Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Wedding Dress pt 3 or "Who Me? Patient?"

It is another blazing hot day (high 80's, laugh all you want, that is BLAZING to me) here in the beautiful Pacific NW and I am spending it in the cool of the basement stitching away.

I have all the muslin pieces cut out and have basted the skirt together. One of the main alterations to the skirt, combining the center front and side pieces to make one skirt front with shaped darts, went well. The bodice is all cut out waiting to go together, but I, of course, don't have the patience to wait so here's what it looks like with the "muslin of the muslin" bodice pieces:
I have pinched out some excess in the back, but that may just be how it's fitting Elsa. My poor little dress form is not going to cut it for this project, at least not completely. This is DD's cover but there is NO WAY to raise the chest, at least not without out radically chopping away at her shoulders. I am not inclined to do that, so you will just have to believe me when I say this fits.

I'll work on the real bodice muslin next. I'll be stitching in underwires and using some plastic boning to get an idea of where it will need to go, as well as trying to determine where to draw in the lines for the bridal satin layer of the bodice and cut the pieces for the lace overlay bodice.

The plan was to mail this to her and have her approve, but I'm now thinking it would be best to wait until she's home at Thanksgiving to do this fitting. I think there might be tweaks required that she wouldn't recognize and I really only want to do this once.

As long as I have this part of the work completed and waiting for her, I don't think time is going to be an issue at all. Straightforward, easy construction techniques, only the hemming, beading and finishing the lace edges are going to require any real time.

Off to complete the rest of my tasks for the day, just very happy it's gone so well so far!


Friday, September 9, 2011

What I love today....

  1. My Delightful Daughter! She is 22 years old today and more, more, more than I could have ever hoped for in my girl child. I love you, Sarah!
  2. Connie Crawford's Pattern Making Made Easy. My drafting skills are about 30 years old when it comes to adult lines. I spent the day working on the muslin for above DD's gown and I decided to toss the bodice with the dart and turn it into a princess line. Worked like a charm. I've got A LOT of books, this is the one I go to for easy straightforward instructions.
  3. Richard The Thread. I ordered full size sheets of tracing paper Monday, on the porch today.
  4. Spiral Steel Boning. There will be enough metal in this dress to set off alarms all over the country. But her bust is going to OBEY in the wedding dress. It will have no choice :)
That's all for today! Bodice will be boned and ready to go in the mail Monday. If I get the thumbs up, the fashion fabric is UP!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Wedding Dress pt 2 - The plan

DD is wheeling her way back to school, but we got a great fitting in before she left.

Here is the inspiration dress:

Here is the base pattern we are using to recreate this look:

 And here are the fabrics:

The lace is shown over red for clarity. It's an ivory color and the bridal satin is champagne. Her colors are red, black and gold. I know that sounds odd, but she has this "look" in mind and assures me it won't look like a high school graduation.

The lace is rayon from Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle. When we went looking for lace, I tried to steer her towards Chantilly lace. Nancy's has some breathtaking laces. They are expensive, but I was prepared to plunk down a sizable sum. The only one she liked didn't have enough yardage and it wasn't reorderable. So we crossed the aisle to the special occassions fabrics to pick up the bolt of champagne bridal satin and she spotted this lace on a bolt. She nearly squealed, she was so excited. Myself? I was stunned. This was $18 a yard. I had been prepared to pay between $90 -  $150 a yard.

This should be pretty easy to work with except for one thing. The edge. This is NOT chantilly lace. I can't just trim the edge off and then use it to trim raw edges. I am going to have to use the flexible fray check along the entire selvage before I trim it off. I experimented with about  4 inches and this will work without being stiff. That is a load off of my mind.

There will be a few alterations required to make NL6401 look like the inspiration dress.

There will be a fitted bodice with spaghetti straps under the lace. I will have to add godets to the skirt to give it the "trumpet" effect. I've got a running list of the required alterations and tested them out by using what I thought was a pretty clever method.

First, I copied the line drawing of the pattern pieces from the instruction sheet. I blew them up about 600%. Then I applied what I thought needed to be done to these pieces, cut them out and stitched out a mock up. With a couple of changes, I got the thumbs up from the Pixie. She wanted less train and much to my surprise, wanted the cap sleeve eliminated.

Today, we fit the "underbodice". The only alteration required is a minor one: the front needs 5/8" more length. She is rather large busted, so I am taking special care to make sure this can be worn braless. I'll be inserting an underwire as well as boning in the side seams and the "v" in the front. I haven't used spiral steel boning in AGES, so I am happy for a chance to use these techniques again.

That's if for today! I'm off to mark the darts and add the length to the muslin and start the modified muslin construction, complete with boning and underwire. She'll be back at Thanksgiving for her next fitting and I'd like to have this and the skirt with godets ready for a fit check before cutting into the fashion fabric. The goal is to be ready for beading by Christmas break. If I finish early, I plan on making her going away dress. She'd like the same lace over red in a simple sheath. After the gown, that will be a SNAP!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Wedding Dress pt 1

This is going to be a multipart post with the finale on May 26, 2012. Hopefully,  I will not be putting the final stitch to the gown as the child glides down the aisle.

Here's the lowdown. My DD is adorable. She is not beautiful in the classical sense although she has the most beautiful dark hair, stunning eyes and full lips. She is a freckled Pixie and she will still look like a Pixie when she is 80. She mostly appreciates this, but Pixie is NOT what she is going for as she walks down the aisle next Spring.

She poured through Bridal magazines and websites, picking out the styles of dresses she wanted to look at. All were strapless. Most had volumes of skirt. When she was home last spring, we took a trip to David's Bridal so she could narrow her style choices down. She tried on dress after dress after dress. no. No. NO.

I could tell she was getting irritated and slightly depressed. She was not the girl in the magazine and the styles she had her heart set on were not going to work. I have to give credit to the saleswoman, though. She kept them coming. And then finally, out she stepped in the one style that had not found it's way into the pages of her bridal portfolio. And it is The One. And my Pixie looked totally glam.

Besides the hair..

And the "inappropriate pose" (her future MIL took this one while DD was explaining that she loved the beading).
This is the happy face we were waiting for!

THIS, friends and neighbors, is the dress. This dress retails for only $799. The materials would probably run around $200. The construction didn't thrill me. Still it's only going to be worn once, right?

I have always wanted to make her wedding gown, but only if she wanted me to. She does. And I'm going to.

She's home for the weekend and the muslining starts today. I am Terrifically Excited!

Next post:

Thanks for following the adventure with me!