First, of all, I should note that I'm working with silk duchesse. I'm not sure if synthetic duchesse has all of the same properties, but I would guess that it's generally very similar.
- The biggest thing to note about duchesse is that its luster, which is quite beautiful, also has a fatal downfall: it shows every lump, bump, and dent - in your body and in your construction. I would recommend choosing a style that's not too terribly fitted. This sheath dress worked well because there is actually a notable amount of ease in the bodice and hips. The waist is very fitted, and happily, covered up with a belt.
- You should press duchesse directly only on the wrong side. On the right side, use a silk organza press cloth. Mine is made from some leftover organza, cut into an 18" square. With the press cloth, you can use high heat and steam and avoid making uneven shiny marks.
- Duchesse rolls like the dickens. Here's a picture of a swatch, next to some other fabrics. See how it rolls in on itself? Because of this, it can be especially hard to cut and hem. Press the edges thoroughly before cutting.
- Applying a fusible interfacing stops the rolling. I ironed interfacing inside the hem to keep it crisp and roll-free.
I found that duchesse is pretty much impossible to hem invisibly, even with a lot of precautions taken. I used VoNBBS's first method of hemming:
I was VERY careful to only pick up one itsy-bitsy thread from the dress and not to pull the stitches tight, but I still ended up with a bit of a ridge on the right side of the dress. I think if I make a dress out of duchesse again, I would explore some non-stitched hemming methods, like a fusible tape. Have any of you ever tried this?
Now, on to the kitty portion of this post. Professor Higgins had a meeting with his colleague Lion this morning . . .
. . . while his sister Pip napped sweetly nearby.
They both send their best wishes, and Henry tips his hat to the ladies.
Happy Labor Day to my neighbors in the U.S.! Come back tomorrow for the unveiling of the satin sheath.