Chain mail has been hitting the runway and the red carpet pretty hard. With the five gorgeous gals of the Nineties donning chain mail gowns and strutting their stuff alongside Ms. Donatella Versace herself in the Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear show, how could it not? Even the likes of Michelle Obama and Kendall Jenner have been seen taking part in this stunning metal movement. So when Mood got this exquisite fabric in not just one, but five colors, I knew a dress had to be made. So the Hyacinth Gown came to be, with a billowing swag back and a daring front leg slit.
Fabrics & materials used:
- 6 pieces Mood Exclusive Gunmetal Iridescent Chainmail Fabric
- 1 pkg Dritz Size 4/0 Nickel Sew On Snaps
- 111 Clear 250m Gutermann Invisible Thread
- The Hyacinth Gown Sewing Pattern (free download below!)
- NOTE: Mood’s chainmail fabric comes in 18″x59″ sheets, so anything you make with it must use pattern pieces no wider than 18″. Because of this, if you’re using the Hyacinth pattern over a size 4, you may need to choose a different fabric, or make your skirt slightly less full around the hem.
So, as one might expect, sewing something with chain mail comes with its own fun challenges. The first being that you can’t really pin it or mark it. I racked my brain trying to figure out how I’d be transferring my pattern pieces to the fabric, and then I thought of draping tape!
I laid out the fabric and my pattern pieces, traced around it with the tape, and then cut just outside the tape line like you can see below. Note: my pieces did not include the 1/4″ seam allowance that the downloadable pattern includes, so you’ll want line up the tape right with the edge of your pattern pieces.
The discs of the chain mail aren’t too difficult to cut, but the can get sharp, so I chose to only cut the links in between the discs. You will be getting a lot of small metal pieces falling around you, so I recommend working in a space that’s easily cleanable or laying a cloth down.
Once your pieces are all cut out, you’ll want to create the swag of the back panel of your dress. Fold a large dart into the sides of your bodice, starting about an inch from the bottom of the armhole. Secure with a blanket stitch.
Next, you’ll want to form the front of your dress. Overlap the side dress panels with the center front about 1/2″ with the center front on top, like you see below. Secure the entirety of the right seam with a blanket stitch. For the left seam, sew from the shoulder to the start of the leg slit, about halfway down.
Secure the back bodice of your dress to the front at the shoulder seams, like below. Be sure to place the back shoulder piece over the front.
Again, overlapping the panels 1/2″, sew the back skirt panels together at the center back and then to the bottom of the bodice at the waistline. Close one entire side of your dress.
Lastly, sew 11 snaps along the open side of the dress, placing them every 1.5″ starting at the very bottom of the armhole. Sew down the remainder of the side along the skirt and your ensemble is officially red carpet ready!
Are you going to be using one of Mood’s five new chainmail fabrics, or something else? Let me know in the comments!
Love it!! How much do I need for a draped swing top similar to your dress bodice? I’m a size 10-12. Did you hand sew garment? Obviously there is no grain. Cut on bias?
Hello! You’d probably need 2 sheets to drape a similar bodice. And yes, hand sewn with invisible nylon thread 🙂
This dress is amazing. If you were making this from a regular fabric, how many yards would you need?
Hi there! If you’re using a 58/60″ fabric, probably 3-4 yards depending on your size. 🙂
Absolutely gorgeous! I think I’d want to underline it – maybe with silk charmeuse?
How would you recommend sewing a zipper to this ?
If you’re using a regular fabric, you could certainly add an invisible zipper to the side – but if you’re using the chainmail like I did, a zipper would be difficult to attach securely.
Since the metal fabric is sheer, what would you recommend to line it with?
Hi Maxine – we used a 4-ply silk crepe, but you could also use a ponte knit for something more form fitting and protective from the metal.
RE the lining….i was thinking a satin or charmuse …too light? Did the fabric need the heft of a 4 ply to give it some structure?
Hi Diane! No, the 4-ply weight wasn’t required for the pattern itself. It was chosen more for some extra comfort against the metal chainmail we used.
I’m in love with this dress and want to make it for myself o wear to my best friends wedding 🙂 However is there a instruction on how to sew the dress using “normal” fabric? Hopefully some can help me out 🙂
I’m with you, Alfea Foskett, I’m thinking a Leopard print Charmeuse, add 3/4 length sleeves as I’m 67 (batwing upper arms). I attend a festival every September, which has a Gala/Formal night. The theme for this year’s Gala is “Red Carpet Evening”, so I think the back draping & split thigh seam fit the bill!