So back in 2015, the first time I volunteered at the Great Plains Ren Fest I helped serve punch at the Queen's Tea. It was the traditional red color/flavor of Hawaiian Punch, served in little cups.
Of course, I tripped over a tent line and spilled several cups all down my dress. Everyone was horrified, but some sewing minded saint up above must have been looking out for me because it rinsed off my dress right away.
Since then there is a running joke about keeping me away from the punch served at the Queen's Tea. I'm not even allowed to serve the white grape juice we have now!
The stain repellent properties probably have to do with the fabric that was used, which was all upholstery grade and most likely had stain repellent built in. The skirt fabric was supposed to be drapery lining stuff, and it took forever to dye it properly. Even then the color turned out different in the daylight than in my kitchen.
These were Kate and I's first matching dresses, and we did actually get several uses out of them. (You can see a photo gallery here.) After three dusty, hot, day long events that I can remember. I thought it was probably time to carefully wash the dress. In the tub, with cold water and Woolite detergent.
I was fairly certain this would be a safe bet. I was very wrong. I chronicled the horror story in stages on Snapchat as it was happening. The instant I put the dress in the cold Woolite water the color from the skirt started leaching out into the tub.
It. Just. Wouldn't. Stop. So, I hung the dress to dry and hoped for the best. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe the color just got lifted, but then by some miracle redeposited on the fabric. Maybe Kate's skirt had faded to nearly the same color??? Sigh. Nope.
I tried taking a picture in natural light to show the worst of it, but my beagle, Polly decided she loooooved the new cover to "her footstool" in the living room. It took tempting her with a treat do get her to move.
Anyway, I found an angle in my basement florescent light that shows the worst of it. No getting around it, these skirts no longer matched in color.
I knew I wanted to use silk on these skirts, since it would go from very heavy drapery fabric to easier to wear and lightweight, breathable silk. The green dresses I made for the spring have spoiled me forever more on ever wearing heavy fabrics again.
It actually took 3 orders before I found two coordinating silk saris that would match the colors in the original bodices (which we were re-using). I would call the color I was looking for taupe, but the Indian sellers online disagree in their item descriptions. I'm not mad at having extra silk for future projects though!
I finally settled on two coordinating and beautifully woven silks.
Both were a little thin. As in, you could see the stripes on the hoop skirt fabric right through those silks.
I was in no mood to buy YET MORE fabric to correct my mistake, but fortunately the chemises we originally made for these dresses were full length, and had already been split once to allow for the fullness of the hoop skirts. (The hoop skirts had been made after the dresses.)
On to chopping and re-forming the chemises!
There was some discussion on how to use the silk saris. I wanted to use the decorated pallu if at all possible, and keep the front split. So, we talked about separate skirts, a fake front panel, or coordinating, but different skirts.
In the end to keep some fullness we went with identical double skirts. This took some math and geometry on my part to create the fullest skirts with not quite enough material.
Here are my notes for posterity (and because I'll likely loose them in my cluttered sewing room).
I find literally cutting and pasting in these situations immensely helpful. It was even to scale enough that I was able to take miniature measurements and scale them up to the fabric width!
The underskirts only had to flare out enough to not pull tight over the hoop skirts, but for the overskirts I wanted the front split to fall away starting from the top. That the back formed a little train is just a coincidence. (But Kate's backside looked cute when she was walking in it!)
I had hats planned for this too... So to see how the dresses PLUS hats turned out stay tuned for another post!
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!