I was so happy to get started on my next Beckford Silk project. This time it was using the stunning Eastern Vines print, a print created in collaboration with the V&A taking inspiration from beautiful Japanese lacquer work.
The chosen pattern was the Martha dress from Tilly and the Buttons. This lovely fit and flare dress in the elegant printed silk will be perfect for Autumn/Winter occasions such as Christmas and New Year parties or winter weddings.
I love the Tilly and the Buttons instruction booklets, they give a detailed step by step guide that is very easy to follow no matter what your sewing or garment construction ability.
I laid out my pattern pieces. Rather than pinning I held the fabric down flat which I found helped me control the silk giving a nice clean cut. There are lots of panels and pieces in the pattern some of which are bias cut, so I cut in two phases.
I took extra care with the bias cut pieces as I found the fabric was more prone to moving and stretching out of place. I found clipping the the edges of the fabric together helped keep the fabric in the right place. I was very careful to ensure I had the grain line lined up properly with the selvage and measured the distance to check the pattern was correctly placed on the fabric.
I applied iron on interfacing to the the collar and facing pieces. When ironing on interfacing I always line the ironing board with paper to protect it from the interfacing glue. There is nothing worse than a sticky ironing board!
When it was time to sew I changed my machine needle to a new sharp, fine needle. I found it really important to keep all my fabric pieces clipped together with the pattern piece to make sure I didn’t get the pieces mixed up, particularly the skirt panels as these all looked very similar!
The instructions suggested stay stitching the curved edges which stopped the curved edges and bias cut pieces stretching out of shape.
When working with this dark fabric I made sure I marked the notches well, it was very easy to lose them! I marked the dart points with tailor tacks and drew the dart line on clearly with a pencil to make sure I got the dart line straight. Snipping into the seam allowance on the curved princess seam edges really helped ease them together when stitching and after pressing it gave a really smooth neat finish.
Once the bodice and the skirt pieces were made up I stitched them together. This was a lovely point where the garment really started to take shape. However this point was tricky to get right to make sure the seams lined up nicely. This took a couple of attempts to get right, but it was well worth taking the time at this stage as it’s very important to the finished look.
The sleeves have a slight gather at the shoulder so I used a contrast thread gather stitch on the machine. The sleeves lined up nicely and were easy to fit. The contrast thread was easy to unpick afterwards.
Next it was zip time, the part I was nervous about. I have found zips a little difficult in the past, but the instructions made it so simple. The booklet tells you exactly how and where to sew and has lots of helpful tips. Applying interfacing to the seam allowance where the zip fitted in was a great tip. I was so delighted to fit a beautiful invisible zip first time!
Fitting the collar and facing into place took a little time, but looks beautiful once stitched in. At this stage the dress looked quite long, the pattern allows for a large hem allowance, so once hemmed as per instructions it really looked great.
I’m so pleased with the finished garment!
Thank you to Suzy, for sharing her recent make with us! It looks fantastic, and the sheen of the silk satin gives it a luxurious finish. If you are inspired to make your own Eastern Vines silk dress then do go to our website to find out more about this stunning silk fabric print.
To see our collaboration with the V&A to create this silk fabric print then do take a look at this BLOG.