Since my last post, I have been working, well not diligently exactly, but working nonetheless on my dress. I have to say, it is going pretty well. Only one major sewing machine malfunction, no major planning errors, I haven’t even pricked my finger with a pin and bled on it like I usually do when I sew.
I have to give major credit where it is due: Sew Retro on craftsy.com. This course has been beyond helpful in explaining and showing all of these snazzy little sewing techniques that I would never have figured out. For example, did you know that there are, like, different types of hand stitches for different purposes? It seems so obvious now, but I’ve never done any type of hand sewing stitch other than the one I made up (which probably does have a name, but not one that I know).
Armed with a sewing lesson back when I was about 8 and a good understanding of how to put three-dimensional stuff together, I have been sewing away for years, and apparently I never knew what I was doing! Turns out all those fancy ziz-zag stitches, the stitch length on the machine, even how you iron and hang fabric all matters. Who knew?
So thanks to all of this new found knowledge the dress is coming out better than I could have hoped. The first important lesson I learned is that the muslin actually has to be given as much care and attention as the real thing. I’ve honestly never really done one before because I didn’t really understand why, except maybe to check the fit out using cheap fabric. What I learned is that it is a great tool for custom fitting your garment. It is a total pain in the ass, because you have to sew it all up, press it, try it on, pin and tuck and mark where you need to take it in, THEN you have to take it all apart and do it again!!! The corset top bodice and sleep shorts is a good look for me, no?The benefit, of course, is that once you get a good fit, you can cut your actual material to the right size and it will fit perfectly on the first try.
For this dress, the bodice is really the only part where fit is an issue. The pattern actually includes a fitted skirt with a “sarong-style” gather on the side, but for my dress I replaced with with a full circle skirt from a different pattern. I also wanted to use lovely sheer cotton swiss, which was not recommended for this pattern as it includes steel boning, so I had to underline it with two layers of cotton broadcloth in the top, plus a lining, and line and underline the skirt. So it may not end up being quite as cool as my vision, but there you are. I’d rather be warm than wear a see-through wedding dress. I’m just not that fashion forward.
Here’s the mostly finished product (and yes I did get a ridiculous sunburn that really accentuates that neckline). In this photo, it still needs to be lined, hemmed, and have the straps added. I’ve done the hem and have the lining and straps ready to sew in today! For all of you who were sitting home with baited breath wondering how this would turn out, you can now rest assured that the dress is a success. Hopefully I’ll look a little less tired and disheveled at the actual wedding!
And because I was looking through my pictures and couldn’t resist, how cute is Snake all swaddled in towels after a bath?