Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wedding Dress - Complete!

My darling friend's wedding has come and gone! Just thought I would follow-up and post a few pictures documenting the final gown - which ended up being a bit different than any of my original sketches.

At the beginning of August, I flew out to San Francisco to meet her, and discuss things in person. While there, we paid a visit to Britex, and found a GORGEOUS eyelet charmeuse. That completely altered the trajectory of designs for the dress. 

There were only 2.5 yards of the fabric available, so we decided to use the largest block of embroidery for a deep hem, and cut the medallions off to be used on the bodice. In order to achieve a full skirt, we purchased a matching charmeuse to be used for godets beween each skirt panel. 

 About a month later, I drove down to FL to fit a toile (made with cheap poly silky fabric), and much to my delight, it fit with minor adjustments! So back home I came, cut up all that lovely fabric, and started assembling.

The bodice was constructed with an outer layer of charmeuse, interlined with silk organza. Overall this was quite successful, but one thing I should have done was fully baste the organza to the perimeter each charmeuse piece. The front and back of the bodice assembled nicely flat, but I belatedly realized that when I assembled the final side seams (after our final fit), the fabrics shifted slightly against each other. So that is the only thing I would have changed!

We had a hard time deciding between two bodice options, so I partially constructed both options and then took photos of each bodice pinned to the skirt. I texted these to Sarah, and after a quick phone convo, we decided to move forward with OPTION 1, using the embroidered medallions at the neckline.

Embroidered medallions @ neckline.
Embroidered medallions @ neckline.

Narrow contrast piping @ neckline.
Narrow contrast piping @ neckline.
Piping pinned in for photos.

In order to keep the deep V-necklines in front and back to keep from sagging out (as this sort of neckline is wont to do, especially in thin fabrics like charmeuse) I stay-stitched all necklines by hand immediately upon cutting. However, in order to give the necklines a little more stability, I also added a straight-grain strip of silk organza (approx. 1.5" wide) to each neckline edge. This strip was sandwiched between the interlining and lining layers of the bodice.  

Meanwhile, my helpful pals fell asleep directly between my sewing machine and ironing board... The best place to sleep when mom is sewing, obvi. 

A few days before the wedding, my Kenny and I drove down to FL (where it would be held), and I was able to squeeze in one last fitting of the dress, in final fabric! I had basted the bodice onto the skirt, in order to double-check the fit before permanently sewing them together. There were a few minor adjustments, like nipping in the waist at sides and back, but otherwise it fit great! 

The skirt was a bit hippy,
so I noted to slim them down a bit.
As seen above, there was originally a CB
godet. I decided this looked wonky and took it out.

I whisked the dress back to my hotel room, and stitched for another 20ish hours over the next couple days. Finally, it was complete!

Over the duration of two 9-hr car rides and all my sewing, we listened to 30+ hours of Harry Potter. I can't believe I hadn't read these books sooner, they are AMAZING! I decided that I absolutely have to make Kenny a Weasley sweater. It will be awesome and awkward.

The wedding was beautiful! There was a spot of rain that forced the bridal party under the covered balcony to be used for the reception, but it was still lovely. These folks are the best, and I was honored to be able to be a part of their wedding in a small way. 

Photos below credit to Catherine Coons

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wearing History's WWII Homefront - 1940s Overalls

Haven't been around here in a long time, but as my other blog is dedicated to the Regency, here seems to be the best place to post about the new overalls that I made with my sister this weekend!

Rosie the Riveter is my sister's hero - my sister is one of the hardest workers I know, and she is a big inspiration to me. It totally makes sense that she is a fan of all those hard-working women who kept the home front during WWII. It is kind of perfect that we ended up making these on Memorial Day weekend!

We used Wearing History's pattern for WWII Homefront - 1940s Overalls, and they turned out adorably. The pattern instructions were a little challenging to read, so we figured out a couple bits on our own, but everything worked out pretty well (so I assume we figured it out correctly!)  The only thing that was actually off in the pattern was that the waistband for the overalls was about 1/2" short, and we made each front-leg tuck 3/8" deeper to match the waist measurement of the bodice front. Not sure if those modifications were necessary because I did something wrong, but once we jimmied it that little bit, everything fit together nicely.

No in-progress photos, but we wedged my little sister into one of my plaid shirts (she is a lot more muscular than me!) and took a few photos of the final result:


We found some super fun metal buttons at Fine Fabrics (Atlanta) - they say "what's up" and they are the perfect little finishing touch for her personality.

This was a fun little project to whip up in a couple of days, I would definitely make these again.

Wishing you all well this Memorial Day, don't forget to be thankful for all the men and women who worked hard (like all the Rosie the Riveters out there!) and sacrificed much to preserve our freedom.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wedding Designs + Storyboards

I've sent off the first batch of sketches to my friend, complete with storyboards for each sketch. This is how those turned out:

I've emailed them all to her, and she's given me some feedback about what she loves and what she is not too sure about, so my next step is to morph together the bits and pieces that she likes, and ditch the bits she doesn't like, into three(ish) more looks! 

After that, hopefully one more go-round (which will probably be tweaked a few times as I am building it, while we interface back and forth about progress and have our fittings) until the final design! 

Then, I build. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wedding Gowns

A dear friend of mine has commissioned a wedding gown from me. I am half-terrified and half-excited about this venture. I am fairly certain that I am competent enough to construct a wedding gown, this will be my second, but I am flummoxed about how to fit the thing from across the country! She is located in sunny CA, and I am located in GA.

That'll be an adventure.

I'm due to send her designs about now, so I have put together a few based on conversations we have had and inspiration images that we have pulled. I finalized them during the Georgia Bulldog/Florida Gators game. We creamed them (sort of? It was close at the end) - "we" being the Bulldogs (my bebe and in-laws are Dawgs, so I fit myself right in there.)

Who would have thought football could be so inspiring? Actually it isn't, really, but it was a good time to finally spit out onto paper the designs that I have been rolling around in my head. Below are the six-seven designs that I narrowed down to.

Next, to paint proper illustrations and collage mood/story boards for each of them!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Working away!

I have been working, I promise! I have been hand sewing Kenny's shirt, so it has been taking a while. I find the sewing to be relaxing, though, so I just might hand sew more parts of his costume after this.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I love big, billowy things. This tends to affect my designing in my classes, unfortunately. Or not-so-unfortunately. Anyway, I was recently seized with the NEED for a pair of patiala salwar pants (that was probably really redundant, but I don't know exactly what those words mean... ). I modified the traditional pattern to be a little less full at the hip, and I designed in a couple of pockets on each side for practical functionality (I love pockets, everything should have pockets) AND to bring the bulky width of the pant a little farther down from the waist. I still have no idea what to do about a closure... I also modified the traditional Indian salwar pattern into something a lot more like a traditional Turkish pant (check out the links at the bottom of this post). My fabric is a relatively heavy, patterned fabric (I have no idea what type of fabric is). I'm not sure how it will drape, as it is a lot heavier than the muslin that I'm using for my mock-ups.

I whipped up a few mock-ups yesterday. I'm in my undies for the first couple, so they are not posted here, but below are pictures of Salwar 1.3. I always feel a grand sense of accomplishment when I manage to recycle a mock-up (this was made up of the remains of Salwar 1.1). Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with it. I think the centre piece is a little too wide, creating a bit too much of a 'diaper' effect... but I will cut it out that way, and if I can't handle it in fabric, I'll just trim it down.

And now, a couple of interesting links that helped me out a bit:

How to Make a Turkish Salwar
Method of Stitching a Patiala Salwar: Vani's Blog
Turkish and Ottoman Dress

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vermeer and the Yellow Bodice

Researching the portraits of Johannes Vermeer, yet another yellow bodice keeps popping up! It is a little 'heavier' visually than the Terborch bodice. As you can see in the paintings below, the trim is a lot wider than the Terborch bodice - still multiple rows of trim, but definitely a wider trim; velvet ribbon? The cuffs are black, not yellow. At the waist are tabs (something that is not seen on all similar bodices of the period) that are bordered in black. Like the Terborch bodice, the neckline of the bodice is bound with a narrow black binding. CF seems to be bordered with black trim as well.

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, 1657, Johannes Vermeer

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (detail), 1657, Johannes Vermeer

Officer with a Laughing Girl, 1657, Johannes Vermeer

Young Woman with a Water Jug (detail), 1660-62, Johannes Vermeer

A Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman (detail), 1662-65, Johannes Vermeer

Look, a rare back view! The back-most (is that even a word?) two tabs are visible, but it looks like the other tabs are tucked into the waist of the over-skirt. I wonder how many tabs are actually tucked in...