Hand-Dyed, Draped Silk Dress




Introduction: Hand-Dyed, Draped Silk Dress

This is my first attempt at draping on a dress form! This dress is made from hand-dyed, lightweight silk and big, fat elastic. 

My silk is 36" wide.

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Step 1: Dye the Silk

  1. In a pot, add enough water to cover your silk. Add a splash of vinegar, about 1/4 cup vinegar to 4 cups of water.
  2. Submerge the silk in the pot, making sure it is completely saturated.
  3. Let stand for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add food coloring to get desired color.
  5. Simmer silk for about 10 minutes, watching closely and stirring occasionally.
  6. Let stand until most or all of the dye has been absorbed, and it is has cooled.
  7. Rinse silk, and hang to dry.

Step 2: Drape and Cut Bodice Pieces.

  1. Beginning with your uncut piece of silk, gather the raw edge of the silk, and pin it to the shoulder.
  2. Pin the waist pleats where you would like them. 
  3. Mark around the waist 1/2" below where you would like the waist to fall.
  4. Cut along your marking.
  5. Use the newly cut piece as a template and cut an identical piece. This will be the bodice lining.

Step 3: Sew Bodice.

  1. With right sides together, sew the two bodice pieces together, around all sides except the bottom (waist)
  2. Turn right side out.
  3. Carefully pleat the shoulder edge, making it as wide as the back elastics. Sew down.
  4. Carefully arrange the waist pleats, pin, and sew down. Trim off any excess fabric.

Step 4: Drape and Sew Skirt.

  1. Fold the remaining silk right sides together, lengthwise, and sew down the open edge. This will create a long tube. Turn right side out.
  2. With the seam hidden on the inside, begin wrapping the tube of silk around the hips of the dress form.
  3. Leave the back loose. This will be gathered on the elastic.
  4. Bring the end of the tube up, pleating into the waist. Pin.
  5. Sew around the top edge of the skirt, though all layers of fabric paying special attention to the pleats.

Step 5: Attach Elastic Waistband to Skirt.

  1. Cut your wide elastic so that it is snug around your waist, allowing for seam allowance.
  2. Sew the ends of your elastic together, using a flat-felled seam.

  1. Begin pinning the elastic to the skirt by matching up the center front of each. Overlap by about an inch and a half. Pin only the front side of the skirt to the elastic. Sew down the front side of the skirt.
  2. When sewing the back of the skirt to the elastic, you will need to stretch the elastic evenly over the remaining length of the skirt edge. Sew very close to the edge of the elastic.

Step 6: Attach the Bodice.

  1. Wrong sides together, align the bottom edge of the bodice with the top edge of the skirt. Line up the center front of each. 
  2. Pin the entire bottom of the bodice to the skirt..
  3. Sew the bodice to the skirt. 

Step 7: Attach Back Elastic Straps.

  1. Sew the two elastic pieces to the gathered shoulder. They should overlap.
  2. Try on the dress and mark/ pin where the straps should attach.
  3. Sew the straps down.
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