Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wedding Dress Progress Part II: Pleating Chiffon and Sewing the Chiffon Skirt

Are you already wondering if I make any progress on my wedding dress?! I've started too and it helps that I have forbidden myself to sew anything else until it is finished. I still have 3 month time, but can feel a bit of pressure already.

Excuse my untidy sewing room and focus on the pinned dress please!
At least the dress is now my mean concern as we have sorted out the restaurant, photographer, bouquet, hair and make-up. It will be a beautiful day and I will be hopefully wearing my dream dress.

Progress so far:

I've sewn the chiffon skirt with mini french seams. Before cutting the chiffon, I sprayed it with starch and ironed it dry. It worked beautifully and made the chiffon crisp. So I had no problems sewing the tiny french seams. Because of the starch the dress has no drape at the moment. I hope it will wash out easily.

(I would recommend you remove the starch spray bottle from the bathroom after you are done, otherwise you might confuse it with hair spray in the morning. But I can attest that starch gives your hair a really good hold - for the whole day.)

I've pleated the center front piece. It took me four tries. The problem was that although the pleats looked ok, the center piece didn't had the right size suggesting that my pleats weren't even. So I tried different methods to mark the pleats:  I tried twice to use tailor tucks to mark the pleats and then I tried with a fabric pen and ruler to draw lines.

a mess of tailor tucks - didn't help.

Both methods should have guarantied accuracy, but still the piece was too small. Chiffon is not the best material to be pleated because it is still slippery even after starch treatment. To stabilise it I fused the thinnest fusible interfacing I had to the chiffon before cutting out and it is now really nice and even.

Left: chiffon stabilised with fusible interfacing. Right: not stabilised. Can you see the size difference?

I've gelatin bathed the silk, gasp, to make it less slippery (I was not sure if I could use starch and other bloggers made good experiences with the gelatin. I can only recommend that you fold your fabric before bathing it because otherwise you have a crumbly mess that you can't entangle when wet because the silk might tear. After drying the silk felt stiff like a board and was a mess of folds. I've managed to iron most of them out and the silk is still in one piece. Now the bad news: I'm not having enough to cut the back panel with the train. That's because initially I didn't want a train and thus bought less. But I'm pretty confident that I will be able to get more in Goldhawk Road (that's where I bought it). Now the question: should I cut into the silk now or wait until I have more?

Silk on the ironing board: Left ironed and right, obviously, not.

Together with a very motivating friend (wink Charlie) I pinned the parts of the dress on my dress form. It looks really nice, especially with the lace mesh flowers and ribbon. I'm thinking about sewing a lace cardigan with the lace you can see.

I've bought horsehair braid, boning and bra cups. Everything will go in the tiny bodice to stabilise it. I'm really scared of sewing these in. Especially because I've never sewn with any of these before. But with the long bank holiday ahead I will hopefully be able to tackle them!

PS: I'm sorry for the bad picture quality, but work in progress means mobile phone photos!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Smart Casual or Girly? A Polka Dot Coco!

Here it is finally. My latest Coco in a Polka Dot Fabric. It is not perfect, but I love it.


Pattern: Tilly and the Button Coco Dress. This is already my second version of this pattern and this time I made the dress with a fold-under neckline and three-quarter length sleeves.

I've added again two long darts to take out all this extra fabric that would otherwise be pooling in my swayback.   

Fabric: Ponte Jersey Knit that I bought in Goldhawk Road, London. It is slightly textured and unluckily has not much stretch. Do you always test die stretch of your knit before cutting out? I keep forgetting. Because this jersey has hardly any stretch it would have been better to use it as a woven.


Fitting: I didn’t do any additional fitting this time (for fitting details of my first version please have a look here).  However, because the fabric is not very stretchy one fitting issue has arisen (or is more pronounced than in my previous version). The shoulder/armhole seam does not hit my shoulder. It causes the drag lines in the sleeves. So for my next version I have to do a broad shoulder adjustment by adding to the front and back shoulder/armhole. Otherwise I would say the fit is spot on :)

Dr. Daniela :)

I love the silhouette of the dress that is so pronounced with this rather stiff fabric. The black polka dots on white background make the dress look very classy. So classy that I decided to wear it for my graduation ceremony which took place in the Royal Albert Hall in central London. Thanks to the polka dots my family which was sitting on the upper stalls had me in good view all times.

I've spent some time the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out what kind of cardigans I should wear with my dresses. I have a lot of cropped and knitted ones that don’t go with such an A-line dress. I didn’t want to wear a black cardigan with this dress, as blacks makes me look really pale. But I think this long rose cardigan paired with a bow belt and rose shoes makes the dress look really girly. Which is the style I like :)

Good news: I'm currently spending more time on my wedding dress (I've forbidden myself to sew anything else!). I've taken a couple of pictures of my progress - which is rather slow. There are so many decisions to make and I tend to procrastinate a bit. But I'm back on track and will give you an update in my next post!

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