You guessed it, I decided to go with the chiffon! I decided to make an underskirt for the black dress with 3 layers of chiffon. To make them as full as possible, I will be making them full circles. This means I will be cutting 6 half circles of chiffon. Materials required:
1. Chiffon – at least 5 yards, 60 inches wide.
2. Dressmakers curve – to make a half circle pattern (I used a Kwik Sew pattern piece (Kwik Sew 2601) and added to it to make it the desired length)
3. Pins (notice my new handy dandy wrist magnet pin holder 🙂
5. Plenty of time and a vodka martini handy – this is a painstaking process.
I would have to say that the most difficult part of working with chiffon is cutting it. It is like trying to cut Jello. It slides all over the place.
I have tried cutting it on carpet, but for large pieces, I cut on our dining room table. The great thing about our table is that we never eat off of it, so it is basically my cutting table. Another great thing is that it is rectangular, so what I like to do is line the chiffon up with the edges to get a cut that is on grain, or close to it. I think that some people use weights on the pattern piece to stop it from shifting. I have not tried that. I will fiddle for about 15 minutes, getting the chiffon as much in line as I can before I cut. I try to hold the pattern down with my left hand as I cut or chiffon will tend to pucker and you end up with all of these angled cuts! To cut out the 6 half circles took about 2 hours.
After cutting all of the pieces (ahhh, martini) I set them on a clothes hanger. Before I knew about cutting chiffon, I read somewhere that after you cut it, it WILL go ‘off-grain’. What this means is that all that careful cutting you did goes completely out the window because the fabric will shift after a couple of days, or minutes! What you end up with is an uneven bottom. What was suggested was to hang the chiffon for at least a week and attach clothes pegs to the bottom for a bit of weight. Since clothes pegs have kind of gone the way of the steam train, I used big paper holder clips at the bottom and leave it to hang for a few days. Then I use the pattern piece again and recut if there has been any shifting. When I sew the pieces together, I also check the hemline again when it is on the dress form.