couture sewing, Evening Wear

Runway Dress, Part 2

Now that you have yards of assorted strips you are ready to start attaching them to the tulle under-dress. Only the right side seam of the dress has been sewn, so lay it out flat. Decide how long the finished dress is and mark a hemline 10 inches above the finished length. I used the polyester organza and cut a strip 21 inches wide and the hemline width plus 1 inch. Fold this wide strip right sides together and sew 1/2 inch seams along the short sides. Turn right side out and press only the seams; leave the bottom edge as a soft roll. Polyester organza doesn’t want to press flat, so the fabric will help to maintain this rolled edge look. Sew the strip on the line you have marked, establishing the finished length of the dress.

Now work your way up placing the strips as you like using the photograph as a guide. I hand sewed them in place as I feel that hand stitches make a softer, more fluid garment. You can also machine sew. The ultrasuede was difficult to hand sew, so I used the machine for those strips.ImageImageImage

Stop at the waist. Decide the shape of the neckline and the placement of the uppermost strips. I used a double layer of the polyester organza, stay stitched the neckline and armholes. Then hand rolled the edges catching only the undermost layer of fabric.ImageImage

Work your way down to the waist in the same manner. I found hand sewing the bust area much easier to control than machine sewing. Stop when you reach the waist. Sew a length of satin ribbon to cover the raw edges at the waist. Sew the left side sean inserting an invisible zipper. I also left a slit from the hem to mid-thigh.




Views of the inside showing rows of hand stitching.Image


The finished work



24 thoughts on “Runway Dress, Part 2”

    1. I used silk organza for the fringed strips and poly/nylon for the heat cut pieces. I’m not sure what you mean by construction approach. Happy to help but please clarify what you are unsure about.

      1. Hello Mary, OMG you have made my day.!! When I talk about Construction approach, I mean, how many layers should I use in the dress above? Should all the layers be from the same fabric? Or from different fabrics? what should be the main fabric, and the second, Third etc.

      2. I just sent a reply with my email but I think it got kicked out because of link. I didn’t get a link to the dress you are asking about. Try emailing me at MF953 (at) aol (dot) com.

      3. In my first comment, I sent you a link of a dress, thas the dress I am talking about when I refer to Construction approach. I dont know if you can see the Picture or the link I sent you. Its a pink dress With a very wide skirt.

  1. Your explanations are so clear. I am a beginner, but I understand your directions. I would love to make this dress. Do you have any ideas how to add the bows at the shoulder as appeared in the dress on the runway? Thank you so much for blogging!

    1. I would do a tailored bow from the same ribbon you use at the waistline. If you need additional help let me know. Best of luck with your project.

  2. Just lovely!!! Watched the couture film you recommended in one of your posts yesterday evening. It was fantastic! I wish I was locked into one of the closets these ladies have for a day or two. 🙂

      1. I’m tempted to watch it again as well.
        Thank you so much for recommending the new documentary as well. Just finished watching it. It’s incredible, all the effort they put into making one garment. It is definitely an art form. They are so skilled. I could watch them all day long.
        I’m working my way through your blog posts. Thanks again for sharing all the little details! Are you self-taught? Your work is amazing!

  3. Glad you enjoyed and I’m delighted you find my posts interesting. I’m totally self taught. I tried a class once but was frustrated at the slow pace. It’s amazing what you can learn from books and internet sources.

    1. That’s really impressive! I’m pretty new to sewing and don’t personally know anyone who is into dress making. I quickly realised that I don’t want to be churning out ‘cheap and cheerful’ garments as I think often less is more (with a few exceptions :-)). I have pretty much all of Claire Shaeffer’s books and DVDs, Susan Khalje’s French Jacket class and Couture Dress class, Roberta Carr’s Couture book and thinking of getting the Vintage Couture Tailoring book you use as well. Now I just need to believe in my abilities. I guess (I hope) practice makes perfect. Is there anything else you would recommend? Thank you!

      1. The tailoring book is great as it has much info that I haven’t found elsewhere. Also work on fitting skills. Being able to alter a pattern to fit you perfectly will elevate your work to another level. I agree with you that I would rather have fewer items that fit perfectly and are well made than a load of poorly made cheap garments. Enjoy your sewing!

      2. Thank you so much for responding to all my messages. I really appreciate your advice. I have ordered the tailoring book yesterday and got some calico fabric for my test garment. I have also cut out my pattern pieces today. You have really inspired me to get started on my new project which I have been putting off for months.
        I have been watching my fitting videos and got my books out as well. 🙂
        Best wishes!

  4. Kati’s comments alerted me to this post, thank you Kati! I wasn’t following your blog back when you posted this, Mary. I realise I need to spend some time reading your older posts. They are full of gems. Thank you.

    1. Oh, that’s great! I’m working my way through every blog post as well. They are definitely full of gems!

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