Sunday, 21 February 2021

Floral Silk Satin Sicily Slip Dress

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

I don't know what possessed me to make this dress when I'm not going any place suitable to wear a dress this fancy for the foreseeable future. But I do know that I loved making it and I'm excited to be able to wear it to drink some sort of cocktail in eventually. I guess I had an urge to work with a piece of really beautiful fabric which this Liberty print silk satin certainly is. After making somewhat practical clothing for quite some time it was refreshing to put my sewing skills to the test making this and bring out all those refined techniques. 


Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

This is the Sicily Slip Dress from Sewing Patterns by Masin. What a great pattern this is. It is a bias cut slip dress with cowl neck and super skinny spaghetti straps. There is a second view which is sleeveless if you'd rather a wear a bra with straps. The simplicity and elegance of this style is what first drew me to it. For those of you who are new to bias cut garments it means they are cut across the diagonal of the fabric rather than following the grainline. The fabric has a bit of give when cut in this direction which allows it to hug and skim the curves of the body and drape in interesting ways. It does make the fabric tricky to work with though as it can so easily be stretched out of shape.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

Despite having sewn quite a large quantity of garments now I have very little experience sewing bias cut garments and it is a technique which slightly fills me with dread! I was therefore incredibly appreciative of the plethora of guidance about sewing on the bias that was included in the instructions. I learnt so much. My favourite tip was to sew with a slight stretch stitch so that the stitches can give with the fabric and allow the garment to drop. It makes SOOOO much sense! You are also advised to store your garment flat so it doesn't continue to drop which is a great idea.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

On Masin's website she states she has a passion for slow fashion and this really comes across in the instructions which encourage you to take your time, think about the techniques you are using and treat your fabric with care. I really did slow down with this project and was very careful when handling my fabric pieces as it is so easy to stretch out bias cut edges. I followed ever instruction to the letter including stay stitching and french seaming my side seams. Despite all this I did end up with some slight rucking down the lower side seams. I left it to hang for a good long while on my dress form and with that and some careful steaming the worst seems to have disappeared. I'm really pleased with it now.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

I certainly gave myself a challenge with this delicate and slippery fabric but it is so irresistibly gorgeous! The colours and the print have a real depth to them and the satin weave seems to bring this out even more. It is worth the effort and patience required to sew up this slightly tricky garment in a very tricky fabric as the pattern is perfectly suited to fabrics like this. The fluidity of it skims the body and shows the beautiful cowl neck at its best.

As the dress is cut on the bias this does take more fabric than you think. I just about managed to squeeze it out of 2 meters of 137cm wide silk. The cowl neck has quite a deep facing which is grown on to the front pattern piece so it is quite a long and wide piece to fit diagonally on to your fabric. The grown on facing helps the cowl sit softly but the back has a separate facing which creates a nice crisp, clean edge. I opted to cut out on the floor rather than the table as I find silk like this doesn't shift around as much on carpet and as the drape of this garment is key I didn't want the grain to end up wonky.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

I cut the size B at the bust and waist and graded out to a C at the hip. I'm delighted with the fit as it is comfortable and doesn't feel at all clingy. The cowl neckline does dip quite low at the centre front on me. I'm assuming this is a little bit to do with bust size and how the cowl sits but I find I am a little short in the shoulder with most patterns. I shortened the straps by about 1.5" but was hesitant to do more in case it started to tip the balance of the dress. I made no other alterations other than to remove a little length when I levelled the hem.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

I feel like I've got a little bit of excess fabric in the small of the back so could potentially do with a slight sway back adjustment but given that this is cut on the bias I'm slightly hesitant to dive in there with any adjustments as I think this could affect the balance of the dress and lead it to pull across the tummy (which no one wants!).

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Sewing Patterns by Masin Sicily Slip Dress in Liberty Print Floral Silk Satin

I can't recommend this pattern enough for both the drafting and instructions. It is a fantastic project to pick if you've never sewn a bias cut garment before as your hand will be held the whole way. I'm keen to make a couple of top versions of this too as I think it could be a real wardrobe staple. I've got a small piece of cream sand-washed silk in my stash which I think would be perfect for it. As for this dress I can see it being worn all year round; layered over a long sleeved merino Nikko Top in winter or paired with high strappy sandals for a summer wedding.

19 comments:

  1. I have been thinking about making this. Thank you. This is really helpful

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    1. As you can probably tell from the post I highly recommend you do! Glad I could help

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  2. Such a gorgeous dress and choice of fabric!
    Your blog posts are always so detailed and really helpful for us readers, thank you!

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    1. Ah I'm glad you find them to be helpful! Sometimes I feel like I'm rambling on but I never seem to run out of things to say about sewing!

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  3. The time and effort certainly paid off - the dress looks fabulous. Thanks for showing us.

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  4. Absolutely beautiful. I can appreciate the time and care that you have taken with this make but well worth it as it looks gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you Denise, I feel the same way about it!

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  5. Gorgeous dress!
    And about the excess fabric in the back - you're the only one to notice. And sometimes it doesn't matter. (I have bought a couple of dresses during the last year, and boy do I have many fitting issues with them! But that's how "normal" people dress ;) )

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    1. Thanks Elisabeth, that is good to hear! I do remind myself often, when I get frustrated with fit, that it is generally ten times better then what I would be able to buy in the shops! Sometimes it is best just to go with it and enjoy the sewing isn't it

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  6. Such a beautiful dress - well done Fiona. Your posts in the last few weeks have been fabulous. As always, I read every one even if I don't often comment so please keep going 😃

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    1. Thank you so much for leaving that lovely comment Lyn. It is a real boost to hear that my blog posts are read and enjoyed. Thank you

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  7. The smile on your face says it all! Gorgeous dress. Thank you for sharing bias tips!

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    1. Haha, it is a proud smile isn't it! Thank you

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  8. It's so pretty! I've seen so many lovely versions of this pattern.

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!