Sewing with a Plan 2016 0.9 Vogue Paris Original 1897 by Yves Saint Laurent

posted in: SWAP, WIP (work in progress) | 24

OK! Normally I post my SWAP progress on a Saturday. Trouble was this Saturday I had made very little progress. I was still drying my tears after the wax incident which spoiled my gorgeous washed shocking pink silk following the indigo dyeing weekend.

I asked for advice about what to do and lots of you responded with your generous insights and suggestions.

A few of suggested your own wax withdrawal techniques – most of which I had tried, as you can imagine. So, accepting that the stains are probably permanent, many of your suggestions came down to covering up the wax stains, as listed below. I carefully considered all of these and I am most grateful. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about everything from

  • appliqué (Bunny)

  • cape or train (Felicia)

  • use a different fabric (with virtual swatch and local supplier suggested!) (Diane-Marie)

  • sequins, beads, crystals (Elle C, Mary Funt, Annie, Lyn B)

  • ethereal sequins (Mary)

  • colour blocking (Anna and Jane – Jane and I both have a bit of thing about silver pu fabric…)

  • lace overlay (threading lightly, Cherry, Mary Funt, Ruthie)

  • fabric paint (Mrs Mole – I did have a go at this, on a scrap)

  • embroidery (Jen)

  • machine couching (Chris)

  • chiffon overlay (Mary Funt, Chris, Jay, Sheree)

  • to silvery mesh overlay (Demented Fairy and Susie).

Finally Patsy Jean suggested cutting up my trousers. Which I don’t own, sadly. It was just a picture to show the provenance of the cloth – a Roland Mouret remnant.

Anyway I made a decision. I completed the dress with the stained and slightly faded piece. I thought I might do one or more of the suggestions once it was made. Although there is quite a few hours on the clock with this one I didn’t toile it, and frankly I knew I could do better. If I remake this dress there will a little tweak at the upper chest, and a slight alteration of the bodice side peice. I like making garments up more than once as it gives me a chance to perfect the pattern. I have decided that this glorious pink dress is no more than a wearable toile and I will probably make another version for the SWAP perhaps using the deeper purple, this time with sleeves.

In fact if I had hair like they had in the late 60s it would probably cover the problem area. And when I wear it on Christmas day I am as likely to get gravy or wine on it as anything else. I am just not a pristine type. I make clothes in the kitchen a few feet from the cooker. Once I get a sewing room I maybe able to keep things a bit cleaner and tidier.

A friend sent me this (from 1949) over the weekend.

When I have a sewing room I will wear a white coat.

Dior and I
Dior seamstresses


I wore it for the Carol Concert on Sunday night. And we tried to get a photograph outside too. Sorry – the photos are not that good. But I do like this dress, despite that slight fullness in the upper chest – and those little stains at the back.

24 Responses

  1. Jan

    That is a beautiful dress and you look amazing in it. The so called “imperfection ” of the stains makes it what it is – not what you were wanting I know – but still a dress with its own story – and so much more than a toile. Glad you got a chance to wear it.

  2. Liz

    This is such a fab colour on you! At least if the stains are on the back you won’t be looking at them… you’ll forget they’re there soon enough…

  3. Ruth

    Stunning! Wash it again but don’t iron it – let it wrinkle and fade for a cool “I’ve had this dress for ages” look. In your own words from another blog – let the silk ‘age’. Or even splatter the whole thing with wax to create a two-tone pink design and then you won’t notice the little stains. Shame you’re not completely happy with the dress as I’m sure only you can see the flaws.

  4. Anne

    Ha! I like Ruth’s comment to splatter with wax to create a deliberate look! It’s a lovely dress and I’m sure the back won’t be noticed especially after gravy stains on the front! It’s a fabulous wearable toile!
    I’m assuming that you traced down the culprit indigo dye particles? You had suggested they might be in the air.
    I’m not sure about a white coat for sewing. Though I’m told for wedding dress I should be wearing clean socks!

  5. Jane

    I knew I was going wrong somewhere, I’m not wearing lipstick or dipping my fingertips in French chalk when I’m sewing! I think the dress looks fabulous on you and hopefully after a glass of wine or two you will forget all about the marks on the back.

  6. Marianne

    You look radiant in your dress! The beautiful design, fabulous colour and pretty embellishment will get all the attention. No one will ever notice the stains. Merry Christmas

  7. Jenny

    I completely missed your “disaster” post but apart from brown paper and an iron I would not have be any help anyway. The dress looks great and I am sure any marks will not be noticed, especially in the evening and especially after a glass or two of Christmas Prosecco. So that is my solution. 🙂

  8. Stephanie

    My first reaction when I saw this was “Wow! Beautiful! I like the high waist and the skirt length – very flattering. And the bling…! This is a lovely dress and very flattering on you.

    The Singer sewing advice is priceless. I am not pristine, either, although usually I am careful with my knitting. Yesterday though I slipped and was eating toast and jam near my knitting…and yes, raspberry jam on the knitting. Not helpful!

  9. Jennifer Miller

    It’s so beautiful! Perfect color, and just the right amount of bling. I love Ruth’s comment about the “cool ‘I’ve had this dress for ages’ look”. A friend shared that sewing advice with me and I shared it with my mom. We certainly had a good laugh….the powder and lipstick? Good heavens, not in my world. So glad you were able to wear and enjoy this dress, in spite of the waxy issue. 😀

  10. Maggie

    I love that color on you, and that silver trim is fabulous! I seem to remember a scene from a book (Little Women?, sorry I am not sure) where the character had to stand at a party with her back to the wall because she had a burn or something on the back of her dress. It seems like in that story her friend convinced her to join the party, and you should too- if you keep moving no one will see the stain!

  11. Maggie

    Oh, and that Singer book reminds me, I have a more recent sewing book that suggests sewing in one’s undies to facilitate easier fittings as you sew. My husband read me some from the Singer book that he saw on Facebook, and once I told him about the sewing in the undies idea, he was very happy with my usual sewing attire of a tshirt and yoga pants.

  12. Annieloveslinen

    Well there you go, whoda thunk, perfectionism is clearly overrated. Just goes to show that ploughing on after a setback can work splendidly. You may get more wear out of it as it won’t feel so delicately precious.

  13. Jacqui

    A beautiful dress with some history! Merry Christmas and I look forward to reading all about your sewing adventures in 2016.

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