My “Singing Gig Dress” provided instructional to me on several levels. First was the fit/matte jersey issue that I discussed yesterday on the Sewing Divas Blog. The second conundrum I ran into was the trim. The neckline of the dress is curved. The trim I used was a heavily encrusted, beaded trim that was backed with a lightweight buckram. This made it pretty inflexible.
So my quandary was, how to curve this to conform to the neckline edge without distorting the jersey dress? First thing that needed attention was the dress’ neckline. It needed interfacing to stabilize it. I thought about using a hair canvas on the facing, but between that and the buckram backing on the trim, I think it would have been too stiff and would not lay flatteringly against the body. Instead, I interfaced both the neckline and the facing with fusible tricot. This gave the support the trim needs but maintained the flexibility I want.
Once the dress was ready, I designed a template by tracing the neckline of the dress onto oaktag paper. I traced the entire neckline, including the back, and I decided to use that to shape and press the trim into shape.
After a very little experimentation (I didn’t have enough trim to do many tries), I realized that there was just no way to curve the trim around the back of the neckline. The beading and buckram made that impossible. So the trim only extends to the shoulders. I didn’t want to risk ruining the beading, so to press it into the shape of the collar, I worked from the back of the trim, with a silk organza press cloth and sparing amounts of steam. This took a fair amount of time, and I ended up sticking pins in the trim to hold it in place and set the shape while it cooled. The result was a good match for the neckline of the dress.
Once the trim was ready, I used a length of single-strand waxed thread to whipstitch it in place along the inner and outer borders. This project took a fair amount of time and patience, but like anything of this ilk, it was worth both. I’m quite pleased with the results.