Friday, March 15, 2013

Wedding Dress Progress Post #1

Gratuitous Walnut photo. 

As I mentioned before, one of my biggest projects this year is making a wedding dress for a dear friend of mine. While I normally wouldn't commit to sewing such a scarily important garment for someone who isn't around for regular fittings, there are several reasons why I agreed to tackle this:
  1. Elaine is my oldest friend. She and I met freshman year of high school and were fortunate enough to discover that we lived a block away from each other, which meant we could always run over to do homework, hang out, or presumably borrow cups of sugar, though we never did. She has always been an incredibly vocal supporter and gracious recipient of my creative output, so when she stated that she believed in my ability to make a wedding dress, well, who am I to say no? 
  2. The design she chose is actually fairly easy to fit. Corsets are somewhat adjustable, and the skirt I'm making has an elastic waistband, so even pre-wedding measurement fluctuations shouldn't be too much of a problem. *crosses fingers*
  3. I would never otherwise have an excuse to make something so cool! It seems like a good challenge to take on, and I don't have to pay for pretty pretty materials. 
  4. I'm always saying to Elaine, "I could totally make that, and for cheaper!" She's gotten tired of it over the years (not seriously, though...okay maybe a little seriously), so now's my chance to back my statements and prove that yes, I can do a comparable job for less than £860.
I did a corset muslin when she was here for the TORn Oscar party, but I have yet to finish modifying the pattern pieces. I decided that I needed to just dip my toe into the proverbial wedding-dress-making pool and get a feel for how the satins she chose handle, so I started making the skirt instead. And let me tell you, cutting into the actual fashion fabric is scary! Even if it is a very simple circle skirt pattern and the fabrics weren't that expensive.

Cropped like mad to cut out the sewing room clutter. It doesn't look like much yet, without all the trims and lace.
I didn't think to take pictures of the un-ruched overskirt.

I used Simplicity 5006, View B, and cut two layers, one in a drapey purple satin and one in slightly stiffer cream-colored satin. I'm not sure why Simplicity saw it necessary to provide both a front and a back pattern piece, seeing as how they're exactly the same (only difference being markings for cutting on the fold for the front, and zipper placement on the back), but whatever. For the back pieces, I added a slight train and opted to cut it on the fold so as not to end up with a seam down the center of the train. I sewed lapped side seams in order to enclose all the raw edges; this also conveniently provides a channel to thread a ribbon through for gathering up the sides. Since there's no seam on the center back, I followed this tutorial on Casey's Elegant Musings to make a slash opening. I'm not going to insert a zipper, since the opening will be covered with the gold lace overskirt. I sewed on five hooks and eyes on the waistband instead. Oh yeah, the waistband is elastic, both for comfort and for a more adjustable fit.  

I basted the two layers of skirt together, bound the top edge with seam binding, and then zigzagged it to the elastic. 
Trying to distribute the fabric evenly, hold the elastic stretched, all the while sewing neatly, was a bit of a nightmare. 

I still need to hem the bottom and add the Venice lace trim, but the one I purchased turned out to clash with the gold of the overskirt. Clashing golds are okay for a casual shieldmaiden costume, but not for a wedding dress! I'm ordering a different trim from eBay, so hopefully that one works better. Golds are so hard to photograph/match when ordering online!

Gaah! Totally different golds!

Next part: lace overskirt. Hello, learning to drape by the seat of my pants!

29 comments:

  1. Nice work so far! Have you thought about getting a Truly Victorian pattern to help with the overskirt? This: http://www.trulyvictorian.net/tvxcart/product.php?productid=38&cat=2&page=1 , looks pretty close to what you need. If the lace is expensive it might be worth it to get the pattern to save you hassle and fabric.

    Anyway, I hope the new lace works out for you!

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    1. Thanks for the link to the pattern! I'm trying to finish it all asap, so I don't think I have time for the pattern to arrive. My draping experiments yesterday turned out pretty well, though, so I think I'm good to go. The lace is an inexpensive polyester from Joann's, so if I mess up it's okay. I appreciate your helpful advice though!

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  2. Very pretty so far. The purple and gold together will be a lovely combo.

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    1. I love gold + any dark color right now, so it's a treat to be able to work with this combo!

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  3. Great start on the dress! I love Elaine's design choice! It's going to be beautiful. =)

    I'm guessing the pattern included two separate pieces because of the cutting layout - they often over-simplify things in the instructions to the point of being confusing.

    ~ Brooke

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    1. Ahhh, thanks for the explanation. It seemed unnecessary to me, but then I might have just been tired of cutting out endless tissue paper at that point ;)

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  4. I'm so excited about this! I can barely contain myself, honestly! EEEEEEEEEE! Um, hi. I just want to tell you, once again, that you're awesome.

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    1. Let's hold off on the praise until you actually try it all on :)

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  5. Wow, this is looking amazing already! I can't wait to see how it goes.

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    1. Thanks! Let's hope it continues going as smoothly as it has!

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  6. It's going to be gorgeous. The pattern houses sometimes will give two identical pattern pieces to make it easier to cut the garment out.

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    1. I guess it was easier to have the two pieces to lay out on my fabric...but had I known, I probably wouldn't have bothered cutting out the second piece!

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  7. Looks gorgeous so far, the color is beautiful. Can't wait to see the finished product!

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    1. Thanks! The purple satin is really lovely...the pictures don't do it justice!

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  8. That looks like it's going to be a beautiful dress!

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    1. It certainly better be! Hahaha I'm going to be angry if it isn't ;)

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  9. Ooo, this looks gorgeous already. I absolutely love the colours, and you make the construction sound so easy!

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    1. Heh, if it sounds easy it's because I'm only working on the easy parts right now!

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  10. Wow, this is going to be great! Can't wait to see it!

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  11. That color is fantastic. I'm excited to see this come together! It looks beautiful already.

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  12. Amazing! This already looks great and I can't wait to the next installment. What a wonder of inspiration you are.

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  13. I love it like crazy even without all the trimming and lace. Something about a wonderfully drapey piece of fabric just has that effect on me. It's going to look amazing!!!

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  14. This is going to be gorgeous!! I can't wait to see how it looks with the lace.

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  15. Hi Cindy. I was just wondering why the bride chose dark colors for her dress. Is it an Asian tradition or was it just something different she wanted to do? Sorry to be so nosy!

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    1. Elaine actually isn't Asian (and Chinese wedding dresses are traditionally red), but yes, she just wanted something different. She also loves purple, and this way she can re-wear the pieces for costume events!

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