The Jane Austen silk

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Miss Milly, Miss Laura and I are going to a garden picnic performance! It’s a performance of Sense and Sensibility in the gardens of Beaumont House. Naturally we need beautiful dresses to wear to such an occasion!

I picked this pattern out before Christmas but it took me quite a while to find the perfect fabric.  This needed something light weight but with plenty of drape so the flounce didn’t sit out from the body.

The pattern is New Look 6444 which is very in style at the moment – every woman and her dog seems to be wearing off the shoulder and/or deep frills.

The fabric is stunning pure silk from Eastern Silk at Mile End in Adelaide. They’re having a sale at the moment and are surprisingly reasonable.  I think this ended up costing about $30 which is not bad considering it needed lots of fabric. Be warned, the fabric amount allowed on the pattern envelope is incredibly generous which is kind of annoying when it’s expensive fabric, however I’ve made a whole top for myself from the leftovers so I’m not too cross!

I altered the elastic casing at the neckline so it doesn’t have a fabric frill sticking up above the top edge. This meant instead of using bias binding for the casing I just enclosed the elastic between the top and frill.  To do this I stitched them together at the top edge with right side of frill to wrong side of top then turned it to the outside.  Then top stitched 1cm from the top.

I wanted a shorter dress but the same length all round (not hi-lo) so I used the front piece from the shorter version for both the front and back skirt. Because the silk frays like crazy I’ve French seamed everything and turned all hems and casings under so the raw edge is enclosed. This all took a ridiculous amount of time even for a slow poke like me. I actually did an all-nighter, sewing and watching Outlander on Netflix, and finished the dress just as the sun came up!

The dress seems to be able to be worn on the shoulder, off the shoulder, or one shouldered, which my teens tell me is all the rage. Milly is thrilled with it.  I can tell because she’s been parading around in it wearing my floppy hat.  I think we’re going to have a fabulous time next week at the performance and picnic. Now I just need to get cracking on my own dress which is all cut out but not yet started sewing!

P.S. this was #4 on my holiday to-do list.

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