happy I had the foresight to have a longer lining in the dress- as this technique worked quite well!