Upcoming Events

The latest updates and gatherings involving the Britex Community. Stay up to date and make sure to mark your calendars.


Information and tutorials for folks interested in antique Italian lacework, nouveau fashion, sewing techniques and much much more!

Satin Party Dress – How to Add Volume to a Skirt (MsJennyHomemaker)

September 13, 2016 by MsJennyHomeMaker 0 comments

Hello! I'm Jenny and I blog at Jenny Homemaker.  I'm so excited to join the team of talented Britex Fabrics guest bloggers and share my first project with you!

dress 1

Apparently, I decided to go all out for my first garment, but how could I not after spying Britex's beautiful selection of rayon blend satins?!  This "summer sky" in particular caught my eye immediately, as I'd sketched this dress (Simplicity 1873) in a similar color last year.  By the way, in case you’re curious if it really is as vibrant as the website shows, it is!  I've worked with a lot of light silks recently, but I had volume in mind for this particular dress, and this rayon/cotton satin gives that a bit of a head start.  For a party dress like this, I recommend starting with a fabric with a somewhat stiffer hand than your average satins.  This will give the pleats a great shape. Then, there are a few things you can do for even more "oomph".  Side note: you can use these tricks on softer fabrics as well, just be careful to choose the right weights for your fabric.

The first trick for volume, is to underline your satin with petticoat net.  This will add a bit of that petticoat shape, without having to wear an extra garment.  A huge plus for those of us who have hot summers.

To underline your satin, cut the net using the same pattern pieces as for your outer fabric.  Then, cut your outer fabric, marking all stitching lines (including pleats, darts, etc) and the fold line for your hem.  Pin the net layer to the wrong side of the satin and hand-baste the two layers together using cotton or silk thread, right along all of the traced lines.  Then, construct the garment as you normally would.  Bonus: if you like to hand-stitch your seam allowances in place, you can do so, stitching them only to the net and you don't have to worry about any stitches showing on the outside.


dress 3

Once your skirt is constructed, take a moment to appreciate that it can now stand on its own! To illustrate the difference, I underlined a scrap of the satin, and compared its standing abilities to a single-layer scrap. You can see which one won below ;)


dress 4
dress 5

dress 6

Now, you could stop there, but if you want to take it one step further, or if you prefer a soft, rolling hem, I recommend adding horsehair braid to the hem. While lightweight 1" braid is most common, this is the perfect time to experiment with different weights and widths. The right braid will add softness and fullness, without being obvious from the outside. For most of the fabrics I work with, I prefer a 3" braid in light or medium-weight. For this example, I'm using a medium-weight, but on my dress, I used light, which gave it a nice roll without completely rounding the skirt.

To attach the braid, pin the non-threaded edge ~3/8" into the hem allowance, on the right side of the fabric. Stitch in place 1/4" from the braid edge. Then, trim off the excess hem allowance and fold up along the hand-basted hemline. Pull on the loops on the free edge of the braid to ease it to the width of the skirt. Secure the hem by catch-stitching the braid to the net underlining only. This will give a clean finish on the right side, essential to unforgiving fabrics like satin.

dress 7

dress 8

dress 9

And there you go! A beautiful, voluminous skirt or dress, without the use of a petticoat! Feel free to twirl or swing away ;)

For more construction details, like how I underlined and boned the bodice, visit my blog next week!

Happy sewing! X


dress 2



Jenny Bio Pic


Jenny currently resides in Atlanta GA with her fiancé and dog and is a homemaker and slow fashion enthusiast. She has 6 years sewing experience and shares her journey on Jenny Homemaker. Sewing started as a way to fill some free time, but has completely changed how she views fashion and she is now working toward an entirely handmade, lasting wardrobe.