I finished this dress several days ago, but I have been so busy sewing that I haven't had time for posting. I want to share a few pictures, but first let me apologize for the image quality. My camera is on its last legs and I am in the process of picking out a new one, so hopefully my photos will improve!
Full length shot of the outside front and inside, showing silk charmeuse lining. I chose not to line the sleeves on this dress - sometimes I do this if I am concerned that the lining will restrict my arms' freedom of movement. The lining was attached to the zipper area with handstitching. The sleeve, neck facing and bottom hems were covered in seam binding and sewn up by hand.
The quatrefoil embellishment was created by cutting a 2.5" wide bias strip of wool crepe, folding it in half lengthwise (right sides together) and sewing a seam 0.5" from the raw edge. The resulting tube was turned right side out (note to self - invest in a set of Fasturn tube turners) and pressed so that the seam is in the middle of the back. Do not stretch the bias tube when pressing - this "give" is needed to go around the curve regions smoothly. Initially, I tried to shape the quatrefoil by eyeballing it, but I didn't like the uneven results, so I walked away from it for a few days to ponder on a solution. Finally, I had a "light bulb moment". I noticed the quatrefoil was basically two infinity signs (∞) laying perpendicularly over each other. I fired up word and printed off 2 infinity symbols (font size 400), cut one out carefully and taped it on top of the other one at a 9o degree angle. This paper was placed on my ironing board and the bias tube was shaped to follow the outside edge of the lapped infinity signs. I held the fabric in place by inserting pins straight down through the fabric and paper into the padding of the ironing board. When I was pleased with the placement of the bias tube, I steamed the heck out of it (at this point the paper gets very wet, so you can't salvage the design - make duplicates if you need more than one motif) to "seal in" the design. I tacked the fabric together at all junction points and then centred it on the garment. The embellishment was attached to the garment using small invisible appliqué stitches. To complete the look to match the Jacqueline Kennedy inspiration garment, I covered a button in crepe fabric and centred it over the quatrefoil. I am very pleased with the results - I knew it looked good when my husband told me he loved it!
Now, what was the pleasant surprise you might ask? When this dress was complete and I did the final try-on, I realized that something interesting had happened. Although I had started with one dress as inspiration, I actually ended up with a garment that has elements of two of my favourite JK dresses. I discussed the dress to the left in my initial post. The dress to the right was worn by Jackie when she had an audience with Pope John XXIII at the Vatican, on March 11, 1962. I have always loved the austerity and simple, clean lines of this dress - it is so dramatic. What tickled me about this turn of events (that my dress is an amalgamation of the two JK dresses pictured here), is that the date on which I completed my dress (March 11, 2008) was exactly 46 years, to the day, from when Jackie wore her black dress to the Vatican. Cool!