I’m going to show you, day by day, how I turn this dress into a wedding dress!

[original posted January 5, 2016]

This is day two.  For day one, click here.

Pattern: Simplicity 1195
Fabrics: Over 3 yds of Satin, same of chiffon, some fine white thread from Dual Duty, and Schmetz embroidery needles 75/11 for my machine from Jo-Ann’s.
My height: 5’1″ – 5’2″
My weight: approx. 100 lbs
Pattern size: I’m using size 4
Machine: Kenmore 385.12102990
My skill level: Intermediate

Picture< This is where I left off yesterday.  The skirt still needs to be lined but I don’t believe I have enough satin fabric.  I’ll have to go out and buy more, perhaps tomorrow.  I also have not added buttons.  My mother has suggested I have a hidden zipper and add buttons for show.  But I cannot decide.  That just sounds like an extra unnecessary step to me.  And I’d have to buy a zipper and figure out how to hide it.  Adding (at least 20) buttons sounds like enough work to me.


I spent most of the morning planning how to cut the chiffon.  I did research about sewing with chiffon, I looked at a picture of what I more or less envisioned for the chiffon… and I thought about different options.  First, I was thinking that I wanted the chiffon to be one long piece per side from top to bottom: one front piece, one back piece, and maybe sleeves were included, maybe they were separate.  I examined the proto-dress to see how well I could use it as a pattern directly on the chiffon material.  I imagined cutting two pieces of chiffon by merely cutting around the outline of the completed skirt.  Once I had some ideas, I laid out the material on the dining room table and began pinning the sides until I realized I had to fold it crosswise.

Problem #1:Picture
Unfortunately, I may not have enough fabric to do the full skirt.  Originally, this is what I had hoped to do >

More or less.  But I may not have enough material, and I don’t particularly want to buy more 😦

I looked at several more options for overskirts.  I found this one:Picture

Anyway, so I laid out the pattern on the chiffon, planning to make some of the skirt “narrower” so that it could all fit and there would be an opening (in front or back, to be decided later).



By chance, I found this video about a fake serge stitch and it turned out to be perfect for chiffon.  The edge is not, perhaps, as straight and clean as some might like, but I find it extremely sufficient.

Problem #2:
If someone tells you that chiffon is hard to work with, you just tell them you heard it here first.

PictureBut it’s not so difficult that I wanted to shoot myself for ever thinking this was a good idea.  I weighted down corners, edges with the iron or books or whatever was on hand, and I pinned the edges of the fabric.  I have heard that there is a spray that you can use to make such fabrics temporarily stiff (until you are finished and wash it out) but I have neither the time, patience, or inclination for such a measure.  I must admit, however, that it took me all afternoon to cut and pin and sew together the skirt.

GET. A. ROTARY CUTTER.  It will make all the difference, I promise.

Although I chose a conservative design, I am extremely liberal with pins.  Before sewing anything, I lined pins up along the edge like ants.

I nicked myself with the rotary cutter.

PictureAs I cut the pattern, instead of cutting a tab, I just loosely threaded some dark thread through the spot – a suggestion I read somewhere.  This particular tab was a guide for where to end the seam so I needed the reference.  When I had finished that seam, I effortlessly pulled the thread out.

As I said, I found that the fake serge stitch was perfect.  I did not go back and sew a straight stitch through because I found that the material did not much like that.  So I let it be.  Hopefully, it is enough.


Problems for tomorrow:

  • Will this and how will it attach to the dress?
  • How will I attach the skirt overlay to the bodice overlay?
  • How will I attach this in the back?
  • Should I add a belt in satin where the top seam meets the lower seam of the bodice overlay?

I intend to cut out a fake bodice in some scrap fabric to act as a pattern for the chiffon overlay.  I don’t want it to be in sections as the satin is.  I will also have to hem the bottom of the skirt overlay, again with the fake serge.  It may be time to solidify how the button system will work….  And all those details.

Here is the finished overlay for the skirt, inside out.

For day three, click here.