Silk chiffon dress: nothing at all like a Chux!

112314_0713_Silkchiffon1.jpgFelicity fell in love with this beautiful blue and white silk chiffon at one of Gay Naffine’s recent fabric sales.

112314_0713_Silkchiffon2.jpgHe who Cooks thought it looked like a Chux cleaning cloth.

I think he was teasing. But there is some resemblance. The resemblance to a dish cloth was even more striking when I was giving this fabric the gelatine pretreatment in my stock pot! He likes the dress though and has said nothing at all about Chux since.

Technical details

Pattern: This dress was based on the Marion Bay dress (BurdaStyle 03/2013 #110)

112314_0713_Silkchiffon3.jpgI used the bodice after my adjustments for fit and to slightly raise the neckline.

The skirt lining was the same A-line shape as the original dress, so it sits closer to the body, while the silk chiffon layer was a half circle skirt that floats around it.

112314_0713_Silkchiffon4.jpgI modified the sleeve pattern to make them fluttery too.

112314_0713_Silkchiffon5.jpgThe original sleeve was cut and spread, I traced the new shape onto another piece of tracing paper, and that was my new pattern piece,

112314_0713_Silkchiffon6.jpgI like how these turned out. They are fuller, but not puffy or poofy. Sort of similar to the skirt.

112314_0713_Silkchiffon7.jpgVery bad posing (this was the one spot I said not to pose, so of course she did, and smirked at me while she did). It does show the sleeve though.


Silk chiffon. Eek. Gorgeous but impossibly slippery and able to stretch out of shape in a microsecond.

I used gelatine pretreatment. This is a new to me trick that gave a bit more body to the fabric. I followed what Jo, of making it well, did. Threads also have a good post.

The gelatine pretreatment did make the fabric easier to cut out, but it didn’t give it canvas like consistency!

I underlined the bodice with my lining fabric, and this did make it easier to deal with. Particularly the darts.

112314_0713_Silkchiffon8.jpgI traced the dart legs with chalk, then basted through both layers as well as around the edges, by machine. I managed to avoid gathering and puckering by having the stretchy unstable chiffon underneath and the lining on top while I was sewing. I love “letting the feed dogs do the easing” for me.

112314_0700_Silkchiffon9.jpgUnderlining made stitching the darts so much easier, and meant that the darts were not a feature with this sheer fabric, because all the doubled up fabric was underneath the lining rather than between the top fabric and the lining.

This wasn’t the case with the skirt, because it was lined rather than underlined, but there was only the centre back and side seams (plus the piecing I did at the hem because I didn’t have wide enough fabric..)

112314_0700_Silkchiffon10.jpgThe skirt seams got the French seam treatment, and I stitched from the base to the waist because I’ve read somewhere that this stretches out bias less. Maybe it worked a bit, but the seam is still a bit bubbly. In the image above you can see the two extra pieces I had to piece in at the hem line.

After I washed out all the gelatine and let the dress hang to dry and drop before hemming, the side seams stretched out so much that I cut almost all of these pieces off to level the hem. So some extra French seaming in chiffon that I could have avoided!

112314_0700_Silkchiffon11.jpgSee, hardly any piecing left, except a teensy tiny bit rolled into the hem

The finishing touch was the daisy trim

I had a small length of trim in my stash that probably came from my mother or grandmother. It was just perfect.

112314_0700_Silkchiffon15.jpgIt went on the waist as a daisy chain,

112314_0700_Silkchiffon16.jpgand then as individual daisies sprinkled on the shoulder

112314_0700_Silkchiffon17.jpgand lower skirt.


I’m happy with how this turned out, and so is Felicity.

It really is the most delightful fabric. But I want the next project to be in nice stable cotton!

12 thoughts on “Silk chiffon dress: nothing at all like a Chux!

    1. I blush to say that the underlining was not silk or another natural fibre, but ordinary bemsilk (acetate) lining fabric. It does have a nice sheen and was beautifully stable.

  1. Really lovely! Thanks for the tip about the gelatin — will be working with charmeuse shortly and that will be very helpful.

  2. Nothing at all like a wash cloth! Geez – men!
    Just perfect use of fabric and pattern and of course, perfectly executed. Such lucky offspring. If my son was a daughter, he’d be wearing this!

  3. Its turned out beautifully, excellent chiffon wrangling skills. Your daughter looks lovely, the dress is perfect for her. I particularly like the a line under skirt and half circle outer skirt, very pretty and floaty.
    I had no trouble with the steam iron, used gently, on gelatine soaked chiffon either. I just made a silk chiffon dress without the gelatine, and it was much, much trickier than the previous one where the fabric was pre treated. I hear you on the cotton. My next project is boy’s pyjama shorts!

    1. Thank you. I like the A line skirt too. Of course I also wonder if it would have been better with a half circle lining…
      My next project has now been decided. A Very Easy Very Vogue shift dress on cotton. Bring it on!

  4. Those daisy motifs remind me of my childhood! I had some on my Mum made dresses from the ’70s. My sewing friend has had luck with spraying silk chiffon with ‘spray starch’ from the supermarket, got to let it dry first, before cutting. Crisp, from Woolies, with the carnation on the aerosol can. I’ll be trying that next time. (Note to self, no more buying silk chiffon😳)

    I saw the black version of the Chux fabric yesterday at the sale, stayed away with great resolve…

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