Sunday, June 10, 2012

This + that = THIS

In December of last year, I made a scarf for my MIL for Christmas using tencel in deflected double weave using this pattern:Weaving Today - Deflected Doubleweave. I used a soft periwinkle and black. It was lovely and she really liked it. I neglected to take a photo :( HOWEVER: there was a ton of warp left on the beam and DS's GF's birthday was in January, so I decided to make a scarf for her as well. I wanted to do something different with the same warp so started experimenting. I finally settled on a novelty yarn, a variegated pastel rayon with little bits of ribbon twisted into the yarn at regular intervals. She didn't mind waiting and I feel lucky for that!

Here is the result:

Note that the pattern is different on both sides of the scarf. This is a characteristic of the deflected double weave structure. The ribbon in the novelty yarn gives it a slightly chenilled look.


60" long with fringe. The tencel warp does shrink, compressing all of the black and periwinkle for a very nice effect.

Warp is Tencel 8/2 in periwinkle and black from Kansas Yarn Barn. This was incredibly nice to work with.

Weft is a novelty yarn picked up on a close out. I think it's rayon from the burn test but the label in the cone says "stretch nylon", which I know is not right. If you enlarge the top photo, you can see a bit of the yarn draped over the scarf and a bit of it wound on the bobbin. I also have this in a burgundy, pink/blue and green colorway. This is the danger of buying on-line at closeouts... You find something you really like but don't know a thing about it!

Ends and Set: I can't tell you this because I started it in December and my notes are in the wind :) BUT, if you follow the pattern linked above, you can get the same results! I treated the 8/2 like 10/2 and had no problems at all.

Next up are towels in red and green to try out the new loom. Did I not mention that? In the excitement of wedding preparations, I had the chance to pick up a barely used Louet Spring for a more than reasonable price. You can see her in the wedding dress post, sitting on the wool rug just BEGGING to be warped! She is a countermarche loom, different from my Baby Wolf jack and this will be a good project to get familiar with her workings. Once those are done, I plan on figuring out what I want to do in the way of weaving yardage for a vest. She will weave 44" wide, so will produce yardage that is easier to adapt to garment sewing.

I haven't mentioned my new job either! I start as a project manager on July 13. This is a big move and I am really looking forward to the challenge.

So... New SIL, new loom, new job. It just keeps getting better!


And here is the Happy Couple!

I love this picture.  The wedding was held at a City Park facility and right next door is the Arboretum. This is the photo the bridesmaids and DD headed there pre-ceremony for photos. Isn't she adorable? Note her flats... She graduated on 5/6 and wore her red heels that were meant for the wedding. Verdict? They killed her feet and she was going to put comfort over everthing else on this important day. Hence the flat. They were quite adorable, too.

The bridesmaid holding her dress is Molly. Molly was amazing. She did Beth's hair (the blonde) and made all of the bouquets.  Beth is DD's best friend from 2nd grade. She met Molly in college. The ultra-thin brunette is the groom's sister, Alyse. They were all just delightful.

The bridesmaids and the bride...
The groomsmen and the groom (center... the somber one)
And the bridal party. Looks a bit off balance with 3 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen, but that's what they wanted. They are an uncoventional group :)

The bridesmaids dresses are from Modcloth. They all loved them and will definately wear them again! I should also mention that all the photographs were done by 2 friends of the bride and groom. They are not proffessionals but they did an awesome job!

The ceremony was performed by a friend. He was absolutely fabulous.

Their first dance as husband and wife.

And thier formal picture.

It was a grand day! I'll share more as she feeds me more pictures.

The Wedding Dress Wrap Up

Beautiful Weather, Beautiful Bride, Handsome Groom and we are now +1 in our family.

Next post will be about the wedding day, today will focus on the dress.

I'd like to start out by saying what an honor it was that my dear DD trusted me to make this dress. That said, I was clearly in over my head more than once. Making a dress for an occassion this important should be a well thought out decision. Mine was made with my gut.

What made this so difficult?
  • My fitting skills are rusty
  • The Bride lives 300 miles away and fittings were spread too far apart
  • There are parts of the inspiration dress that I didn't even notice until it was too late to make changes
  • The lace was a NIGHTMARE to work with. The manufacturer couldn't possibly believe that this would be used in a garment that would be worked with or worn anywhere outside a clean room with no rough or sharp surfaces. ANYWHERE.
  • The Bride made some last minute decisions about foundation. This changed the already tenuous fit of the dress. Everything had been stitched up solid at that point and there was no going back but no changing her mind either.
I say all of this and think over and over again what I could have done to make a "better dress". With one sentence from my daughter, I gave all of that up. What could she say that put all of this into perspective for me? "Mom! I got the pictures and the best part is that everything was just as beautiful as I remember it!"

The lesson here is that perfect is not my perception of a stitch or a wrinkle, a shadow or a gap. Perfect is the sunny day, the love of two people pledging their love, the laughter, the friends, the smiles and the recorded proof in photographic form. "Everything was just a beautiful as I remember it."

I've recorded a lot of what went into this dress on previous posts. When I last left off, I had most of the pieces fabricated and I just needed to put it all together (Progress Pics). The next post was in March, when I had a day to refine the fit and added a bit to the sides seams. In late April, I drove to Pullman for another fitting. She'd lost weight and it was now too large, back home, take a bit off, and then to final assembly.

For review, I used New Look 6401 and David's Bridal T9612 as jumping off points. There were quite a few pattern modifications required to get there. Here are the notes I kept.

Required Alterations:

Skirt, lace and satin:

Front should be cut as one piece, use side seams from pattern, create darts where side seams appear on pattern. All front shaping should be done in this manner.

At low hip, insert Godet/gore.  Cut at least full width.

Back should be cut similar to pattern, but with piece cut straight down side after low hip to accommodate gore.  Piece 7 should also be cut straight at center back. Insert gore at center back just below zipper.

Train will need to be lengthened and shaped with center gore and both back pieces.  Lace train should extend approximately 2 inches beyond satin @ train.

Bodice, lace overlay:

Redraw bodice to create crossover @ center front.

consider joining pieces 1 and 2 at shoulder.

Bodice , satin:

Redraft as princess seam cup. Cup should end at approx equal distance between shoulder and armpit top. Back typical to original piece less strap.

The lace is a Ivory corded floral rayon, 60" wide purchased from Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle.
The lace trim is Ivory Bridal Veil Trim purchased from Pacific Fabrics in Seattle
The crepe back satin is Champagne colored, purchased at Joanns.
Interlining and lining are silk broadcloth, purchased when the bride was 10 with the intent of making her a gown some day. I am seriously deranged...

All the beads were purchased at Fusion Beads in Seattle. They were terrific to work with!

Here's what things looked like in the first week of May:
The bodice and skirt have been joined and I am "auditioning" the beaded band that will applied to the waist.
This is a close up. The band was made by placing a strip of organza on top of the crepe backed satin dress fabric. I beaded the band down the center of this strip. Once all of the beaading was done, I cut the satin back to the width of the beaded band, trimmed and folded the organza to the backside and slip stitched that in place. The beads were fresh water pearls and 4 different sizes and colors of seed beads. I really liked doing this until I was about half way through. It got a bit tedious about then :)

This is the view from the side before hemming or the application of the beaded band.
And here is the back... Notice my two looms sitting patiently? They were sorely neglected for months!
By the second week of May, I had sewn in the lining. I used the technique in Susan Khalje's bridal book and it was SO much easier than I thought it would be! No fear of the lining poking out using this method!

The beaded band has been stitched to fron and back. The extension on the back was attached to the other side over the zipper with a hook and eye.
This was stitched to the lining in the center back gore.

And here is the hem with everything stitched into place. This is a post wedding shot, it had been walked on and dragged a bit at this point.
I finished the dress a week before the wedding. The hem was the last thing I had to do. I used the same trim that I used for the bodice to trim the lace. The trim caught on the rayon lace something fierce, and that was hard to deal with.

In all cases where the trim is applied, I used a fusible tape on the back of the trim, then fusing to the rayon. I went back and hand stitched everything, but getting it in place this way kept the yards of trim from snagging the rayon while I was working with it. Note of caution, use the lowest heat possible to activate the fusible. The "pearls" on the trim melted on my trial piece. Testing is really IMPORTANT.

So that's the dress!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Incremental Fitting Phase 1 Complete...

The DD was over for a bit yesterday with the soon to be MIL and SIL. We did a fitting on the dress and I do need to add about 1/4" to each side seam and tweek the bodice lace. But not much. She'll be back tomorrow afternoon for a recheck of the skirt and we'll get the final mods for the bodice done then. Soon to be MIL thought the bodice needed more beading, the rest of the posse agreed so I will have to get on that NOW.
Then my irritation set in... The soon to be MIL, SIL and DD were leaving to go look for a dress for MIL to wear to the bridal shower next Saturday. Um DRESS? Seriously? I own ONE dress friends and that's going to be worn to the wedding.
UGH. I had already planned on bra shopping, which is a depressing event on its own, and decided I'd look for a dress as well. Oy. I can't part with my hard earned cash for a dress I'll wear ONCE. Everything I tried on, with the exception of one dress at Ann Taylor, which came with a matching price tag, screamed "wear me once and toss my aside". And I couldn't squeeze the $70.00 out of my wallet for the AT so it went back on the rack.
I want to fit in. I always have. But my practical nature has a way of blindsiding me whenever I get just.this.close to crossing that line. Boo. I'm trudging through the crowd at the mall and decide to make one last stop. There's an cute short sleeved cardigan. I might like that... And then I remember I actually sort of own *2* dresses! One is in DD's closet, given to her after I wore it to a wedding 2 years ago. I bought it at Costco for $19.99. I could wear it with this cardigan! Which I can wear again to work! $24.99 and I'm out the door a happy woman.
I hope I can find my shoes. I own 1 pair of dress shoes. Classic black pumps with a low heel. I haven't worn them since the Symphony dinner 2 years ago... :-) This, my friends, is why I don't quite fit in. But I am okay with that again with this crisis averted.
Off to stitch, pictures soon I hope!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Progress Pics

I'm about as far as I can go without a body to put the dress on... I stopped short of the zipper and basting the bodice onto the skirt. I'd decided I'd really like to have her IN the dress to make sure I run the zipper as far "south" as it needs to go. As for the basting of the bodice to the skirt? I'd just have to take it out so... pictures are pin heavy and the lace seams have not been trimmed back. I don't want to do that until she has tried it on and we are happy with the fit.

I'll be working on beading the bodice for next few days (remember I ditched the first bodice when I tried to remove the first, unsuitable trim) and then back to the waist beading. And then I'll be sitting here waiting for her to come home and try it on.

The wedding is in May, which means I am WELL ahead of schedule, a first in my entire life. She's home on March 10th and we will finalize fitting, I put the permanent side seams in, line the bodice and skirt, hem and be done! I am happy with how it is all coming together.



Today's Hit List:

Yikes! I am looking out the window and it is SNOWING. It won't stick but it's just annoying to look at. It's almost MARCH, Mother Nature!

I'm not too motivated today for some reason so I figure it's necessary to write up my list of must do's for the day.

  1. Stitch the last of the seams in the satin and press all but the seams that will be adjusted in the final fitting.
  2. Stitch the last of the seams in the lace with the above exception and remove all of the thread tracing.
  3. Attach lace skirt to satin at back and baste in the zipper.
  4. Baste the bodice to the skirt, check the fit and take pictures.
  5. Remove the basting and work on the bodice beading.
This evening I'll work on the beading for the skirt seam. I'm about 1/4 complete with that now.

All I have left for fitting on the bodice is the lace overlay. I want to make sure I put the gathers in the right place, that the surplice is positioned right, armscye gap is corrected and the trim will be placed correctly. I won't do the side seams on that until all of those fitting areas are checked and corrected as required. At this point, it's all aesthetic checks.

Off now to start a load of laundry and head in to the workroom!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Close enough to see the Finishing Line!

Who knew how little I'd have to show for 2 full days in the sewing room! All of the satin and the interlining is cut out. Each interlining has been dutifully hand stitched to it's owner. Front is darted. All of the seams are in except the center back and gore and one 2 of the panel seams. WHEW!!!

What this means is that I have about 4 seams left to do in the satin skirt. I'm leaving the side seams just basted for alterations sake. I think there are only 4 lace seams left to go. Isn't it funny that I'm not keeping track?!

I won't be doing anything until the weekend again. It's too hard to come home after work and then try and regroup for a few minutes of stitching. Heck, my iron is barelly heated up in 20 minutes and I am slower than my iron. That is a fact. :)

I have never been so glad to be done with a outlining and marking anything in my entire life. Seriously. It took me about an hour after geting all of the prep work done to sew the darts, side seams, gores etc. One hour. If this had been a traditional pattern out of the envelope with 5/8" seam allowances, I'd be done!

This is definately a labor of love. I am so fortunate, so blessed to be able to gift this to my daughter. She is the jewel of my heart. This union between her and the DBF is a triumph over cancer: over the blow it dealt them and of the grace and maturity with which they fought back. Every stitch to cloth is a celebration of adding him to our family.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Starting to look like a dress!!!

at last...

This is pinned onto Elsa at the waist and there are some pins in the lace, but every piece is cut out and ready to assemble. At least for the lace overlay.

Every piece had to be thread traced. I used royal blue silk thread to do that because quite frankly, I couldn't see the lighter colors I had on hand and it had to be silk so I could easily remove it. Or at least SEE it to remove it.

Thread tracing, btw, is a PIA. I fully understand the value and am so, so, so glad I know that this is how it is supposed to be done but my neck and shoulders are shot from 2 full days doing this.

The bodice has been redone. I need 6 more yards of trim, but sincerely... I will sleep like a baby tonight knowing that the new trim is perfect.  No glue. Okay, there's some fusible tape. I used that to help with placement and it went pretty quickly using that method. Overall, I'm quite happy. I'll be adding some of the same beads I'll be stitching to the bodice to the trim just to maintain continuity.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some things are not allowed...

You know how it is when you are motoring along and you have convinced yourself that the transmission really doesn't sound funny and that crack across the windshield is not obscuring your vision? I'm like that. Think about something else, pedal to the metal and DO.NOT.THINK.ABOUT.IT.

Until the transmission is straddling the centerline and you have to stick your head out the window to see ahead of you. Then think about it.

That's where I'm at now. Thinking about it now. I have been redrafting the entire wedding gown skirt because it just didn't seem right. I was pretty sure I was ignoring it quite well until Saturday when it became painfully obvious that the grainlines were way off in the lower skirt and absent adjustment, it was going to come back and haunt me, not to mention the Bride. Add to that, I have spent weeks obsessing over the glue on the lace.

I drove to Seattle last week after work (on a Friday, which is suicide) and FOUND A PERFECT MATCH! So I have a good trim now. But can I get the old trim off of the existing bodice? No. I cut into it. And now I have to make a new one.

I am thinking of this as the practice run. Now I can go into real time. And this time, how about think about it and act on it instead of hoping it goes away.  Doesn't work in life, doesn't work in sewing.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trim for the Bride

Today has been filled with little tasks, like cleaning up trimming, handbasting the gathers in the bodice and making adjustments according to her last fitting, and making final decisions about the trim that will be applied to the bodice/skirt seam.

I have an "inspiration" picture somewhere, but I can't find it. No wonder since I work off of 2 laptops and have not been disciplined about putting my work on the home server. That's where it is supposed to be and YES, I have been lectured, lectured and lectured. Maybe NOW I'll listen...

However... I stitched this up and sent a pic to The Bride:

She approved! This is being stitched on a layer of the satin topped by organza. The blue washout pen will come right out (I tested) with water. When it's all stitched up, I'll trim and fold back the fabric, creating a beaded band, which will be hand stitched to the seam after the skirt is joined to the bodice.

This will be a good project for sitting in the evenings after work. It's all set up and ready to follow me upstairs:

I have never beaded like this before and was a little bit intimidated, but it is much easier than I thought.

I still HAVE NOT CUT OUT THE SKIRT!!! But will. Next weekend :)  I have, however, taken the muslin apart and have created the pattern pieces. So that's progress. Who knows. I'm feeling a bit guilty just typing this! I have an hour before I have to go upstairs... Anything can happen in an hour, right?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beading :)

No pictures today BUT... I am happy to report that the bodice is beaded and I have started on the band that will be attached to the bodice/skirt seam. I am pretty happy with the design of the waist band and can't wait to get enough completed so I can send a picture to DD for approval. I KNOW she will like it.

....And it's still FUN!


Friday, January 20, 2012

...and then the rain came...

Yesterday looked like this:

But per established procedures in the Beautiful Pacific Northwest, any major snow storm is followed by the rainy thaw. That is where we are at now. Two feet of snow as measured yesterday is now being compacted and melted down by a slow and steady rain and skyrocketing tempuratures.

We suffered very little compared to many people:

1) the loss of my beloved 15' lilac bush, a gift that was planted on my first Mother's Day in this house to replace the one we had to leave behind. She is now laying on her side in the pitiful rain. I will miss her deep purple double blooms and the many bouquets she shared over the past 18 years.

2) my 3' daphne. She uprooted in the wind early in the winter and the neighbor helped wrestle her into a sturdy pot. But she was too weighed down by the snow and is currently straining to keep a little upright. It does not look good. I will miss her heady fragrance early spring thru hot summer days.

3)... and this is the worst. The deer are no longer welcome in the yard. They took after our newly aquired pyramidalis hedge, nearly stripping 3 different trees in various places. The tree on the right side is severely damaged from about 1 ft up from the ground. Another is stripped behind, between the fence and the hedge.

I have always enjoyed the sanctuary our land gave them, never cared if they ate my roses or stripped the Hibiscus Syriacus right to the trunk. But these I care about. The hedge was brought in as 6ft mature trees to try and regain some of the privacy lost when the acreage next to ours was developed. So we are looking for ways to protect the trees and right now, that means chasing the deer off. This, of all things, is the thing that is hardest to bear. We'll look for a way to accomodate them, perhaps by erecting more fencing. But there is nothing that makes me feel more grateful, more at peace, than watching them bed down at night in the north lawn, or meandering through the yard to the next property, their ears erect, twitching, ever watchful. Their wild beauty and the opportunity to see it on any given day, is a gift.

Four days working from home are behind me, a two day week end is ahead. Wedding dress bodice beading is underway, if the basement stays dry, the satin skirt and train will be ready by Monday.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Winter makes a visit...

No sewing to post because I had a SNOW day and worked from home. Oddly enough, when my commute is down the hall in my robe, I end up working longer days. Hmmmm. Tomorrow will be another one as I can't get out of my drive. It's a steep hill, turning on to another steep hill. Temps are supposed to warm up on Thursday, but until then, it's home office time!

Beading on the dress bodice continues. I started out with what she wanted but I didn't feel it was enough so I am adding more. She will like it or she won't, but I' guessing she will.

Here's a pic of DS shoveling his way out his attempt to get out of the drive this morning. Did not go well. Goes to show, it's NOT the size of the truck, it's knowing how to use it :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to Business pt 2

Family got in the way today BUT... I did make some great progress on the bodice.

This is the inside of the bodice. It was going to have underwires but she really didn't like that. I was going to take the channels out, but when I removed the underwire and she tried it on, it didn't bother her so I decided to leave it in. All seams have been catch-stitched down and it's just waiting for the lining.

This is the satin bodice with the lace overlay. Everything looks pretty wonky on Elsa because she is not a perky 22 year old... Fits beautifully on the bride :)

And here is the back. Again, all the wonk is the result of Elsa's 53 year old "body".

With all of this completed, I will start the beading on the bodice. She doesn't want as much as we started out thinking we'd apply, so it will go slow, but not as slow as it could!

While I had the camera out, I thought I'd take a shot of what's on the loom:

This is a deflected double weave. The warp is black and purple tencel. the weft is the same black tencel and a varigated rayon novelty yarn seen in the shuttle at the bottom of the picture. This is the same warp I made my MIL's scarf out of for Christmas but I used the purple and black tencel for the weft as well. When I washed it, it created a wonderfully drapey scarf so I am very excited to see what this will look like after it is wet finished.
That's it for now!


Back to Business.

I'm terrible about Christmas. I sucks the life right out of me. I bake for family and friends, weave for closer family and friends and that's about it. I HATE TO SHOP. If I didn't have a husband who loved to shop on- line, that would be it. You'd get a cake and a dishtowel unless I really like you. Then you'd get a scarf :)  Due to DH's efforts, DD, her fiance, the son, DH and I had a lovely Christmas morning, progressing to brunch with my delightful MIL and FIL. We rang in the New Year, DD and DSoon-to-be-SIL headed back to school and DS and I went back to work. The End.

Today I packed Christmas away in the designated boxes and am back to business.

I made GREAT progress on DD's wedding gown over the Christmas break. All fitting is complete, the satin bodice is complete less some catch stitching and the lining, the lace bodice overlay is complete less some trimming of the lace applique. Today's task is to complete all of the little bits on the bodice and to cut out the satin skirt and piece it.

The most important part of our fitting sessions was to test out the gore placement and fullness on the skirt as well as devise where I'd "stop" stitching to allow for any weight loss or gain. Seriously. This makes me crazy. But I know it has to be done and 1 week before the wedding, I will put the final stitches in and it will be fine.

The biggest challenge so far has been the lace. I really wanted to spring for nice lace. She didn't like anything I showed her. We don't have a big selection in the greater Seattle area, but there was a good variety to choose from. The rayon lace that she chose (while I was fondling the Chantilly lace) is lovely and far less than I had planned to spend. The drape is perfect. The border is a nightmare.

The dress style demands a lace that you can applique the border for the neck, back and armscye trim. This has a border. Did I tell you it's a nightmare already? I'll probably say it several more times.

I cut a bit off for experimentation. The minute my scissors trimmed it free, the fraying started. Fraying isn't quite the right word. Disintegration describes it much better. Several "trucker" words later, I calmed down enough to take a closer look. There's a cord bordering the motif. Cutting the border loose also cuts the cord loose. The fill on the border pattern is done with something like wooly nylon. Any pulling or tension put on the border after cutting it free resulted in a "bloom" effect. Lovely in a garden. Not so welcome on a WEDDING DRESS.

I am through menopause (TMI). I don't have hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings. Yet I experienced this cocktail of physical events for a full five minutes. Or ten.

I've tried several things to tame this nightmare of mess. First I spent a good three weeks looking for a complementary trim I could use instead of the border. Nada, much to my dismay.

I finally settled on... and I can't believe this is really the best solution emotionally... glue. AWK. But it's working. I'm using Fray Block. I transferred it to a bottle with an ultra fine application tip so I am using the bare minimum. It definately changes the hand of the lace, but it controls it and for this application, I really don't know what else to try (this was the best out of the 8 or so things I tried). 

Yes dear, mother is using as many couture techniques as she can. And glue. Lots of glue.

So that's it for now! Pictures later!