Finished Object: Jasmine (Revolutionary Road) Dress

It’s springtime in Queensland, which means jasmine everywhere.  I miss the scent of honeysuckle summers.   I enjoy the jasmine season, it feel deliciously exotic to walk outside on a warm jasmine-scented evening.

I stalled for a few days on the dress construction while I tried to find a belt.  Ivory belts are indecently hard to find in Brisbane at the moment.  I eventually settled for a skinny belt, only to look at it in sunlight and realize it is too gray to go with the dress.

Today, I decided to finish the dress and try it without a belt.

In my next iteration of this dress, I won’t “slope” the neckline so much.  I’ll just drop the jewel neckline straight down 4.5″ for an extremely elongated oval.  I believe my sloper/block needs a little tweaking in the bust area.  Other than that, I’m happy with the draft.

This dress hits my criteria for casual summer dresses:

  • Simple, with a little design interest
  • Machine Washable
  • “Ease-y”- not closely fitted (especially under the arms), to allow optimal air circulation
  • Breathable fabric- the breeze passes straight through this cotton/rayon slub-crepe
  • Comfortable
  • Lined skirt for opacity

I couldn’t pinpoint the texture of this fabric when I first started working with it, but now I know- lightweight terry or toweling, almost like a spa wrap.  It’s not obnoxious (especially for free fabric), but firmly casual.  In keeping with the casual vibe, I’ll wear it with pretty, bright colored flats.  I don’t think a belt is necessary.

What’s that stuck to my hem?

My iron died.  Its last act was to belch rusty water all over the kickpleat during my final press.  BLAST.  Then the iron overheated and ruined my teflon shoe. (Or so I thought.  I took it outside to rid the house of electrical fire stink and once it cooled, the shoe looked fine.  Weird.)  Way to take the wind out of my sails, Iron.

I’m not sure what to do about this.  A cursory google search leads me to believe I probably won’t get the rust out.  I hate to give up on this dress, it’s insanely comfortable and I know I’ll reach for it constantly this summer if I can fix it.  Ideas??

At least I used some pretty guipure lace on the lining.  I think the heavy lace helps shape the skirt.

Now I can focus on knocking out a few of the simpler pieces from the Summer 2012 Wardrobe, (I could use some simple woven shells) or perhaps work through a stack of Husband t-shirts.  I can’t work on my Robin Suit or red linen pants or playing with summer tailoring ideas until they deliver my roll of silk organza…


  1. Thanks. :) If I can’t, or it will be an effort, I’ll cut it off or something…

    Sometimes I feel like my garments are constantly evolving- as I wear and ruin them, they become another garment. This dress is just on the fast track…

  2. Hello Miss Steph

    gorgeous recreation – clever chicky you are.

    sorry the the mark on the clothes – that is a screaming moment.

    I have an expensive sunbeam iron and I also purchased recently a $15 coles brand iron. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the sunbeam iron has but for $15 I was very surprised and happy.

    take care and see you again soon with some other lovely post of yours

    x Loulou

    • I hear that… Regardless of how much I spend on the model, I cycle through irons every 8-10 months. Might try the $15 one, thanks for the tip!

  3. Stain-removal guru Shannon Lush offers this advice for removing rust stains from a silk top. 

    “Sprinkle a little mountain of non-iodised salt over each spot. Over each mountain, put some drops of fresh lemon juice over the salt so that it is moistened. Leave it in the sunshine. It will leave the rust stains out.”

    Maybe it’ll work on a cotton/rayon blend. I wish you luck.

      • Well, looking at it from a chemistry point of view, it could work. The lemon juice should theoretically be acidic enough to dissolve the iron, and the salt could act as a receptor for the iron ions, and possibly assist with dissolution. Not sure what it’d do to the fabric, though. And there’s the risk that it could just spread the stain around. Maybe experiment on some scraps first?

        Alright, I’m done being a geeky geochemist. :D

        I’m really sorry to see what happened to the dress, because it’s absolutely gorgeous! Look super good on you, and despite the details and shape, looks really casual and comfortable. I really love how the functional buttons on the shoulders turned out, and the kick-pleat on the back looks really great (besides the stain, of course). If you ever get around to making a pattern out of this, I’ll be first on the list to purchase it!

  4. Love the dress Steph but no love to the iron. I think it looks nice without the belt, and I love the bright flats. My best success has been with Sunbeam irons at home – I usually get a good five years from them, however don’t buy the model with the Teflon shoe – we have found these leak and drip at school. Our Breville has held up to all of the students at school, but is awfully dirty. Such a shame about that mark, after all of that effort to draft and make your lovely summer dress. I like the softer slope of your neckline and the sleeves and buttons are great!

  5. LOVE your dress! the bodice fits fantastically and I just adore the buttons on the shoulders! Fooey about the iron–what a grumpy thing! grrr….hope it can come out somehow! I wonder if a dye might work?

  6. I recently went to a workshop where we were trying to rust dye fabric and we used acid (vinegar) to activate so definitely keep clear of acid when you’re trying to get it out. Maybe something like milk would help (that’s just off the top of my head so Google it first!).

    If you can’t get the rust out then you could rust dye the hole dress if you’re into an ‘arty’ look. Or you could applique some trim over the rust and all along the hem of the dress. It wouldn’t give quite the look that you were looking for but it could save the dress for future use.

  7. That is infuriating! Your dress looks amazing. You did such a gorgeous job on it. How dare the iron have such impudence! Seriously, we live in a hard water area and have similar problems with irons. We now just buy cheap ones since they always break after 2 years anyway.

  8. It’s LOVELY! I like the shape of the neckline as is, but I can see it’s quite different from the inspiration.

    What a tragedy with the iron! At least when mine died last year it had the good grace to just not warm up one day. I would try to get as much of the stain out as possible and then re-hem (maybe using a hem facing so you only need 1cm or so turned under) a little shorter so the worst part of the stain is gone.

    I should probably give my iron a vinegar bath… we don’t have issues with rust but we do seem to have a lot of calcium in the water around here…

    • Thanks… I think the neckline is not as “dramatic” as it could be but I definitely don’t mind it.

      I think calcium is the root of my problem, I know I should use distilled water, and the rust stain is probably my own fault.

      Let my woes be a warning! Vinegar bathe your iron! (Then post about it so I know what you mean by vinegar bath…)

  9. Your version is just lovely. The neckline is more appropriate for cooling although I still really like the dressier neckline of the inspiration dress too. I’ll add my wishes that you get that stain out. As far as the whole teflon shape shifting thing …. that kind of science scares me LOL!

    • It stank so weirdly, I hope we don’t end up with some kind of brain damage…

      Good to “see” you again! I was just starting to do my daily oatmeal mask regime again and was thinking of you.

      • Brain damage or some sort of lung issue. Bleck.

        I have managed to stay off antibiotics for 6 months now but… I had to go off dairy (it took 3 months to see a real improvement) and on my chin I use a mix of grapeseed oil and castor oil that I let sit for 15 minutes 1 to 3 times a day depending on the time of month. This had really calmed down my skin and now any pimple I get is just that, a hormonal pimple. That is until 4 days ago. It all started coming back again and then I realized that the new fresh bread I was buying from the organic meat store has milk in it. I think the all the dairy I was eating was making me acidic. It is funny, acne was the only symptom of a dairy sensitivity that I had.

  10. Love it! Ideas re rust: make it a little shorter so the marks are in the turn up. Or, applique a corner triangle piece over each, to create a little angular detail interest. :)

  11. My first thought was that I liked your neckline better than the original, I also like the fit better on you than on Kate. I marvel at your skill.

  12. Hi–I read your blog faithfully, but rarely (if ever) comment–think of me as a silent admirer. However, finally, you ask a question for which I have an answer! A product called Super Iron Out will definitely do the trick to remove the rust stain; I’ve never used it on anything as nice as your dress, but when my hard water is especially rusty (happens maybe once a year), this removes the rust stains from our whites; take a look at No connection to the company other than being a satisfied customer. Good luck; it’s a lovely dress.

    • Wow, thank you so much for commenting, I’ll have to check that out. (I like comments… they keep my sewing mojo going when nothing else does…:))

  13. I have no help on the rust stain. Although, I frequently (and shamelessly) wear things with paint stains on them. I figure it’s pointless to try and fight it. I absolutely love the buttons at the shoulder. And the photo where you’re looking over your shoulder is a gorgeous photo of you, btw!

  14. Those sleeves are a pretty summer length. This is lovely on you and so perfectly compliments your skin. (Love the lipstick color.) That teflon warping is really creepy! I can relate to the disaster, though–my previous iron gave out spitting on a silk and really ruined it… but I’ve had to give up on pristine projects and carry on stains and all. What is it with white and disaster? I made three white garments this year and they all got coffee and little blood stains. (Pins.)

    • (It’s my “I don’t feel like red today” lipstick.) All my pale sewing lately gets blood or something on it. As long as it comes out, or I can re-fashion, I’m not too worried…

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  16. Such a pretty dress, I love it. You have me thinking about my iron now. I think I’ve had it 9 years, at least 7 because I remember using it in our previous home. Maybe it should get a little preventative maintence/TLC…

  17. Gorgeous dress, so sorry about the rust stains. Scorch marks can be a tricky thing to remove. For removing set-in rust stains, Sandra Betzina recommends making a solution of distilled water, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt. I haven’t tried it, so I would experiment on a few scraps first. I mean, why add insult to injury?

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  19. Mrs C and I clearly spend to much time together, because my suggestion was also going to be to applique something to cover the stain!

    I’ll second (third? forth?) the recommendation for sunbeam irons. I bought the cheapest one 5 and a half years ago, and it has worked brilliantly for all that time, and so many of my sewing friends have comment on how good it is. It finally needs to be replaced, after daily use for 5 years, not because it is wearing out but because Felicity knocked it off the ironing board and it broke :-( It’s still going with a bit of duct tape while I wait to find a replacement as good!

    • I bought a Sunbeam today, Very cheaply. We’ll see how long it lasts, but it seems like a sturdy little iron.

      I have totally done the whole duct-tape-the-iron-together-and-keep-sewing thing.

  20. For someone such as yourself who does a LOT of home sewing, I’d like to suggest a gravity-feed steam iron like the ones they (or, “we”, since this is my job) use in tailor shops and theatre costume departments. A common brand is Silver Star, and they are very high quality. I was lucky enough to get my coworker’s old one for free. She’d been using it a good twenty years before getting a new one, and I’ve been using it for a year myself. It shows no signs of slowing down. Here in Canada, they run about $250 to $300 new, not sure how that translates into Australian dollars, but the cost is relatively low considering the iron bang you get for your buck. And, you could probably track down a used one in your area.

    You get a much more powerful steam blast with these guys, and the resulting press is deeply, deeply satisfying. Also, they take distilled water (a bit of effort to keep that in stock around the house, but again, for the amount of sewing you seem to do, well worth it)–so, no more risk of rust stains, or minerals of any kind, really.

    • Thanks for all the advice! I’ll add it to the list of equipment I can have when I have my own studio/workspace. I just don’t have the room for anything “heavy duty.” Or an embellisher. Or a weaving loom. Or a spinning wheel…. Or a quilting frame… Sigh.

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