Friday, June 29, 2012

can't get it out of my head

This silk dress, specifically...

I have seen the movie "Under The Tuscan Sun" at least ten times. The plot line is pretty good: girl travels to Tuscany in an attempt to ease her heartbreak, impulsively buys a crumbling villa, and subsequently moves there full-time. But the two things that keep me watching over and over again are the lovely scenery and costumes.

I've been in love with this orange/pink silk dress from the first time I saw the film. A couple of weeks ago while channel-surfing, I caught the last 30 minutes of the movie with Diane Lane in that beautiful dress... sigh. It's just so girly and a little bit retro. I love, love, love that dress!

As I was watching it occured to me, why don't I just make myself a dress like that? How hard could it be? Aside from the fact that silk is pretty pricey, what's stopping me?

About 90 minutes from me there is a huge shop called Vogue Fabrics. They carry everything - home dec, wools, silks, cottons, you name it. Their online shop shows several colors of Thai Silk Dupioni, and I particularly LOVE this color called persimmon. Slightly iridescent, the color shifts from orange to pink as the fabric moves and the light changes. Perfect!

I did a little online research about silk fabrics since I've never sewn with them and learned that dupioni silks are woven from two different colors of silk, giving them the iridescent shimmer. Dupioni silks are an excellent choice for dress-making since they are wrinkle resistant and provide a crisp drape. They do have a slight roughness or nubbiness to the weave, which I think gives them a little character. On the downside, though, dupioni silks show pin marks more than other fabrics, so I'd have to be extra careful to keep the pins in the seam allowances.

A close-up shot from the movie shows that Diane Lane's dress has the tiniest little fold-down shawl collar without a notch and set-in sleeves with a fold-up cuff. The dress appears to be a shirt-dress because of the silk covered buttons on the bodice, but they don't continue down the front of the full circle skirt, so there must be a well hidden zipper in the side seam. I'm thinking five yards of silk is what I'll need. Wow - that's a lot of silk!

We've got a family wedding coming up in late September; that should be time enough to act on this obsession, don't you think? Next step is pattern research and a field trip to Vogue fabrics... sounds like fun!

And in case you are thinking I've abandoned my quilty pursuits, let me assure that I've been working on a new baby quilt top in the midst of all this apparel sewing. All the blocks are completed; I've just got to put them together and show you next week!

Happy Weekend, everyone!


  1. The dress is gorgeous! You might also check with they often have wonderful colors of this same fabric.

  2. This is the *exact* fabric used for that dress and there used to be a notation on the web site saying they used this fabric for Diane Lane's dress. "Hawaiian Sunset" describes it beautifully.


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