Wedding Dress Wednesday: New year, new approach editionPosted: January 2, 2013
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re all having a great start to 2013 – it certainly looks like being quite a momentous one over here.
Sorry it’s been a while between updates. Between the work of getting our new home set up, and the fun of my birthday and Christmas, my days have been filled with a lot of distractions!
You might remember that in my last post, I commented that the bodice I had been trying to use for my wedding dress just wasn’t working out for me. So I decided to go back to the drawing board. My original plan had always been for a sleeveless, scoop neck dress. I wanted a low-cut back, but on looking through a lot of pictures I realised that actually I would be happy with just a mid-scooped back. That has the added bonus of allowing me to wear a bra, which I wouldn’t have been able to with the previous dress.
My next step was to attempt to draft my own sloper. The front looked OK on paper, but the back looked ridiculous. I must have messed up in my measurements, and I just couldn’t get it to work. So I decided to turn to a ready-made pattern. A browse through the local craft shop led me to Simplicity 2648:
My plan was to use the sleeveless view and adjust the front and back necklines to my liking. Obviously the skirt will be completely different, but I decided to make my muslin with the existing skirt, so that I could use it in the future if I wanted (although to be honest I tend to prefer an A-line or circular skirt, as a quick glance through my Pinterest will attest).
If you’re not familiar with the pattern, it has a slightly different construction method than a standard pattern, to help you achieve your preferred fit. To start with, you choose from an A, B or C cup bodice, and a slim, average or curvy skirt. I took my measurements and opted for the size 10, with the B cup bodice and average skirt.
The dress is then constructed by basting the princess seams on the bodice, stitching the princess seams on the skirt front, and the back bodice and skirt darts. The front and back are then individually stitched together at the waste, before the side seams are basted together. This makes it easier to adjust the fit, as the princess seams and side seams are the most likely to need adjusting.
It was a fairly straightforward process, and I managed to cut out and sew the dress in an afternoon.
As I’ve already discovered, solo fittings are not the easiest thing in the world. My parents are visiting next week, so hopefully my mum will be able to help me do a proper fitting. In the meantime, I think I’ve already spotted a few problems:
Apologies for another scummy bathroom mirror shot! As you can see, the bodice just looks too big. I think I’m going to have to go down to a size 8. It’s a bit snug through the hips, but that might partly be because the waist is a bit low. Obviously I’m not going to worry too much about the skirt for now, but I’ll come back to it later.
This process has definitely refined a few things for me. Firstly, I really need a new iron. I had trouble easing the side panels in along the princess seam line, and ended up with some puckers. I had a look in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques, and she says to stitch three lines of basting along the seam to be eased in, draw it up to the desired length, then steam the fabric to shrink it size. Unfortunately my iron doesn’t steam, so I think a new one is in order.
I also decided that, rather than line my dress, I’m going to use the couture method of backing the fabric, and finishing the openings with facings. Not only do I prefer sewing facings rather than linings, but I should be able to get a much neater result. Plus, if for some reason I need to adjust the fit closer to the big day, it should be easier (but hopefully that won’t happen).
So, lots of progress in the last few days! I’ve also made some decisions on the embroidery for the bodice, but I’ll save that for another post.