The Taming of the Challis
Remember the EVIL fabric of last week? Well, thanks to my intelligent and capable commenters, I figured I could whip it into shape with a long weekend and a whole lot of spray starch. This is the pattern I decided to use:
New Look 6096. I made View A with the flutter sleeves, in a size 8. I normally would sew a 10 thanks to a small high bust measurement, but all the ease in the pattern convinced me to go down a size. I’m glad I did; I think a 10 would have been too large. As it is, this dress veers dangerously close to maternity territory.
Here is the end result:
First off, I used Magic Sizing on the fabric and it was still WAY too slippery. So then I used Faultless Heavy Starch — which helped, but the material was still more slippery than I would really prefer. It shifted all over the place while I was sewing it. I could probably have done with a second (or third) coating of starch. Secondly, I wanted to make peasant sleeves with elastic but a look at the pattern convinced me to go with flutter sleeves because there is no armpit seam — the sleeve ends basically tuck into the bottom part of the armhole. I am not a fan of this style because it puts bulk in the armhole, but my fabric was lightweight enough that eliminating the sleeve elastic eliminated the bulk. Overall, this was a test of both the fabric and the pattern and while I like the fabric, I’m not sure under what circumstances I’d make the pattern again. I have a large rib cage and really need the elastic to hit a little lower so that I don’t look like a fence post. I’m tempted to hang on to the pattern and lengthen the bodice a bit because I want to try out the long sleeves….
But hey! I conquered my fear of challis, and I have three more yards of this stuff for the next time inspiration strikes. Now, anyone with tips on sewing silky charmeuse? Spray starch is a no go, as it seems to permanently change the hand of the fabric. Twenty yards in my stash is waiting for your help!