Hello my dears! Well, this post has certainly been a long time coming. I started this grey sheer wool dress about a month and a half ago, but various things, procrastination among them, prevented me from finishing it until this past week. But I am oh, so happy I finally did!
This dress started all the way back in August of last year when I ordered some “art deco” printed wool from Fashion Fabrics Club. I was absolutely shocked when I discovered upon its arrival that it was actually a sheer weight wool, as I had expected it to be closer to a suiting weight. I had heard about sheer wool, but never had the chance to see it in person, so I was pretty pleased I had it in my possession to make a dress from. “Sheer wool”, at least in my experience with this material, is not as sheer as other fibers such as silk or polyester can be. Rather, it lacks the complete opacity that a heavier weight of wool generally possesses, due to the fibers being more loosely woven. This looseness of weave also helps the dress to be cooler, though I am still not quite certain how many wears it will get before the temperatures become too hot for long sleeves.
I waffled back and forth between a few different dress patterns, but finally decided on the long sleeved version of my hand-drafted “copy” of Simplicity 2439, the pattern from which I made my “Last Dress of Summer” last year.
When I finally decided upon a pattern, the next conundrum lay in how on earth I was going to line the dress. I suppose you could say the lining was the culprit in holding me up during the whole process of making this frock. I went through about three ideas before I finally came up with the final plan: To underline the skirt in cotton voile, and leave the upper bodice sheer and wear a camisole underneath. I did think of making a foundation bodice out of the cotton voile, but I didn’t care for how it was coming out, so I ended up ditching the idea.
One very tricky part about the printed wool being sheer was making sure the underside didn’t show through when it was doubled up. Because of that I underlined the collar with some grey acetate, and also used the same material as my interfacing for the bound buttonholes at the front opening, and the facing for the side zipper.
Material: Sheer Wool from FFC / Underlining: Cotton Voile / Interfacing: Grey Acetate Buttons: Vintage / Zipper: Jo-Ann Fabrics
I just so happened to find these buttons at an antique store a few weeks after my fabric arrived, and they proved to be the perfect finishing touch. For those of you who are curious, the buttons are held together by crochet chains of cotton crochet thread. Behind the front opening, as in my “Last Dress of Summer”, there is a shield, or vestee, of the dress wool lined with cotton voile.
Ah! The sleeves! The other conundrum that sat on my brain for a day and a half. The only problem with this wool is that it frays quite easily, so I was at a bit of a loss as to how I could finish the sleeve opening edges without ruining the sheer effect. My problem was solved after I had a look at my Vogue Sewing Book. Just finish the sleeve openings with seam tape and snaps! Of course! *face-palm*
All of the seams are hand-overcast, and the hem is just a simple seam-tape and slipstitch affair.
Ah! The back silhouette. Probably my favorite part of the dress. I know that sounds rather funny, but it is true. I don’t think I have had a dress that had such an elegant look both front and back. But now I do!
I was pleased to find I had the perfect shoes and belt to complete the dress. Now all I require is a big saucer hat to fully polish the look. 😉
What have you sewn recently?
Have you ever worked with sheer wool?
What is the most eccentric garment you have in your wardrobe?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer
P.S. Yes, I know the dress appears wrinkly, but I did in all honesty give it a good press before taking these photos. I suppose the press that I gave it wasn’t quite good enough though…*proceeds to fetch iron to fix said problem*