Elvin Silver

Last fall, when the spring runway shows ran, I noticed a trend for grey full-skirted dresses. This seemed like just the kind of thing that I would want to wear as the weather warms up.

This project is based on the pattern Vogue 8577. It has a great full skirt, and I love the midriff piece. I made some fairly substantial changes. I changed the front to a surplice neckline; added a collar that extends past the waist onto the skirt; added a side zipper; rotated the back darts into pleats that feed into the yoke; and changed the armhole and sleeve to rotate to the front a bit more. Those are all the changed I recall making.

Donna Karan dress with interesting collar

Donna Karan dress with interesting collar

The idea for the collar came from the above dress from Donna Karan. I love how the collar extends past the waist and becomes part of the skirt. I also really like the clear nylon belt that this dress is shown with. I am going to look for one of those.

The fabric is a 4-ply silk crepe that I got for an unbelievable price because it was a really bad neon yellow color. I tried to dye it grey, and got this silvery green color that will henceforth be known as Elvin Silver. The suggestion for the word elvin came from Elizabeth, who, I suspect, plays far too much scrabble. But back to the fabric. At first, I did not like the color and was considering re-dyeing, but it has grown on me. I used Procion dyes from Dharma. Somewhere buried in the procion dye instructions is the warning that red dyes do not paste up easily. They recommend that when using red or any compound color containing red (like grey), you take your pasted up color and force it through some tightly woven silk to remove any red bits that did not past up properly. Of course, I am way to cool to bother with that. And now I have myriad tiny specks of red on my dress.

back view

back view

action shot

action shot



collar melding into the skirt

collar melding into the skirt

side zip

side zip

tiny speck of red

tiny speck of red



  1. Posted February 7, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    What a beautiful dress. Great skirt for twirling!

  2. Becky
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    It’s lovely! And just think of the red speckles as a subtle print. 🙂

  3. Nancy Karpen
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    It’s lovely. I even like the red dots. How did you draft the collar to be part of the skirt? Did you just over dye the fabric or did you remove the color first?

    • Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink | Reply

      I did not remove the color. I might have done that on cotton, but silk is delicate and I wanted to minimize processing. The collar draft and sewing were complicated (for me, anyway), and unfortunately I don’t have photos of the process.

  4. Posted February 7, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful dress, Claudine. It also reminds me of this Gilbert Adrian creation:

    • Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks! Wow, it really does resemble the Adrian dress. The color and the drape are almost identical.

  5. akismet-21b053fec805c8711a1f608da8cdd26a
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Love the dress. That is really clever how the collar melts into the skirt of the dress. Very cool. I loved the action shot too. Beautiful!

    (And I don’t know what gave you the impression I play Scrabble all the time, but sorry, have to go play my turn in my 8 active games right now).


    So good to see you this week.


  6. Posted February 7, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink | Reply


  7. Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous dress.

    If you look closely, my teal set also has the red colorbursts. But, how often will my 12 yo stand still long enough for anyone but me to notice?

  8. Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Gorgeous dress!!

  9. Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love, love, love this dress!

  10. Posted February 8, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    How lovely!

  11. Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful! The collar is a great feature!

  12. EmilyAnn Frances
    Posted February 10, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    I love the description of the color as “Elvin Silver”. For a moment I thought of elves working magic to change the color from yellow to silvery grey.

    The different elements you added to the style worked out very well. The side zip gives it a kind of retro look and feel.

    EmilyAnn Frances

  13. Posted February 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    That disappearing collar feature is very cool–I’m impressed (as usual).

  14. Posted February 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great dress. I looked at the collar extending up from the skirt and thought “drafting challenge” before I even read your response about it to a comment. You aced it. I especially like that you kept the pockets of the pattern on your version of the dress. Did you use gray dye on the neon yellow or a different color that when combined with the yellow, yielded gray? I am asking because I have some light orangey brown color (clay?) silk I want to overdye to a color I like.

    • Posted February 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      My advice about dye projects is, keep an open mind. You never know what color you’ll end up with. I mixed a couple of different dyes. As near as I can recall, one was a light grey color and the other was a light blue color. If you are ordering dyes specifically for this project, order the acid dyes from Dharma. I used Procion dyes that I had around, but acid dyes are better for silk because they don’t affect the hand of the fabric as much.

  15. Kathryn
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    I thought I had posted a comment about this dress a couple of weeks ago, but it’s not here. Suffice to say that you’ve made another winner of a dress, Claudine. If you really wanted to banish those little red dots,and drive yourself crazy to boot, you could embroider some silvery grey dots over each of them. The randomness could give it an interesting look. It’s best left alone, though, as you have done. There’s such a thing as worrying a project to death and you wisely chose not to.

One Trackback

  1. By Me Made May Wrap-Up « Rolling in Cloth on May 31, 2013 at 9:07 am

    […] dress blogged here […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: