The big decisions… and I need some underlining advice…


I’ve been thinking about making a Christmas dress. I kinda missed the Birthday Dress event so I’m seeing if I can whack out a Christmas dress. I’ve had many moments of decisiveness… followed by more moments of indecisiveness. My first thought was to make a Cambie – because I just love Cambies, right? Yes, absolutely I have the Cambie Pox. And I have been dying to make another. However I just thought I needed to stretch myself and perhaps, you know, be wild and crack out another pattern… because… well… I have a few… and my next Cambie shall be a pretty little aqua skulls affair, remember?

So I was tossing up between these two.

Christmas 2012 dress pattern choices

Christmas 2012 dress pattern choices

The slim straight shift (the sort of dress I haven’t made much of but it the style I wear to work a lot – perhaps not quite as slinky but suits my shape) or the pink vintage halterneck… in a dramatic red cotton damask. Please note readers that it can be very hot in Australia at Christmas time, so shrug aside your cowls, scarves and cardies and think HOT, HOT, HOT.

Then today I thought I might make the Lonsdale, a decision I was pondering recently on Twitter…

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

I purchased this fabric for the Lonsdale and it’s navy/red/white and not particularly Christmassy… but I can wear this all summer (and most of spring and autumn) and it seems like a much more sensible idea… what do you think? I love the fact it’s got a bow… I think that will be my Christmassy touch 🙂
*sigh* I’m still not sure.

Right now as I’m typing I’m thinking the Vogue dress would look very striking. And it says that it’s easy… much harder to squash in a big Christmas lunch and then a big Christmas dinner (and we usually have breakfast at friend’s house before yo-yoing between the parents’ homes later in the day. The dress would definitely be a post breakfast outfit – maybe even a Christmas party dress if I can make it quickly).

Next big question… I want to make a cropped sleeve version of this jacket and I have this fabric.

Fabric for my Burda Bolero

Fabric for my Burda Bolero

A tiny remanent from The Fabric Store. I think I can squish it out of the pattern by cutting the facings out of a cotton sateen. It’s a cotton/silk/lurex blend.

Should I underline this as well?

Please don’t tell me to underline this with silk organza – because I cannot buy that where I live and I am SICK of paying shipping costs for ABSOLUTELY anything that is not cotton voile/lawn *frown* my local fabric stores are limiting!

When ELH returns from his fishing adventures I will get him to photograph my Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke skirts… he’s been away a lot due to a serious family illness, hence my sewing and blogging has not been as prolific, but life should return to normal soon… oh hang on it’s Christmas…

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66 thoughts on “The big decisions… and I need some underlining advice…

  1. My vote is the Vogue – I love the lines. But I’m not sure if you mean underline the dress or underline the jacket? I would vote no underlining for either. Christmas is TOO freaking hot for underlining – if you’re going to line the dress do it with a nice light cotton lawn/voile. Have you considered perhaps the prospect of an unlined jacket? I’ve been playing around with this idea in my head for a while – simply due to the heat. Can’t wait to see both!

    • The Vogue is gorgeous and the back is quite low so it should help with the hot factor.
      It the question about underlining the jacket fabric. I’m concerned the weave is very loose and it might need it for endurance and body. The fabric is so lovely I’m going to be super careful to make sure it all works perfectly!

      • Well, I know that another popular underlining )other than silk organza, which is also quite stiff) is cotton batiste….so maybe something similar to that to keep it light (but won’t give it as much body)? I think the best thing would be to bring the fabric to a fabric shop and test how different underlinings affect the drape and colour…if it’s a loose weave you may see some underlining/lining through…not sure. Exciting times!

  2. I like the Vogue dress. Very classic and if it’s a style you wear often to work maybe you can get more use out of it. Though my phone won’t load the Lonsdale picture so I can’t see your amazing fabric! I’ve never underlined anything so can’t be any help there!

    I’m making myself a midi-length Kelly skirt in wool tartan for Christmas. I’ll tell you how it turns out next week!

    Good luck!

    • I might have to reload that Lonsdale image. Weird…
      I’m concerned about the weave of the jacket fabric… that’s why I think it might need to be underlined… can’t bear for that project not to have a happy ending so I’m going v.slowly 🙂

      • Ooh, now I can see the Lonsdale fabric and I might just change my vote! Love that fabric! Very versatile too. I’m all about versatile. If a dress is something I’m only going to wear on special occasions because either the dress or fabric is fancy, I’m probably not going to make it. I’d rather make something a bit more casual and fancy it up with jewelry, shoes, bag, and a nice jacket or cardi.

      • I completely understand what you mean about the open weave issue, I’m mid make (will probably finish for next winter – usual story) !! on a self drafted fitted jacket with peplum in a similar weave to yours albeit not a silk mix. I’m not keen on the ‘hang loose’ factor that is happening so may try a mid weight shapewell (from Spotty) through the bodice and peplum and a thickish satin for the lining as opposed to the usual thin lining. As for your Chrissy dress, in my opinion your svelte figure would really suit the little Vogue number.

  3. I’m leaning towards the vogue too. Whichever you choose, I love the idea of dramatic red damask. Accessorise to make it really christmassy but you could wear it in so many other ways before or after the day. (I can’t see the piccie of fabric you were thinking of for the lonsdale).
    As for the jacket I would have thought underlining would be a temperature decision? If you want it warmer, then underline? Or, is the fabric a suitable “hand” for the jacket as it is? Does it need some more solidness or crispness that underlining would give it?
    Listen, don’t take advice on jacket sewing from someone who’s lived most of her life in the tropics 😛
    And I’m totally hearing you on having to pay postage for anything beyond the basic cottons and stuff. *sigh*

    • At this rate it may end up being the Vogue. At least it’s an economical dress for fabric!
      I’m worried about the weave of the jacket fabric and think it might be better with something behind it. As it is not a long sleeved jacket I’m not too concerned about the lining making it unpleasant to wear. It should be fine. It’s more of a funky little piece to wear with a tshirt/singlet and jeans.

  4. Vogue dress! Any of the versions look very nice from the sleeve.
    Now I can’t help you on jackets/boleros as I have never attempted them. What’s the thickest interfacing you can get? Maybe that’s a compromise to not being able to use organza?

    • The Vogue pattern is great. It’s an OOP that I went hunting for when I saw the sleeved version on someone’s blog – then I fell in love with the sleeveless version.
      I’m thinking the jacket fabric is a loose weave and might need some help… are you thinking sew-in interfacing?

  5. difficult choice! the vogue dress is classic and would be a wardrobe staple, but the vintage dress is so fun and flirty and festive, and could be a ‘dressy event’ staple…to be safe, you should probably make both 😉

    • I want to make both, the vintage pattern has no instructions which is scary… although the markings on the pieces are very helpful. I think the halterneck would be great with a white petticoat or lace trim on the hem… so many big decisions to make… so little time!

    • I’m going to have to reload the images I think… WordPress was behaving a bit oddly last night not making the images full size, reverting to text only editing etc. Bad WordPress.

  6. That Vogue is screaming Lizzy at me- the middle style- Im underlining what may turn into an ill advised flannel dress and its my first attempt. Im using a thin lining material….is that bad?

    • *giggle* I’m really looking forward to the ill-advised post now!
      I’m never quite sure about underlining. Depends what it’s purpose is I think. If it is to give structure, prevent see-through or just because you don’t want a separate layer of lining wiggling about…
      Heavens, sewing really does pose life’s big questions!!!

  7. Given the tendency of silk suiting to “grow” over time, I’ve had good success fusing knit interfacing to the body pieces as an “underlining”. It doesn’t make it too stiff, but it will help keep its shape. Barring that, I don’t see why you couldn’t underline w/ cotton batiste.

      • I’ve used knit interfacing as well on a ravelly tweed. You can get it from lincraft/spotlight, there’s 3 different thicknesses and it has sideways stretch (in lincraft is called sheer weft and armoweft I think) it’s a lot softer and stretchier but dearer than the cheaper interfacing (I stock up when lincraft have the 40% off sales!)

          • Thats what I did, blockfused it to the fabric and then the fabric won’t move/warp when you cut it out as well. I went with the thinnest interfacing too so it wouldn’t change the drape of the fabric and make it too stiff. Knit/weft interfacing is really nice to use, it doesn’t go stiff and bubbly like the cheaper stuff can do sometimes 🙂 I don’t know if its an option but you could always quilt the lining to the fabric like a chanel jacket, the quilting adds the structure so you don’t need any interfacing
            Spotlights gotten better lately, I even got hair canvas from there for hand tailoring!

          • Spotlight has improved massively in recent years, I even spotted silk/cotton in a Sydney store!! I will have a cruise in Spotty tomorrow and see what I can find. Quilting the lining is definitely an option, although given the amount of curved seams I might just quilting in the ditch of them…

  8. I like the Vogue option, too. Regarding your difficulty finding silk organza, I often see it packaged in premeasured lengths in the notions aisle of the big box sewing store, labeled as a press cloth. Have you looked in the notions section of your sewing store?

  9. I’d forgotten how awesome the skull fabric is! And you really must use that red bird fabric soon or I’ll have to work out some international, trans-hemisphere espionage as I LOVE it! Dress wise, you’ll look amazing in either of the three options… I’m no help when it comes to your jacket plans though as I’ve never been near that sort of fabric (too chicken!). Hopefully you can sort the organza issue when you go travelling next year – you could buy a bolt of it and it wouldn’t add to your check in bag weight!!

    • The red bird fabric is on my mind! It’s going to be a long skirt paired with a black gingham short sleeve collared blouse with a button placket… yes it’s a vision! I just need more free time to make it 🙂
      I’m definitely buying some silk organza in my travels… and wool!!! It’s almost impossible to buy ANY type of wool fabric where I live. But I can buy bolts and bolts and bolts of cotton, poplin, voile, lawn….

  10. Hi again – would you mind sharing the details ie the number etc of the dress pattern you’ve provided on the LHS of your pic? The Options one? It looks marvellous. The shift ie the middle version of the Options pattern in red damask would be a total winner I think 🙂 Many thanks for your help with this. My daughter is channelling Gina Lollobrigida at the moment and I’ve searched high, low and sideways for a pattern like the Options/Vogue? one to make her a dress for Christmas too..

  11. I really like the Lonsdale dress, I’ve made it a few times now for my mum and daughter out of an interlock knit, rayon, stretch poplin and silk dupioni fabric! It goes together really well and the adjustable straps are genius! Mum still wears hers a lot over summer. The vogue sheath would look great on you too, maybe make both 😉

  12. I would definitely use a good quality light weight iron on interfacing to help the fabric hold it’s shape. Not sure about a stretch one as suggested above I have always used a non-stretch and get great results. Look forward to seeing the dress – I love the fabric you have chosen.

  13. I know you want to avoid shipping but silk organza is very light,,,I found some amazing coloured silk organza at The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria, Sydney…postage from Sydney shouldn’t be too bad?! The colours included nude, grey, red! , a lime green (I think)…everything but white….apparently that’s hard to come by…?

    • *sigh* it’s so frustrating living in a regional area when variety is so limited. I might wait until I am in Sydney next and indulge myself. Thanks for the tip I will definitely look into that place!

  14. I think the Lonsdale would be perfect – I mean, you know that Sewaholic patterns fit your well and are well drafted, so it would hopefully be a straight forward make! More fun and less stress, right? Plus, it would be roomy enough to wear after after amount of eating! 😉

  15. The Cambie Pox? Sounds catching!!! You know cotton voile is pretty darn good for underlining, right? I would totally use it. And when I’m in the states, I’m going to try and buy a life time’s supply of silk organza at bargain basement prices, coz it is so freakin’ expensive here.
    I was totally going for the slinky Vogue number, until I scrolled down to see the fabric you have in mind for the Lonsdale dress. I don’t think a better fabric/pattern match could be conjured. Do it!

    • I was thinking about voile. I’m also worried about the fraying nature of the fabric and whether it needs to be stabilized a little more?
      I just saw that fabric and thought ‘ah Lonsdale!’ I also think Lonsdale would look gorgeous in a crisp white and blue shirting fabric. However the daisy print will be a little more forgiving pattern/designwise and help me understand the way the pattern sits on the fabric. I can’t wait to make it!

  16. Have you tried the Bay – http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Top-Pure-Silk-Organza-Bridal-Fabric-Royal-Blue-meters-/130765946940?pt=AU_Fabric&hash=item1e7242003c – I’ve bought silk organza from Eastern sellers and it’s quite good, with cheap shipping too. Used some dark green silk organza to underline my green coat (which isn’t finished yet due to – SUMMER).
    I hate buying fabric instore because they try and charge us $15 a meter for COTTON. It’s a rip here – and none of the big stores have much by way of other natural fibres.

    Aside from that, I use cotton a lot for underlining things. I am an absolute cheapskate and hit up op-shops for sheets – I realise some people might find that ick? I dont know – its fine for me. And you get quite a lot for a cheap price.

    • I buy loads of fabric at op shops and I have sheet that is so pretty I can’t bear to cut it!
      Thank you for that eBay link. I will definitely look into that.
      I’m curious, where do you live? I can buy Japanese cotton lawn & voile for around $10!

  17. I agree with the person who said to use a fusible. I almost alway fuse the entire garment when making blazers, jackets, coats (even the sleeves)… especially when darts, buttonholes or pockets are going to be put in. The only thing you need to be careful of is getting the proper interfacing to suit your fabric. Some woven interfacings can be stiff; often I will use a knitted interfacing to give strength while remaining supple. Good luck!

  18. I say go with the one you want to make the most – not the one you’ll get the most wear out of/ can sew the quickest/ have the fabric for. Christmas is one time of year when your clothes don’t have to be practical 🙂 I realised last night that I just won’t have time to sew a Christmas dress this year, so I bought a lovely silk dress that I plan on copying many times over!

    • That’s a lovely idea about your silk dress, in fact I’m wearing a dress today and wondering if I can copy it!
      I took your advice. The fabric and pattern were ready for the Lonsdale so I made it yesterday! Then I found some perfect fabric for my Christmas dress. Yay!

    • I’ve just got to hem the Lonsdale – how easy is that dress to make??
      Vogue next. I’ve found the most perfect fabric for a Christmas dress… but it’s a quilting cotton… hmmm will that work???

  19. Pingback: I’ll be with you in a Jiffy… with a Pattern Pyramid! | Sew Busy Lizzy

  20. OMG, it’s a no brainer for me….I love the Butterick Halter with the little cropped jacket, buttons in the back no less. Very Audrey Hepburn. I could totally see that with an updo and giant sunglasses.. Holly Golightly would be glad to wear it. Your teeny tiny waist is perfect for it.

  21. Pingback: Stitched-up Christmas | Sew Busy Lizzy

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