I am making Vogue 8956 to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks. Fabrics suggested for the pattern are: Taffeta, barathea, crepe, surah, dotted swiss, voile, organdie, cotton broadcloth, chambray, dimity, lawn, velveteen.
Issue #1: I am ignoring the suggested fabrics.
I am hell-bent on making the dress out of a beautiful piece of silk from Gorgeous Fabrics that Matt gave me for Valentine's Day. It's lovely and the colors suit me. The only problem is that the silk is not crisp like most of the fabrics suggested for the pattern. The weave a loose basketweave and the fabric is floppy. I don't think it's crisp enough for all those dozens (!) of pleats to really pop out. But then again, the pattern suggests crepe as a fabric, so surely it will work with a not-so-crisp fabric, right?
The typical suggestion to stabilize a loosely woven fabric is to underline it. (This is not the same as lining it!) The classic fabric for underlining is silk organza. This leads me to...
Issue #2: I am using a lightweight silk dupioni for underlining.
It's the same fiber and care requirements as the basketweave (both silk, both have survived my washing machine's gentlest cycle and the dryer on low with no issues - I tried test swatches first though). The dupioni has a little more body than the basketweave, but after being washed it's not too terribly crunchy. I found it in the most beautiful ocean blue at JoAnn's (on sale, plus my new ASG member discount!) so I went for it. I think it will stabilize the loose weave and make the inside beautiful without a lining. I'll be wearing Serious Undergarments* with a full slip and the fluffer, so a lining would be just too many layers of fabric I think.
I would love to be able to do this method of underlining and neatly finishing the seams at once, but that method does not lend itself to solving any potential problems created by...
Issue #3: I have not made a muslin to adjust the fit of this pattern.
I have made adjustments to the pattern pieces based on measurements, mostly by adding a few inches to the waist. That's right, I had to adjust all those pleats at the waist. My method was to extend all the pleat markings down from the waist a few inches, then redraw the waist line lower, at a point where the new circumference matches my measurements. Then I redrew the hem line at my preferred length. Fingers crossed!
Anybody want to place a bet on whether this project goes down in flames?
*For me, and for this project, that means a bra that brings me up to 36", plus a waist cincher that keeps my waist size consistent whether sitting or standing. I originally bought it to squeeze my post-baby fat into submission for special occasions, but I have found that it is very helpful for my posture, which makes me look and feel better in a nice dress. A boned waist cincher also allows me to reduce the amount of ease required at the waist to accommodate the belly fat roll that appears when I sit, so my vintage dresses fit more like they did back in the day when a sturdy foundation garment was typical. Also, Serious Undergarments make me feel foxy like a pin-up in a way that sweaty Spanx sausage casing never will. Totally worth it, and not that uncomfortable IMHO but your mileage may vary!