China silk is something I’d heard about for years, but hadn’t tried until very recently (scroll down a bit and look at the Rosella dress — the aqua accents are all China silk!) I was delightfully surprised at how responsive and easy-to-use this traditional lining fabric is. For one, it’s super lightweight and yet manages to maintain a decent amount of body. It’s slippery, but not uncontrollable; crisp yet sinuous. Holding a pile of this fabric is a bit like holding a cloud.
Because it’s a lining fabric, it’s also a little see-through. That was just about perfect for the Rosella dress (the green undersleeves really needed to be somewhat sheer) but with a little help, nothing says this lining fabric can’t become a star fashion fabric in its own right!
So, when we were commissioned to make Coral this lovely little frock for a Christmas Eve fête, I couldn’t help wanting to use China silk! Here’s the inspiration photo:
Coral is fond of gray, but this dress was to be a more purple, “dove” gray than the original inspiration dress. So, with the aid of the internet, I found a china silk in just the right shade and cut it in a double layer. We were off!
Isn’t that fabric just delicious! We could have used a taffeta, or possibly even a silk duppioni (both very crisp fabrics) — but the china silk does a fabulous job of holding the pleats while still retaining a gentle fluidity. Mmm mmm. Love that fabric… what would it look like if you layered it over, say, cotton shirting? Or gathered it into bubbles? Or…?
First, here’s hoping everybody had a delightfully merry Christmas!
Second, we’ve finished the Rosella dress (we still have to make the cape, though). Hooray! Here are some pictures:
It’s so deliciously princesssy that we could hardly restrain our delight! And Myrna (who is modeling in these pictures) has refused to take it off….
The main fabric is actually our favorite cotton/silk blend sateen (dull side up) with this beautiful diamond-patterned silk lace on top.
Don’t you love the trim? Believe it or not, it’s just fabric. We took the aqua accent fabric (china silk, if you’re interested) and made bias tubes, about 1/8″ to 3/16″ wide. Then we stitched it to the dress at 3/8″ intervals, gathering it as we went. Super cute!
I’m hoping we’ll start the cape soon (a very simple little number), so there will be pictures of that forthcoming…
Well, if you’re on the Liberty Jane mailing list (which I highly recommend joining, if you haven’t already) you’ve probably seen this:
(click on the image to visit its page at www.libertyjanepatterns.com)
Ta-Da! We’re thrilled this pattern is going live! If you wanted to try sewing a Melody Valerie piece but felt a little intimidated, this just might be the project for you. It goes together much quicker than a dress, and the all the finishing (except for one short seam) is done by machine. And I’m super excited about the miter on the inside — it’s the fancy little point where the lining joins the outer, right at either corner of the cape, and it’s gorgeous!
Also, as if that wasn’t enough, this fabulous pattern is also available as a pattern for 16″ Ellowyne Wilde dolls! This was my first time working with Ellowyne, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. She’s such a lovely doll, and also large enough to sew comfortably for.
And finally, some more lovely shots from inside each pattern for your viewing pleasure…
~visit www.libertyjanepatterns.com to view more info about these patterns or to purchase and start sewing today!~
… and Coral, who is dancing the lead role, is finally getting a chance to wear the Marie dress we made her last summer! Here are some quick shots of her in Lincoln Center between rehearsals — enjoy!
One of my favorite parts about custom work is all the randomly fun things we get asked to do! Anybody out there play King’s Quest in the 90s? I’d never heard of it, but a quick Wikipedia search suggests it was (is?) wildly successful.
Rosella is the intrepid heroine of the game, which, as near as I know, consists of a series of adventures and puzzles. (If this is right up your alley, feel free to chime in, in the comments…)
In the third and fourth games, Rosella wears a lovely white gown. There isn’t much to go on from the graphics… but then again, sometimes less is more!
Based on these two pictures, and the timeless, fantasy vibe of the game, we decided to go for a general medieval princess feel, with nods to the Italian Renaissance (the gracefully pleated back shown below is super I-Ren, btws). We’re stacking ivory lace over soft white cotton, and adding little bits of aqua accents. Simply yummy!
There will also be a cape; very basic, but very scrumptious, in this gorgeous crushed turquoise velvet. It’ll be an ensemble fit for a queen…
… which, after all, is the point.
We’ll keep you in the loop as this story unfolds!
To ease your holiday shopping, there are now some Melody Valerie Christmas 2011 pieces available in our Etsy shop! Great Christmas gifts for the doll couture lovers in your life, shipped to your doorstep for under $45…
The Amelia hat: adventurous, nostalgic, and did we mention cozy?
the Jane hat: festive elegance that smacks of the early 1800s
the Mandy hat: Really, does a hat this fun need an introduction?
As always, you can view the listings for these items (along with a fabulous jacket and a few remaining dresses from our Fall 2012 collection) in our Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/melodyvalerie
Let the festivites commence!
38 fabric petals and 8 yards of lace later, the lace dress is finished! And we’re super pleased with it!
Enjoy the photos, and stay tuned — our next custom project is coming along nicely…