I was invited to a "black tie" wedding this summer, so I was thinking
of making myself a dress, using this pattern:
(McCall's 5100), View B.
The recommended fabrics are: Crepe Back Satin =B7 Soft Faille =B7 Matte
I had several questions:
For Crepe Back Satin, does the "right side" look like crepe, or like
satin? Or neither? How stretchy is it?
Would I be able to substitute Crepe back silk instead? Or regular
I know that those two I ask about don't have as much stretch as matte
jersey, so my guess would be no, but I have no idea of how stretchy
the first two listed fabric options are.
Lastly, any comments on the appropriateness for a wedding listed as
black tie? This would be my first such event; I don't wish to look
like a schlub, but I don't want to look like a bridesmaid or a
teenaged prom attendee, either.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
I will give you my best answers, but will remind you that ultimately what
you choose to make the dress from is up to you. ;) Whatever You think will
work best, will work best. ;)
You can actually use either side. I have done this before with a few
dresses for various weddings. Usually what we ended up doing was satin
side for the bodice and crepe side for the skirt. Usually this fabric has
No stretch whatsoever.
OK. Here's where you have your terms a little mixed up. Crepe backed satin
is the type of weave of the fabric. CBS can be made from different fibers.
It can be made from silk which is a natural fiber and breathes well. Or it
can be made from polyesters. The poly kind is what you will find in most
of the chain fabric stores, and most of the online shops too. Unless it is
marked specifically as silk, assume it is polyester. But remember crepe
backed satin just means it is a crepe weave on one side and a satin finish
on the other. The pattern is telling you the type of weave, weight, and
hand fabric you need.
You can certainly use silk for this dress. I would suggest you look at
and you might also look at
crepe de chine is a crepe weave all by itself, that would work if you get a
heavier weight (look at the mm number, bigger the number, heavier the
silk.) Silk charmeuse is a lightweight satin weave, that would also work
very well, it will need to be lined though. You do NOT want silk noil,
shantung, or dupioni for this dress. Noil is a rough weave, also called raw
silk. Shantung and dupioni (dupioni is usually the heavier of the two) are
both great for very tailored things. But both weaves have no drape to them
at all. And habotai or China silk would be lovely for the lining. (both
those terms refer to the same fabric.)
Neither of the first two is a stretch fabric.
I think it would be fine. Just stay away from super shiny satins. I would
go with something fairly subdued. Pick a color and a fabric that you think
you will wear over and over. That's the real trick to making things like
this. It's worth making it out of more expensive fabrics if you choose
something that you will be able to use more than once. If it's a one shot
deal, and you know you will never wear the dress again, go for as
inexpensive as possible.
I won't comment on fabric types, there are others here who are far more
knowledgeable than me. :-)
If I might be permitted to add the male perspective -
I'd agree whole-heartedly with Sharon's comment about going for something
subdued - gentle pastel colours are always favourites for weddings.
You haven't said what time of year, if it's going to be warm or cooler
If you have one, or can borrow one, a lightweight crochet silk shawl would
look very effective with the simple but elegant lines of the dress. You csn
always reveal or conceal as much shoulder as you think fit. 
Keep your jewellery simple and classic as well, definitely no 'bling' -
this really is a case where less is more, IYSWIM.
 That just triggered a memory from quite a few years ago, out for
Christmas Day lunch at a local restaurant. Everybody quite smartly dressed,
including one woman, unknown to me I should add, who was wearing a trouser
suit with a gold very open weave 'string vest' top. Nothing under it, just
the string vest top. True, she did have a deep tan, but..... Not a pretty
or appropriate sight for Christmas Day. There are times when common sense