The pattern envelope calls for fabric for lining/underlining. What does that mean, you may ask? Great question. The bodice is lined traditionally. However, the skirt is underlined with lining fabric, meaning the fashion fabric and the lining fabric are hand basted together and treated as one. The underlining helps give body to the skirt pleats (underneath the drape), and also hides the hemming stitches. The fabric I used in the sample is a hot pink silk crepe-back satin, and it's almost impossible to hide hemming stitches without an underlining.
Speaking of fabric! The fabric used for this dress needs to have the right combination of drape and body. A draping fabric is important to accentuate the folds and drapes of the design. However, you don't want something too limp, as it will hang kind of sadly on the skirt drape. A crepe-back satin turned out to be perfect for the sample--drapey enough to showcase the design but beefy enough to make the skirt drape look full and dramatic.
The envelope calls for these fabrics: faille, crepe de chine, taffeta, and cotton damask. Butterick has experts who suggest the fabrics, and I trust them implicitly, but I admit I would have listed more fluid fabrics. Crepe de chine is in line with what I had in mind, as long as it has enough body for the skirt drape. Taffeta and faille are both more crisp than I had imagined. I don't think I've ever sewn with cotton damask, so I can't comment on that. If I had written the suggested fabrics, I think they would have been along these lines: crepe-back satin, 4-ply silk crepe, wool crepe, rayon crepe, lightweight wool gabardine. I hope I'm not being a jerk by contradicting the pattern envelope! As you know, these things can be very subjective. Butterick's fabric suggestions would certainly work; fabrics like faille and taffeta would just create a crisper look.
For my version, I'll be using a wool satin gabardine (like this one) for the fashion fabric and silk crepe de chine (like this) for the lining/underlining. The wool satin is a lovely deep wine/ruby color. It's fluid, but has a certain amount of body. But it's definitely not a crisp body, like taffeta.
As you're gathering supplies for this dress, I would recommend purchasing (I'm including links to some online suppliers I like as well):
- 1/4" twill tape for stabilizing the neckline (a fusible stay tape would work as well)
- Spiral steel boning (the envelope calls for plastic feather boning, but I prefer steel for its flexibility and strength). I keep a variety of lengths on hand, and cut them down to custom lengths. You'll also need boning tips for this purpose. Note: I cut my boning last night, and I ended up needing four 4" bones, and two 8-1/4" bones. This will vary by size however. I wear a size 14.
- 1/2" Boning casing
- Petersham ribbon for the waist stay, the rayon/cotton blends are more comfortable around the waist than poly grosgrain.
- Hooks and eyes for the waist stay and the back zipper.
- A 20" zipper. I used invisible on the sample for a smooth look on the crepe, but a more vintage approach would be a regular zipper with a lapped application. The choice is yours!
Upcoming posts: I'll write about fitting my muslin this week. I'm also planning a tutorial on how to extend the raglan sleeves into 3/4 length for those who like a little more coverage!