Layered Silk Dress and Fashion Advice

This dress idea started out with a photo that I saw online and have no idea where it was or who was pictured. But I do remember that she was wearing a dress with an opaque inner layer and a sheer outer layer, they were not connected at the neckline, and I had to have one.

The inner layer is silk charmeuse from my stash and the outer layer is silk chiffon from Fabric Mart (I think). I hemmed and finished the neckline on the chiffon, basted it to the charmeuse, then treated them as one piece.

It’s kind of based on a burdastyle pattern but I changed the neckline and added sleeves and added the layers. Re the sleeve thing, if you learned one thing from the royal wedding, it should be that you need sleeves. Really, no more sleeveless, please. There’s my fashion advice to get you through the next year or 2. Sleeves.

Back View


Action shot. This dress is best viewed in motion.


Sleeve detail


Neckline detail. The charmeuse is a square neckline and the chiffon is rounded.


hem detail


Front view. There is something wrong with this dress that you can see in this view. I'm lazy about fixing it and I would like to know how obvious it is. Please point it out to me in the comments and tell me if you noticed it right away.




  1. Remnant
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    I noticed that this is lovely! Simply beautiful! I do love the action shot and can imagine the joy it will give you wearing, swishing in gently blowing breezes. I wouldn’t worry about the little “wrong.” It adds a bit of character.

  2. Cristi
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    ah- the hem of the chiffon is a bit skewed in relation to the under dress.
    But now I have to make some something like that for myself.

    • Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s it. It seems like it should be easy to fix, but the chiffon was such a bear to hem that I just can’t motivate to do it. I’m thinking I can convince myself that it does not matter.

      Please do make one for yourself. I think I may end up wearing this a lot this summer.

  3. Posted May 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love it!!! Especially the action shot. The layering is inspired. I think the “flaw” is the chiffon hem, but with everyday everymoment movement it will be barely detectable.

  4. Janet Wayman
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Yeah, the chiffon is crooked at the hem, although it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have noticed it if you hadn’t said to look for the flaw. What I really want to know is how you get a dress form to twirl!

    • Posted May 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. I was thinking that even I won’t notice it after a while.

      To get the form to twirl, I set up the shot with a tripod and 5 yo dd to press the shutter (she’s been doing this for me since she was 3), then I walked up to the dress form, spun it as hard as I could and got out of the way while dd pressed the shutter as fast as she could. I did this 3 or 4 times, until she got tired of it, and got a couple of acceptable photos.

  5. Posted May 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I noticed it when you asked me to look for it! Since they are going to move differently I don’t think it’s particularly noticeable. It’s lovely.

  6. Posted May 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Leave the hem.
    Chiffon is expected to misbehave.
    I like it.
    Great dress.

  7. j Lynn
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Don’t change it unless it bothers you while wearing it. It is lovely. Can’t wait to see it on you.

  8. Posted May 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous set. Is the mistake (tiny) that one of the front darts pleats and the other doesn’t?

  9. Brenda
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just beautiful! It’s creative, not flawed! I wouldn’t expend any energy fixing – just twirl away!

  10. Posted May 20, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely dress, I thought it was the hem too, but then thought I was being too picky.

  11. Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t imagine the tediousness and bother of trying to get a chiffon layer hemmed to be even with an underlayer. Don’t know that I’ve ever observed a perfectly even chiffon hem in RTW, but I don’t often get to a truly high end shop very often to look. I know if I tried to even it, it would probably turn out like the time I tried trimming my (wavy, uncooperative) bangs myself back in Jr. High and ended up with a scarily short fringe…that was still uneven. And you won’t be standing still enough long enough often enough for anyone to notice anyway.

    And I think your dress is lovely and inspiring and I’m trying to figure out just where you actually hooked it all together because I may want to attempt a version, too! (In which I will no doubt ignore the uneveness of the chiffon layer…)

  12. Posted May 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It is a lovely dress. One of the characteristics I have always liked about garments made of layered fabrics, is the inherent differences in the hang of the fabrics and the hem edges of the pieces. That’s what makes them so interesting.

  13. shams
    Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink | Reply

    So nice, Claudine! I can’t wait to see this on you for Me-Made-June!

  14. Posted May 23, 2011 at 3:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    If you are referring to the wonky chiffon hemline, then I wouldn’t worry about it 🙂 The chiffon is going to hang differently each time you wear it, that is the nature of chiffon, and ESPECIALLY if the two dresses are not attached to each other. The chiffon dress will slide about over the shoulders of the charmeuse dress constantly.
    This is absolutely gorgeous!! Very inspiring idea. I would kill to have something like this in my wardrobe… but will settle for making my own! 😀

    • Posted May 23, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! The dresses actually are attached to each other at the shoulder seams, armscye, back seam, and side seams, releasing at the high hip. The charmeuse and chiffon would slide all over each other otherwise.

  15. Posted May 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well I couldn’t see anything…and I looked closely. Beautiful dress.

  16. Brenda
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another beautiful creation!The fabrics are both beautiful and compliment each other.

    Regarding the flaw: artistic expression!!! And, might it hang different on your body than on the dressform? I wouldn’t give it another thought!

  17. Kathryn, aka fzxdoc
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a great summertime dress! I want one too! 🙂 I’m glad to read that the two dresses are in fact joined at several of the seams. I didn’t tumble to that fact until I read your answer in the comment section. Until then, I had wondered about the two layers twisting during wear. With you at the sewing helm, I should have known not to worry.

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