I fell for this spotted green beetle chiffon print the moment I saw it. I'd been having a casual browse on DragonFly Fabrics, and, in the way impulse fabric buys sometimes happen when I should probably be hoovering, I promptly bought a couple of metres.
It didn't take me long to decide to use it to make a Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress. I bought this pattern a year ago, and had yet to find some suitable drapey fabric that made me feel inspired to try making it.
A repeating pattern in chiffon and a dress with a hell of a lot of panels? Why not. I can do that, thought my hoovering avoiding self, without really thinking through all the work that would be involved.
I opted to back the chiffon with some ivory coloured crepe de chine. I made the method up as I went along. I toyed with working the bodice as a single layer of fabric, and the skirt as two separate layers. In the end, I treated the skirt as one layer as well - mainly because I thought the chiffon would be too delicate (and messy) to risk all those seams for the skirt panels. I thought about using French seams for the chiffon, if sewing the layers separately, and then decided that might stop the dress flowing nicely. In the end, I sewed the layers together, and finished the seams on the over locker.
The almost finished dress hung on my dressmaker's dummy for a few weeks, as I procrastinated over the hem. I was so pleased with how the make had gone to that point, that I was avoiding the next step for fear of mucking it up at the last hurdle, and spoiling the overall finish with a dodgy hem. Eventually, with a deadline looming of an occasion I wanted to wear the dress for, I set about tackling it.
An invaluable tool during this, and the rest of the pressing involved in the dress, was a pressing cloth/mesh type thing my friend Charlotte gave me. It enabled me to use plenty of steam without damaging the delicate fabrics. This was most definitely one of those projects that was transformed by a good press.
In the meantime, here's a final close up of the fabric that inspired me to make my first 1940s Tea Dress - hope you don't mind creepy crawlies!