Tailoring Chiffon Fabric

Designer patterns leave a lot of room for interpretation for the dressmaker, which is the reason why every garment looks different, depending on the choices made by the seamstress who makes it, even if it’s sewn from the same, exact pattern. I interpreted this dress to be one color, not two; maybe I didn’t like the idea of using a different color, or a different fabric, for the bodice from the rest of the dress.

At first, I did try to search for a satin color that would closely match the color of the chiffon. This is difficult to do online, because one is forced to swatch from various suppliers, while letting time pass with the hope of winning the jackpot with color matching.

After searching online and calling fabric stores, I came up empty handed.

When I was unable to locate the perfect satin that matched the unusual royal-purple-blue JMendel chiffon, I decided to try my hand at tailoring the chiffon itself. I know it’s an unusual move, but I didn’t want the contrast of a purple bodice against a bluish chiffon skirt that leans toward royal-blue in a certain light. I’m also wanting to use up my fabric stash and absolutely dislike buying excess fabric when I can make do at home...within reason, of course.

Not knowing how to approach this project or how to do this, I carefully pinned and thread traced the double layers to the purple dupioni which will serve as the underlining.

Five layers were stitched together: two chiffon, the dupioni, interfacing, and lining fabric.

I sewed the darts and basted all the layers together. Before facing the neckline, I checked to make sure I was happy with the structure of the bodice and the way the chiffon was tailored. So far, so good.

Using two layers of dupioni for the facing, the facing was sewn over 5 layers, clipped, then turned. Ahem, that’s 7 layers around the neckline: 14 layers when you count the turn!

To be sure the facing does not shift and turn to the outside of the bodice in the future, it was understitched to the clipped, curved seam, by hand, using back-stitches. To finish the raw edges, the two facing pieces were stitched together using the hand-overcast stitch.

Tailoring chiffon was a decision I made not knowing what the outcome would be, but I am so glad I took the risk because now I have a bodice that precisely matches the dress color. I also saved my pennies for the next sewing project by not having to purchase expensive satin for the bodice.

Would you consider tailoring chiffon in the future?