Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Flower Girl Dress

Here is the dress for our little princess Kayla for the wedding. The pattern that I used is Vogue 7819. The only change that I made to the pattern was to use an invisible zipper versus a normal zipper. This pattern is not for the faint of heart. The fabrics used are difficult due to the unraveling edges. There is also a lot of gathers, a lot. The fabrics that I used is silk dupioni and silk organza. The dress consists of one lining/slip with tulle, one layer of dupioni and three layers of silk organza. That is a lot to put into a gathered seam.

Whitney and I decided to go with all white. The bridesmaid dresses are latte. That is one difficult fabric to match. There was a store in NYC that had lot's of silk dupioni. The man I spoke with told me to email him a picture and he would match up the color. The color of the dress just wouldn't come through in the photo though so we scrapped the matching idea.

The Edge

The past couple of weeks I've been experimenting with different edge finishes for the bridal gown. The great thing about a bridal veil is that you can do almost anything, simple or elaborate and it looks like a veil. Whitney had toyed with several options. We thought we were going to make an alencon lace-trimmed mantilla. As the clock ticked, I opted not to do it. Did I really need a project with more lace to stitch down? If the gown required it, certainly I would have placed an order for more lace. Whitney finally decided that with all the lace on the gown, she wanted to keep the veil simple.

So the experimenting began. I took scraps of veiling to both the sewing machine and the serger. I used different threads and different sewing techniques. I tried gold and silver metallics, plain thread, thread over rattail, thread over gimp. I tried a zig zag stitch, 3 thread overlock, 4 thread overlock, a rolled edge. I tried an the overlock stitches with zigzagging on top. I even tried a double row of serging. That was a neat effect but didn't think Whitney would like it.

The use of the gimp made the edge stiff plus it really didn't show up very well, even with a metallic thread. The rat tail was way too thick. Not the look we wanted. It certainly would work for some brides. I really, really wanted to get the silver metallic on the veil but it was not to be. My serger did not like the thread. Too bad, I spent $15.00 for that one spool of thread. There will be other projects for that though.

The winner was using a rolled edge on the serger with white polyester embroidery thread. I felt the embroidery thread gave the edge a little more umphhh than plain serger thread. Whitney loves it. I'll show pictures of the veil later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Update: The Modesty Panel Is In

Well this had to be the quickest part of the entire dress. I tacked the panel down to the waist. I may decide to take the stitching lower but I'll wait until Whitney has tried it on. I almost started crying once I got it the back laced up. This has been a long project and I'm almost home. Only the bustle now. Yippee!

The lacing looks a little bit off but I didn't want to pull on the lacing too much but it should look fine on the bride. The waist is sitting a tad low on the dress form.

The Modesty Panel

Here is one of the final tasks for the bridal gown. The modesty panel. The only thing left now to do is the bustle. I don't want to chance pinning the bustle on the dress form. I will have to wait until Whitney gets home and do it the old fashioned way.

For the modesty panel, I took the measurements of the opening then added four inches total for the sides. I added an extra two inches on the length. All I need to do is to slip stitch the bottom and tack it on. I debated on using interfacing on the modesty panel. In the end, I opted not to do that. I didn't need it stiff. But I did baste silk organza to the satin to give it a little more oomph.

It's Been a Long Two Weeks

This is what I've been up to the last two weeks. Yes, it took exactly two weeks to sew the hem and the lace on.

The hem took about a half a day. I ripped out part of the hem and had to redo it. Remember waaaaay back when I cut out the satin? I took the excess fabric and added it to the skirt. I didn't add any to the front but I did start the increase about six inches from the side seam. Well, all that had to come off. Because I'm not a couturier in real life, I don't always know what I'm doing. In order to make a graceful slope from the front to the back, all that extra fabric had to be cut off. Oh well. That didn't bother me as much as I thought. What bothered me is that because of the excess fabric, my slope is a little wonky at the side seam. Don't ask me how that happened. I'm being brave by posting the underside of the garment. You can see how the hem is wavy. And I have excess fabric in the hemline. I had no issues with the rest of the hem, just at this one particular seam.

My estimate for the time spent on the lace was about 30 hours. The lace is heavily beaded. I could not do a simple basting stitch. In order to get the lace to lay correctly, I had to lay it out on the floor. I only work on three to four scallops at a time. I then had to pin the heck out of it. In certain parts of the hem, excess lace had to be cut out so the lace could lay flat. I'm taking a flat piece of lace and trying to curve it with the curved train.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Whitney's Garter

When I started to pull out the supplies for Whitney's garter, I was remembering my mistakes on making Megan's garter. Too much length, too much fluff. I wasn't going to go there again. I was going to make the same design but just downsize it.

The schiffli lace was purchased off of Ebay several months ago. Sadly, you can't find anything like this around here unless it's nylon and I refuse to buy that. The lace is maybe six inches wide. I decide to cut off one inch of the netting then I gather up the lace to make a flounce. The second part of the garter is to make something interesting in the middle. Like Megan's, I took a piece of lace and gathered it into a posey shape. And like Megan's it was totally wrong. Even with the downsizing, it still was too over the top. So like Megan's, I had to dismantle what I did and made the garter simpler.

I had some left over trim from the gown and cut a little motiff out. I purchased two Claddagh charms, one for Megan and one for Whitney. I then went to Blue Nile and purchased two charm bracelets. The charms were stitched down with colored thread so it could be easily removed and added to the charm bracelets.

I need to figure out a design before the next round of brides come my way.

A Bad Day Sewing is Better than A Good Day at Work?

You've all seen that bumper sticker or t-shirt, "a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work". Well I don't know about that. I like my job, pretty much stress free. However, get me into the sewing room and that's where the frustration begins. Most of it is my own fault. Sometimes you think there is a shortcut only to find out why there should be no short cut. Sometimes I'm the roque sewer, going off on my own. Like the bridal gown. After I made the decision to change the neckline and the back of the gown, I was basically on my own. No directions, no one to lead the way. Just me and it's scary to have me in charge.

It all starts so simple. How hard could it be to make a 12 foot piece of satin lacing for the back of the dress. I chose to cut the strips on the lengthwise length of the grain. I didn't want that puppy to stretch, at all. The problem with this is that the fabric lends itself to fraying. Cutting on the bias would have prevented the unraveling. Anyway, I'm ahead of myself.

I make four 36 inch length strips and stitch those together. I then use the old safety pin technique to turn my strip right side out. After about half way, the safety pin rips from the fabric. Dammit. I mean really, I should have known. I then cut the end off and figured that I would have to hand stitch the end. So once again I start to turn my strip right side out. I'm over 50% of the way. I'm getting excited because the safety pin is still holding. Then out of left field, my seam allowance unravels and the seam is exposed. Dammit.

Now what do I do? I do what any lazy sewer would do. I go to the internet to see if I can buy the *&#%$@& stuff. No dice. So back to the drawing board or to the internet. I decided that maybe I needed to make my strap a hair wider. So instead of a 1/2 inch width, I decide to make the strap 3/4 wide. I then also found this tutorial on turning a strap inside out using not a safety pin but a bobby pin. Oh my gosh, worked like a charm. Thank you Jules from Handmade Things for this great tut.

Other problems this week with rogue sewing. Now came time for the hem and bodice lining. I decide that my priority is to machine stitch the bodice lining to the button loops. I didn't want to hand stitch it in place. I wanted just a little extra strength there. Well, that smart idea didn't work. I needed to turn the dress inside out to stitch the skirt lining to the skirt. Now, I did think about this before I took the dress to the machine. I had it all figured out. It would work. I stitched the lining to the bodice then I went to turn the dress inside out. What the heck. I had a fabric rubics cube puzzle on my hands. There was no way to correct this except for to take out the stitching at the loops. Wouldn't you know I stitched that sucker not once, not twice but three times to make sure those loops stayed in place. Smart me also made the stitch length smaller. As you can imagine, it took a while to rip out. My perfect templated loops are no longer perfect. The picture is dark but you can see some of the stitching lines.

So, it's back to hand stitching the bodice lining in place and cross my fingers that the loops are securely fastened.

Cowboy Themed Baby Items

I've had several of these cowboy designs for a while now and have been itching to stitch them out. My friend Kim has a new grandbaby so here was my chance to try out the designs. Most of the designs are from Planet Applique. The cowboy hat is from Designs by Juju and the little cowboy is from Aunty M Designs.

Move-in Day 2010

It's the end of summer and that brings us back to college life. Taylor transferred from Whitewater to Madison. So far, she's really liking her classes and her life in Madison. Let's hope it stays that way! Here are just a few pictures from move-in day. She decided to stay in a dorm instead of an apartment. She felt as a transfer student, she would meet more people that way. Madison has a dorm specifically for transfer students. It's one of the old, traditional stone buildings. How retro is that? That part of campus makes me think of movies and books that I read so long ago about college life. It's so traditional.

She is in a single room so she has a tad more space and certainly more privacy. Unfortunately, her room does not overlook the lake. But how cool is that to walk the lake trail every day.