Double Featherstitching and More.
I am in the final leg of my journey regarding the christening gown for our favorite niece's new baby girl, the first baby girl on her side of the family. The dress is smocked with a lace overlay and all that business at the top of the dress really needed some balance. So the hem became a challenge. I thought of entredeaux or pinstitching, ruffled more of the same lace, and other ideas. The fabric of the dress is gossamer to say the least and I really had to be careful of the treatment I chose so as not to over work the fabric. It is a sheer voile stripe that I tea dyed. I decided to do one of my favorite treatments, double featherstitching the hem where it meets the skirt. It enables me to also balance the color used at the top. I used this stitch on a christening suit I made for my nephew's baby boy a couple of years ago. It is a little sailor suit with the double featherstitching around the collar. This link shows a much closer picture of double featherstitching. You can see the precision compared to the current project. The twill had body and was washable. On that garment I started by drawing in pencil 3 equidistant parallel lines around the collar. Having these barely visible pencil lines is what enables the precision. On the fragile voile of the current gown, pencil lines were out. Because of the tea dyeing of the fabric and lace if it needed a Biz soak to take out the pencils lines, well, that was something that could take out the tea dying as well. Heaven forbid it would discharge the tea dye unevenly. So on the current gown, no pencil lines allowed. On the sailor suit I used a fine drafting pencil very lightly, soaked it in Biz, and it washed out beautifully. The Biz did its magic well. If you are going to do this technique make sure you do some practice pencil lines and Biz soaking before committing the pencil to your garment. A see thru acrylic ruler also helps with the accuracy. Can you tell the other markers out there make me nervous?
Back to the current gown - I used the folded under 1/4 inch of the hem upper edge to gauge my stitching and my eye. This was far from perfect but I could see it thru the top layer of fabric. I have toyed with the idea of doing a tutorial on this but found explaining it step by step is really difficult to put into words. Photos looked almost the same so instead I found this wonderful video . Why they call this double featherstitching beats me as it takes 3 stitches back and forth on the diagonal to do the stitch. This stitch can be done very finely or on a larger scale and still look really pretty. The stitching on the gown is not the perfection of the sailor suit, but gives a soft look which I think is in keeping with the rest of the look.
The dress just needs the buttons sewn on and the slip made. It buttons in the back on the diagonal on the shoulder. I used a very soft iron on Velcro called Fusion in a thin strip in the placket area. The button application will be "faux" on top. Having made this dress a few times, I find this is the best closure situation.
Most of today has been spent working on the cashmere jacket. Everything is underlined and interfaced. The interfacing was fused or stitched to the flanellette interlining. I used a combo of fusible weft insertion, Acro, mustlin, and Fusiknit, depending on the area. Some areas, like the upper back, have double layers of interfacing. On the upper back I used Acro on the bias for the longer interfacing and a fusible weft insertion on the bias fused to the Acro for a shorter distance. The biases are opposing. All of this is to give some serious support to the heavy coating. The underarms got muslin. The fronts got WI and an additional layer cut on the bias for the chest piece. I really need these chest pieces and with my narrow high bust and lower full bust it really prevents the cave in. The hem areas all got bias Acro strips. My next step will be the bound buttonholes. I always do a few trial runs on those before I commit to the garment. There are so many ways to do these. I have my own method but think I will give Claire Schaeffer's method a shot. Keep ya' posted..........Bunny