Monday 28 May 2012

Lace-up back - done!

I have some good news to report (and no, not just about how the sun has finally come out here in the last few days) - after a lot of drama and incidents, and needless to say, unpicking, the lace-up back of my wedding dress is finally completed!

What's more, this also means that the only thing left to do on the dress is the hem!

Incidents first? Well first of all I managed to stick a hand sewing needle through my thumb under my nail! Ouch! That was a week ago and it's still a bit bruised! Lesson learned - trying to attach the fabric covered corset cord to the dress by hand is not easy! After that I've been using a thimble. Much safer.

But hey, I soldiered on, after whinging about it for about half an hour...

Then last Friday, the most gross thing happened. I was happily reinforcing the loops by my machine, and there it was, this gigantic spider that was sat between the dupion and the lining layer, STILL ALIVE! Now I'm not a screamer but I almost screamed. It was huge (especially on reflection) with solid looking legs.

Thankfully my other half came to the rescue. I covered the details of the dress and made sure that he couldn't sneak a peek of course! We found a seam where it was still left open (thank god for that! otherwise he'd have to get through from the bottom of the train to the top of the princess lined dress!) so he managed to get the fast moving creature through that. Bless him, he was worried about not having washed his hands thoroughly before getting into the dress - which was the least of my worries at that time! That's why I'm marrying him.

OK drama over, here are a couple of pictures of the lace-up back finished:

I thought I'd try out different ribbons and see the effects - I preferred the self fabric ribbons (I haven't pressed it yet after turning the spagetti loop out - please bear with me) in the end.

Overall the lace-up back was not the easiest thing to make. I know that I've made a couple of toiles of this already, but I had not given as much attention to those as I did to the real thing. I made sure the fabric covered cords are nice and smooth (to learn how to make them, see tutorial here), all the loops are perfectly aligned and are of the same size and shape, the loops are secured about 10 times to the dress (in addition to the organza selvage which they've been sewn onto), and the modesty panel evenly attached to the back.

For the modesty panel, I did include 4 bits of plastic covered steel boning to make sure that it stays in shape when laced up. Unlike the spiral steel boning which I love using for bodices, I used the covered steel boning because they only bend one way. I also used a couple of longer pieces to stablise the back opening and reduce wrinkling.

I'm really happy with how it's turned out. I think when I put it on the opening is going to look a bit bigger, because I've turned my dress form down to its smallest to over compensate for how much my body would "give". What do you think? If you have any questions on how to make a corset back for your wedding dress, please feel free to ask and I'll try my best to answer!

I'm going off on holiday to Malta shortly (maybe I'll do some fabric shopping when I'm there? although I really don't NEED any more fabric... ) so perhaps I'll put my almost finished dress into a garment bag rather than leaving it out on the dress form...


  1. Awesome!!! You did a great job with the lace-up back!
    I love to see how your wedding dress is going on (despite the spiders... brrr...)

    1. RobyGiup, you are always so kind! Thank you for your comments. Now that it's done, it feels like all the drama was worth it. I'll sort out the hem and bustle when I'm back from Malta next week and then it's all done! x

  2. I am trying to alter my daughter pageant dress from a zipper back to a lace up back to adjust sizing issues! I looked over your tutorial on how to do the covered cord fro the loops. I am very pleased to be able to use that! but I wondered If I should the same stabilizing that you are talking about above to hold the loops in place?? Basically my thought process is to take out the zipper and set in the lace up loops and modesty panel! Any tips before I start??

    1. Hello Rachel, thank you for stopping by. I remember that I was super cautious with securing the loops in place, as I really didn't want to risk any of them breaking! To me the lace-up is such a lovely feature so I wanted to make sure that it stayed in place all day. I think the little loops take quite a lot of stress, especially if you are planning on doing it up quite tightly, so I would at least strengthen it with some extra material - I used organza selvage due to its light weight, transparency and strength, and I liked that it didn't add bulk. I suspect you would do fine with a strong ribbon, too? Otherwise I would go over the loops quite a few times just to be sure... Not sure how helpful this is, but do let me know if you have other questions and i'll try and answer them. Best of luck!!


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