Sunday, June 10, 2012

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!



Nancy said...

Just lovely. You were making one and I was taking one apart - at the owner's request - to turn it into three Christening outfits - a boy's romper, a gown and a coat. The romper is done. Now for the other two, hard to plan around the holes left by "pick-ups". You did a wonderful job.

wildchipmunk said...

This dress is simply exquisite. What a beautiful gift you've given your daughter.

Unknown said...

What type of lace did you use and what color was it? Also what color was the satin? It's a beautiful dress.