Completed: A Bow-Print Silk Chantilly

11 Apr

Here you go, folks – the reason why I’ve been absent (well, completed-project-posts-wise) for like a week and a half:

Silk Chantilly

I made the mistake of sewing a silk dress. Can you say WOOF? Because… woof. So much woof.

Silk Chantilly

This is the Chantilly, by Colette Patterns. Secret time – I got this pattern as a birthday gift last year and this is the first time I’ve sewn up the dang thing. Honestly, I was a little put off by the amount of fabric needed (both fabric AND lining, mind you!), especially since this is the type of dress that really needs a floaty voile or silk to really work. As some of you may know, I was on a really really strict budget for almost all of last year, and my fabric buying options were *very* limited. So, hence, the reason this pattern sat for so long. Bc forreal – this is a gorgeous dress, and it needs to be made up a million times, y/y?

Silk Chantilly

Of course you can’t see the detail too well, because it’s black – sorry! That’s probably a good thing, because I really hacked this one up and some of the construction is a little embarrassing. Silk is hard to sew, yo – and it didn’t help that I didn’t even bother to give a muslin a chance, which would have solved some of my fitting issues before I was dealing with a fabric that floated away every time I sneezed.

Silk Chantilly

I sewed this up in a straight size 2, except the waist seam was sewn with a 3/4″ seam allowance instead of the standard 5/8″. This is version 1, without pockets. I actually started with version 2, put the neckline/shoulder yoke thing together… and realized that my silk was so sheer, you could see directly through it to the WHITE interfacing on the back of the lining. Of course, I didn’t notice this until after I’d already clipped, trimmed, graded and understitched the thing, UGH. I actually threw it in the corner of the sewing room (where the Bad pattern pieces go to sit in time-out until I can decide what to do with them) and finished the dress while I contemplated what to do. I didn’t have enough bow fabric to cut a second yoke, and the silk was so delicate, even the finest microtex needle left holes after unpicking. I ended up very very carefully unpicking all my stitching (srsly this took like an hour to do), cutting a new underlining with the seam allowances trimmed down to 1/4″ to match, and then putting everything back together.

Silk Chantilly

Fortunately, my mistake was spotted before I dealt with the midriff – since it is also interfaced, we could have had 2 disastuhs on hand. But I remembered to underline it, so yay me! I also just want to take a moment here to brag about my new interfacing revelation – I found a digital steam press at the flea market last month (similar to this one, although my model is slightly older) for $30. Did you click that link and see how much those fuckers cost? (don’t worry, I don’t have affiliate linking or anything like that, ok!) YEAH BUDDY. I bought the shit outta that thing. AND IT IS AMAZING. You just put your fabric and interfacing on the board, close it, and thirty seconds later it is PERFECTLY fused, without you fussing over it with a hot iron. Plus, the board is much bigger than an iron, so it covers much more fusing ground at once. I am in love, and I shall never go back.

Silk Chantilly

I should probably stop and talk about the fabric for a sec – this is the fancy bow print silk that I picked up from Fabrics for Less in NY. It’s Betsey Johnson! Actually, I don’t care much for her clothes – too much price for too much polyester, yeeck – but her fabric prints are always fun. And hey, since this is Betsey Johnson silk, does that mean I can now say I have a Betsey Johnson dress? Huh huh?

Silk Chantilly

Real talk, tho – this fabric was a BITCH to sew. It was exactly like what sewing butterfly wings must be like – just really really hard to get under control. It was worth it in the end, but oh god I need a silk break. My lining is a plain black rayon from Mood – it’s not Bemberg, it’s much heavier than that. Honestly, I was a little disappointed at first because I wanted the floaty bemberg to go with the floaty silk, but having dealt with the silk… I’m glad the rayon I ended up with had more body. It was MUCH easier to sew, and it gives the skirt some foof. Yay!

Silk Chantilly

Here’s another foofy skirt picture, because of reasons.

Silk Chantilly

Isn’t the bow print delightful, though? Ah, I just love it! I was rushing to finish this dress because I plan to wear it for my friend Colleen‘s wedding on Saturday, so I’m glad that’s done!

Silk Chantilly

I can’t even tell you how glad I am that I FINALLY finished this. Seriously, the agony of construction made me start to hate it toward the end. I seriously considered throwing the whole thing in The Corner and leaving it until I had my head back together, but I was too invested in the beautiful fabric. Which, by the way, going back to the yardage needed for this dress… I squeezed mine out of 3 yards of 45″ fabric. Check those layouts before you make a big silk splurge!

As a bonus – the skirt looks totally fabulous with my Chuck sweater, yeah? 🙂

Silk Chantilly

Silk Chantilly


61 Responses to “Completed: A Bow-Print Silk Chantilly”

  1. Sarah W. April 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I LOVE the bow print. This dress is gorgeous, wear it a lot!

  2. ClaireE April 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Oh my. It is very cute and I hope you’re glad you perserved with the silk. It has turned out wonderfully. It is perfect for a wedding and other occasions.

  3. Alycia April 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Two things: WOW I love that dress and YOUR LEGS ARE AMAZING. You do squats or what girl? Dayummmm hahaha ok no more creeper.

    • LLADYBIRD April 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Ha! I would say it’s from the cycling, but I haven’t touched my bike in monthsss. I think they just look good due to the heels – which I’m never wearing again, those things are painful!

      • Alycia April 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        That will do it. And yeah, heels are great for pictures, but so not practical!

  4. Hi I'm Stephanie April 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    This is gorgeous! I have the chantilly pattern but have yet to make it up. I have plans for it this summer though. Yours is so lovely and I love it with the chuck sweater! I couldn’t imagine anything but a cardigan with that dress until now. So many new options 🙂

  5. Hanne April 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Impressive! Bows are irresistible

  6. Katie April 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    This is a gorgeous dress! And I was glad to hear you could squeak it out of 3 yards — the fabric requirement has alway been one of my hangups about Chantilly too.

  7. Aleksandra April 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Oh my gosh, it’s gorgeous!

    I bought some of that, too, but I’m thinking blouse. Easy blouse. Way to go for making that happen, it’s stunning! And you can totally say that you have a Betsey Johnson dress now! lol

    • LLADYBIRD April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Yay I’m so glad that other people bought it! I can’t wait to see what you do with it – a blouse would be awesome (and easy), just make sure you line it. Unless, you know, you’re into that sheer thing 😉

  8. Helen April 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Gorgeous fabric! Well worth the pain!

  9. puu April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    YES! firstly, love the dress, even with all of the butthurt it caused.
    also…The Corner. i definitely have one of those. LOL!!

  10. Jenny April 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    great dress! I have to say I am jealous of all the cool things you always find at the flea market. I tried going to a few local flea markets and they pretty much sucked. No fabric or patterns or cool steam pressers.

  11. Michelle April 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    It’s dreamy! I really, really love the fabric. I can’t wait for the weather to get and stay warm so I can make and wear cute dresses like this.

  12. Mary Elizabeth April 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Fabulous! P.S. I’m totally making the same sweater in Ruby Cascade yarn. Sweater buddies! 😀

  13. lisa g April 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    yay for persevering on the dress! it’s definitely worth it, the print is completely adorable!

  14. Cheryl Fontenot April 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    This is SUCH a cute dress – and worth all the time and frustration you put into it! Looks amazing on you! Know what you mean about working with thin, thin fabrics! I have a dress “in production” (translation: I spent HOURS cutting the thing out and it was such a pain it’s in my ‘to do’ box…!) that I had to get a manicure prior to cutting – even the tiniest rough edge would snag the stuff!

    Yours turned out fabulously! Love that pattern – it’s so flattering on you. Well done, as usual!

  15. Carolyn April 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    You used the silk well! The dress is beautiful and I’m glad you did’t let the fabric beat you down!

  16. Ash P April 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    I love this dress!!! I was a little worried about this pattern because I’m petite and busty (like you) but after seeing your version I think it’s do-able. This dress seriously looks amazing! Well done!

  17. Haylee April 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    $30??? Oh my gosh I am so jealous right now. Wow nice job, and amazing amazing job on this gorgeous dress too! I love how you paired it with the cozy sweater in the last few pics. So cute, great job!

  18. Parnuuna Kristiane Thornwood April 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    ooh – I love the fabric! And the dress! It’s really really cute!

  19. Sabs April 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm #


  20. Lelie April 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I love this dress. The fabric is so nice!

  21. mancunianvintage April 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    You’re so ridiculously talented!

    Love your description of sewing this as ‘what it must be like sewing butterfly wings’ 😀 Made me chuckle out loud (hope you’re not talking from experience!!!) xx

  22. strugglesome April 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Yeah, you totally have a Betsey Johnson dress now. It’s official.

  23. Marie April 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Well done for not trashing the whole thing, despite its challenges! It’s a really beautiful dress and you look super sweet in it!

  24. Bec Stitches April 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Another adorable dress:) looks great with that pattern..
    Forever Scared of silk

  25. Neeno - Sew Me Love April 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Just beautiful!!!!!!!!!

  26. Jo April 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Gorgeous and cute. I just finished some blankets for a friend’s baby made from now print fleece, such a cute print!
    Jo 🙂

  27. Xenia Katie April 12, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Lovely! I bought Chantilly a year or so ago, but I can’t seem to get the guts to sew it. From what I’ve read, construction success seems a bit hit or miss with this specific design. No doubt, the outcome is worth it, it seems to always turn out stunning, and yours is probably one of the best I’ve seen so far!

    • LLADYBIRD April 12, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Hm, well if it helps, I didn’t have any problems with the construction process (I mean, apart from the whole silk thing, haha). It’s very simple and straightforward, assuming you’re comfortable sewing gathers, lining, and invisible zippers 🙂 You could probably even skip the full lining and just do the top and midriff.

      • xenia katie April 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

        Good know! Thanks so much. I’ve got some paisley, very drapey cotton in my stash that might just do the trick. 🙂

  28. crystalpleats April 12, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    I really love the first Colette Patterns release. Those patterns have the best style and details. I am working up the courage to do this one. Love your bow print.

    • LLADYBIRD April 12, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Me too! I love their new stuff, but the old patterns will always be my favorites ♥

  29. missjoiedevivre April 12, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    This is beautiful! It looks great on you (as does everything)! But is it wrong to be just a tiny bit relieved that you weren’t all ” so this was this super slippery silk and I sewed it up perfectly without any issues at all lulz”.

    But don’t worry, this sign of humanity won’t stop your adoring legions from, well, adoring. They’re a well practiced legion.

    • LLADYBIRD April 12, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Haha no way, that would mean I was just flat-out lying! Don’t worry, I have no qualms with admitting that I suck at something 🙂 hahahaha

  30. Caffy Bundana April 12, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Hey Gorgeous! This is beautiful, missed your posts, too… TBH, any toil you faced, you overcame amazingly… I love the old skool Colette Patterns, they are so classic and beautiful.

    Bundana x

  31. Ashley0107 April 12, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    That print is adorable! Love this dress 🙂

  32. kartwheels April 12, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Beautiful dress! I admire your talent in sewing. I have a machine and keep planning to use it but there are always so many other things to do when the generator is running 🙂 (I live in a very remote location in Sequoia National Forest and we make our own power) I will be following for more. If you have time and interest, I would love if you checked out my blog of kids projects, crafts etc on

    • LLADYBIRD April 12, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      Whoa, that’s so cool! Also, big thumbs up from this former homeschooler 🙂

  33. sallie April 12, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Beautiful dress! The print is perfection – and I had to laugh because I always say some silk is like sewing with butterfly wings! Totally know what you mean by it fluttering away on you if you even look at it the wrong way! But, your dress turned out fantastic! And what’s better than a fantastic silk dress? Nothing, I say!

  34. gingermakes April 12, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Cute!! I love this! I’m loving watching you sew up your NYC haul!

  35. Thimble & Cork April 12, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Girl, I seriously need 5 minutes alone in your closet. You are phenomenal! Your style is impeccable and you sew at the speed of light. Major sewist worship going on over here. I would rather buy a Lladybird Johnson dress than a Betsey Johnson dress any day!

  36. Amanda April 12, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Love this! The fabric and pattern go so well together. I’ve loved all the Chantillys that I’ve seen but I already have the Parfait, which seems kind of similar to me. But maybe it’s not!

    • LLADYBIRD April 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      They are similar… but just different enough where you need both patterns, yeah? 🙂 Haha!

  37. sewcookgardenrepeat April 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Wow, very pretty!

  38. Kelly April 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Oh, it’s just gorgeous! This was the perfect pattern for that fabric.

  39. Lily April 13, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    Hi Lauren!
    I’ve never commented on your blog posts, but the stuffs you made are seriously awesome 😀 I just want to ask, what did you use to line it? I have some silk fabric with the same texture (haven’t dared cutting into it yet) and couldn’t make up my mind about the underlining choice.

    • Lily April 13, 2013 at 4:58 am #

      Oops. I mean to underline it 😀

    • LLADYBIRD April 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      I used a medium weight rayon lining, for both the lining and underlining (I only underlined the neck/shoulder band and the midriff – and only because the silk was super sheer so my interfacing glowed right through). I’m not sure exactly what the lining was; I just picked it up at the Mood store. It’s heavier than Bemberg rayon and has a lot of body.

      • Lily April 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

        Thank you 😀 Btw on a side note, I’m totally digging that polkadot blouse in the next post, and I have some similar fabric bought from a thrift store!

  40. iveta April 13, 2013 at 5:05 am #

    I love this dress. and I am glad to to meet with your’s blog.

  41. Max April 14, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    Ow! Yeh that dress rules! Suits your little figure perfectly!

  42. Paula April 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Wow, that’s beautiful! I never find Colette patterns very appealing until I see you sew them up but after that they’re impossible to resist! That’s a cool-looking tattoo on your arm, too! Could you take a close-up of it sometime?

  43. Roisin Muldoon April 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Beautiful! I love the Chantilly and have only sewed it in cotton and even then it’s a bit of a faff because there are so many steps – I am seriously impressed that this didn’t just get banished to the naughty corner forever!

  44. Becca April 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    This is gorgeous! All your hard work paid off. I just love the shape of the dress and the way the silk lays. It does look super cute with your Chuck sweater.

  45. Beth April 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Your dress is really pretty! The fit looks great. Congrats!

  46. Hannah May 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Totally cute


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