Thursday, 29 March 2012

Too many projects! Is there really such a thing?

I know, I know, I never think about how much I've already got on my plate... but when there's a RTW contest on PR, and there's a dress that I've wanted to make since 2009.... well, how could I resist?

So this is the dress
It's from Gossip Girl of course, and first aired in series 2 back in 2009. I'm a big fan of the show - pretty people, beautiful wardrobe and oh the drama! what's not to like? 

So this is my inspiration dress... and it's quite a challenge! 

The contest is in April which means that I'm not allowed to start sewing until 1 April but I can think about it all I want and buy the fabric. 

So I went to shepherds bush again and bought some (by which I mean 5 metres of) green taffeta.

My plan is to alter the bodice a little to more of a sweetheart neckline which I think will be more flattering for my figure, and make a huge pick-up skirt with a bubble hem that is a little less dramatic than the inspiration dress just so I have some occasions where I can wear it without being stared at! I'm planning on adding some netting between the skirt lining and fashion fabric to give the body... Hopefully this will work! I'm still trying to figure out where/how the zipper would work amongst all that volume... so if you have any good ideas/comments please do let me know! 

When I was at shepherds bush, I also saw this fabric and fell in love.... well I guess it doesn't hurt to show it off a little here before I turn it into something that I can wear!

I'm sure you're all wondering... hmmm I wonder what can be made out of this? well guess what? I received 9 patterns today in the post - it felt like xmas! and the best thing is, another few are coming in the post later on! obviously there was a sale and I took advantage of that! 

I thought I could use the paisley coral fabric for this pattern and it would make a very cute little dress. 
My other favourite patterns received today were:





How fabulous! I can't wait to start them!

However (a big however in fact), is that I need to try and complete my wedding dress first! At the moment I'm doing a lot of handsewing - mainly catchstithing all the seam allowances on ALL layers! 

I also had a go at the mock-up version of the lace-up back, using different types of shop purchased loops, and I think the result is clear - I'll let you judge first!





 As you can see, one side is made of a shiny looking cord thing (I don't know how else to describe it!) and the other more experimental - I think the shiny side is the way to go! 

I then tried the previous corselette mock-up on:

 

So the top one was loosely laced up, and the bottom one really tightly (I could just about breathe!) The whole point of this exercise really was to assess how much of a gap I want, and where to stitch the loops into the back of the dress. 

My thoughts were:
  • I liked the width and shape of the loosely tied picture so that means that I'll have to leave an even bigger gap;
  • The lace up looks a little soft, so I'm going to maybe insert boning near the edge of the lace up;
  • The bottom picture shows that the loops are being pulled quite a lot so I'm going to leave less of the loops out of the seams. 

I'm going to unpick the loops now and make a set of new ones using the shiny cord and maybe instead of sewing it on a piece of paper, attaching them to a strip of organza selvage for some extra strength in case of too much stress! The last thing I want is for the loops to come out on my wedding day! 

I will also need to make the loops for the actual ribbon but I'm going to worry about that later! 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Update - Sunday 18 March

This weekend was packed of wedding stuff! my lovely bridesmaid came round to help me with the dress, made buttonholes and I had my hair trial. Was also going to have a trial photoshoot done too but that had to be postponed as the photographer had some family things to attend to. 

So here are some photos:
 Look at that train! 


 As you can see, I haven't quite done the lace-up back yet... I have taken the side seams in by 5mm or so on each side so the side seams would align with the side of my body better (if that makes any sense at all!). Before I start messing with the lace-up back, I am going to try it out on one of the mock-up corselettes from before so I have a better idea of the shape and size of the 'V' gap at the back. 


I'm also tempted to include a bit more details at the back of the dress. After all, this is where people will spend lots of time looking at during the ceremony! Currently I'm thinking about a pretty bow which could cover the bottom of the lace-up (and the short zipper underneath that) and help with the bustle... but I'll worry about these details later! 



My tasks for the next couple of weeks include (of course I like my lists... I'm a tax accountant after all ;) ):
  • Start hand finishing seams of all layers - overcasting and catchstitching...
  • Practise lace-up back on bodice mock-up
  • Possibly hand basting some of the pleats to keep them in place;
  • Hand basting all layers together (oh yes, we decided that I'm keeping the lining layer too... so that makes it 7 layers altogether! but they are surprisingly not that bulky, phew)
  • Machine attach all layers but corselette lining whilst minding the pleats
  • Attach the corselette lining layer to the above and flip - and hope for the very best!
  • Finish the diagonal drape line
  • Insert lace-up back
  • Make up another list for the following weeks!
So quite a lot to do really! better crack on, especially as I would quite like to enter the PR April contest - RTW... more on that to follow I'm sure ;)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pleats finished

After some intensive sewing/pinning sessions this week, I've finished the pleats on both sides and here're a couple of photos of me holding up the outer layer (well... now it consists of 4 layers!) when wearing the foundation.
 


Some important decisions were made - for the right hand side (left on photos), I did a small section only which is the bit that is shown to minimise bulk. Here're some photos but I ended up cutting the section even smaller:

So I used the same pattern as that for the larger drape, but only used a small part of it. Then I stretched out the tissue paper and cut the dupion. I pleated it a thousand times to make sure that I'm happy with the shape, and hand basted it before using the dupion as a guide to cut the organza for underlining. 
  




Now I can finally see the finish line! There are quite a few more decisions to make as yet, eg how to finish off the skirt overlay, whether to include my silk habotai lining at all (I have 6 layers already...do I really NEED it?), whether to have a separate closure for the corselette... decisions decisions! I'm sure I'll keep you posted with what happens! 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pleats

I had a day off today so started working on the pleats. Here's what I've ended up with:

I'm using the foundation layer as my base as the cotton and the dress net are more durable, and can withstand a lot of pinning! So I have now basted the one side (as above) of the front drape, and cut out some organza to underline the piece (with pleats on the dupion layer only, and organza flat). 

In case anyone is interested, I started off with this:



So I used a large piece of tissue paper to try out the desired effects. With the front drape detail of the LBD-simplicity 2251 dress, I found this a lot less daunting so I could vizualise the whole thing better. 


With lots of pins in, and once I was happy with what I saw, I cut off the excess paper and marked the tissue paper with key things. 

And then... well, I decided that I wanted the one-sided skirt to go the other way round! Only if I thought of this properly before I started pleating the tissue paper. Anyway, this small crisis was easily solved by using the wrong side of the tissue paper as my pattern. 

After I told myself about 10 times that 'it's just fabric', I finally had the courage to cut into the beautiful dupion. I cut it on the bias as I think this would benefit the drape. I left a lot of excess on all sides (and this explains why the front skirt doesn't look perfect yet) just in case! 

Then I started pleating with the dupion on the dress form. It was relatively simple, just needed a bit of patience. After trial and error, I was finally happy with the result so I pinned everything to keep the pleats in place and to mark the stitching lines. 

Following my questions re how to underline this on Pattern Review, I decided to go with the method of not pleating the organza. So after I basted the pleats in place, I used the resulting dupion piece as a guide to cut out the organza for the underlining. and the hand basting begins... (and yet to be finished).

Now I'm getting really impatient! As I can see how this will all come together and what the finished product will be like, I just can't wait to make it happen!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

What's left to do for the wedding dress

With less than 5 months to go before the wedding, it's time to focus on my wedding dress again, especially as I would like to finish it a couple of months before the wedding... 


So I pulled together a list of what's left to do, and needless to say, the list goes on and on and on and on and on...

  • Try out front drape (the large piece that goes from bodice to skirt)
  • Decide how to underline the drape (whether to pleat the organza or keep it flat to which the dupion will attach)
  • Cut into the fabric (argh!)
  • Pleat and stablise the pleats with organza selvages
  • Try out the smaller piece of drape
  • Cut into the fabric to make the smaller piece
  • Sew drapes into side seams of the dress
  • Press seams and catch stitch all seams
  • Decide on how to assemble all layers with different closures
  • Cut dupion to make lining for the corselette
  • Make lining for corselette
  • Hand finish all edges for the lining and catch stitch
  • Assemble all layers other than corselette lining at the neckline
  • Assemble to the corselette lining
  • Understitch
  • Attach hook and eye tape to corselette
  • Make modesty panel
  • Attach modesty panel to outer layer
  • Make loops for lace-up
  • Make laces
  • Fitting, fitting, fitting
  • Attach loops!
  • Hem with horsehair braid
  • Press it and that's it! 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Bouquet attempt #3

I was rather stressed last week so my lovely fiancĂ© bought me some flowers. About a week later, I think the roses are getting towards the end of their lives so I used them to practise on my bouquet again. I think the result is better than the first two attempts, and I feel more comfortable not getting a florist now. 


Anyway here are some photos (I was trying out the different apps on my new iphone!)











 So I used 18 long stem yellow roses, about 1m long of sheer yellow ribbon, 3 bridal/lace (very thin) pins and 3 pearl headed pins. Nothing too crazy! I also had some gardening gloves (long story but I was stabbed by an evil rose prick once and was on antibiotics for a week... so wanted to protect myself) and secateurs  which came in handy. Happy to share how to do this if anyone is interested (but as there are lots of tutorials out there, I thought I won't spend too long waffling about the details). 


As compared to the last attempt, I thought the fuller flowers here worked better (note to self - the roses were about 1 week old so I should get plenty of roses about 6/7 days before the wedding) as they gave the bouquet a better shape. I'm not sure whether to use yellow or pink as yet (my other half bought me some pink roses yesterday! as he thought I may want to see if a mixed colour bouquet would work - bless him! p.s. pink and 'citrus' is our colour theme) but as you can see from the picture above, the pink ones are not quite ready yet so perhaps I will make them into bouquets next week instead :) 
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