Hot! The “Forever” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: 2 yards 19.5mm silk charmeuse, $25.90 and 1/4 yard silk organza, $1, both from Dharma Trading
Pattern: New Look 6348
Year: 2004
Notions: Invisible Beulon Zipper, $2.60 (including shipping), from Field’s Fabrics; iDye, $3 from Dharma Trading, Gutermann cotton thread, $1 from Hancock, Gutermann silk thread, $4 from JoAnn’s
Time to complete: ~29 hours
First worn: February 17, for photos
Wear again? Yes, after a few tweaks
Total cost: ~$40

Given the intimidating plan I set for next week’s challenge, I intended to skip this week. Then, I just happened to stumble upon this old Chanel ad and suddenly couldn’t get that dress out of my head. And, of course, New Look just had to have the perfect pattern! Oh darn, I guess I was meant to make a red dress after all.

The search for the perfect fabric was exhaustive! I knew I wanted it to be silk and, of course, it had to be red. With the two local shops carrying only faux-silks, I moved my search online. Oddly, I even found this selection somewhat limited (at least in the price-range I wanted to keep – it was my first silk garment after all). I thought I had a bit of luck on ebay but, the length I ordered came in heavily flawed. After continued searching, I gave up on red. Instead, I decided to order white. It was apparently time to try my hand at dyeing.

I used the iDye from Dharma Trading. I chose this for two reasons: 1, they didn’t have the color red I wanted in the acid dyes and 2, there’s no guess work – you throw the whole packet in with the fabric. I thought that sounded like an easy introduction to dyeing fabric. It was certainly an experience. It took much longer than I expected and I was achy and tired by the end of it but, once I ironed it dry and saw this rich new color, I knew it was worth every minute.

For the dress itself, I chose to make the shape a bit more flattering and practical than the inspiration piece. In the photo, Keira’s dress is gathered under the bust but, I felt the pattern’s darts would be a better look for me. Her dress was also full-length with a deep back. However, I thought I’d get more use out of a cocktail dress (which didn’t require special underpinnings). So, I shortened the pattern to hit at the top of my knee and left the back as the pattern showed.

Now, I¬†mentioned this was my first time working with silk. And, I said next week’s plan was intimidating. Funny thing though – I actually ended up using many of the techniques I was afraid of to make this dress! Which accounts for my tardiness – I do apologize. From thread tracing and hand-basting to a hand-stitched slot zipper… let’s just say I “watched” a lot of Mad Men! (Gotta catch up!) Did I mention the skirt of this dress is on the bias? It was a slippery little bugger but I think the results are worth it.

I’m so glad I decided to participate this week. This was a great introduction to dyeing and silk and now I have a fairly well-fitting cocktail dress (which Brandon has been suggesting I make for some time). Now, there’s not a moment to waste so, I’m off to start the next dress!



Jennifer took up sewing in 2008 as a new hobby after a move. Now, with endless ideas running through her head, she's making an effort to fill hers and her fiance's closets with custom clothing.


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  1. WOW! That is a hot little number. It looks so chic and fits so well. Idye from Darhma? I love that place. I’ve ordered other things from there, but didn’t know about the dye. It looks so rich and even. I love how it turned out. I’m also going to have to check out that zipper source. I can’t seem to use anything but invisible zippers these days. It really is a lovely outfit. I’m glad you were able to post it.

    • Thanks, Barbara! ::blushing:: the iDye is great, as is Dharma’s acid dye (which I used this week, project not yet posted). The zipper I used isn’t on Field’s website but, if you call, they’re happy to help :-)

  2. Gorgeous. Very elegant.

  3. Hi Jennifer, the dress is absolutely gorgeous. Dyeing sounds like. Lot fun and what a beautiful color red you achieved. Great job and can’t wait to see what you pot for next weks challenge.

  4. Really beautiful, an well worth the effort. Can’t wait to see next week’s post.

  5. Really beautiful, and well worth the effort. Can’t wait to see next week’s post.

  6. Lovely job – looks fabulous on

  7. Lovely colour and drape.

  8. simply wow! stunning to say the least. Very impressed that you died the fabric too.

  9. For your first time it’s looking very silky smooth! I’m freaking scared of non-cottons! xoxo

  10. Whoa – that is one nice dye-job! I’ve used iDye and been happy with how consistent it has come out, but would never have guessed you dyed this yourself. Great job on the dress, it looks like your self-challenges really payed off, it fits lovely!

  11. Gorgeous vivid red and it fits you like a glove.

  12. Brilliant work! You look stunning! The time you put into it shows.

  13. Aww, thanks so much everyone for your lovely comments! You all really brightened my day (and made my cheeks rather red!) :-)