So it was a no-brainer to sew this Jason Wu fabric using my TNT dress pattern...
Wool blend Jason Wu purchased from Mood Fabrics NYC store
Pink rayon bemberg lining
Pink piping from the stash
20" RiRi metal zipper from Pacific Trimmings (specially cut while I waited)
black rayon seam tape
1/4 yard black fusible interfacing
You know the good thing about a TNT pattern, it works all the time. Yes, you do need to make some considerations for how different fabrics will effect the garment's fit but basically the pattern fits with a minimal amount of effort. Due to the fact that this fabric is a little bulky - it is a tweed - I added a 1/2 inch to the center back seam because of the zipper insertion and 1/2 inch to the side seams starting slightly above the waistline.
I did decide that since it's such a fine piece of fabric, that I should use the best sewing techniques I knew to honor this fabric.
I added strips of a lightweight fusible interfacing to the dress' front & back neckline, the armholes of both the front & back and the center back seam. I cut 5/8" strips to use for the armholes and necklines. I used a 1" strip of the fusible interfacing for the center back of the dress. Not only does the interfacing strengthen and prevent the edges of the fabric from stretching out, it also re-enforces the fabric so that the piping and binding will not stress the fabric.
The Darts ~
Since the fabric is tweedy with thick threads, my typical method of using tracing paper to mark the darts wouldn't work well with the fabric. So I used tailor tacks to mark the darts. Here is a great blog post by Miss P that details how to sew tailor tacks and a few photos of my own showing how I made my tailor tacks.
Making the tailor tacks
Tailor Tacks cut apart waiting for dart to be sewn
After sewing the darts, I cut them down the center and press them flat when I know that I'm inserting a lining into the dress. I think the pressed dart lays flatter without as much bulk rather than one pressed down. However, this fabric is very ravelly and without some kind of barrier, over time the fabric would ravel to the sewn seam. So I added a line of small straight stitches next to the cut edge to help prevent the fabric from raveling.
The Zipper ~
The interesting element in this dress is the metallic zipper that I added to the back. Usually I add an invisible zipper but I wanted to add a little edge ~ something that probably won't be seen since I'm planning on wearing a pink cardigan with the dress, but I'll know it's there.
How did I add the exposed zipper? Well I started by reading the article in Threads August/September Issue #162, called "Professional Techniques for Sewing Exposed Zippers". Can I say once again how I'm thrilled that my Threads Magazines are now downloaded to my iPad! It makes them so easy to use in the sewing cave, near my sewing machine. Anyway, I read the article, checked the pictures more than once and decided that I only want the metal teeth of the zipper to show not to have a totally exposed zipper. So I used only part of the instructions but it's a great article and definitely worth perusing if you plan to use this technique.
Here are the pics of my zipper insertion...
Pinning the zipper to the pressed back seam line
Basting the zipper down
Edge stitched close to the zipper coil
twice to insure that it held
The Hemline ~
I pressed 1" of the fusible interfacing onto the hemline after truing it up. Then I folded black rayon hem tape in half, pressed it flat and then stitched it to the hem. The hem was hand stitched down.
The Piping ~
Prior to adding the lining to the dress, I hand basted the pink piping to the neckline.
Then I assembled the lining and added it to the dress. Since I do not own any pink lace for the lining hem (how can that be?) I used some pink rayon seam tape to finish the hem.
This is where the dress stands now. I will have fashion shots next weekend. I'm sure you're wondering if this dress will work with the collection...I'm not sure yet but it just might.
...as always more later!