Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beautiful Brocade

As I have mentioned at least a couple times in previous posts, Mother of the Bride/Groom dresses are almost impossible to find. That is unless you want to look like one of the bridesmaids, or the grandmother. Which is not a bad thing, just not necessarily what most fashionable mothers want to look like!

Because of this glut (is that a word??) in bridal wear marketing, I have been finding myself working with more and more mothers to create their attire for this special event. This week I have been working on just such a project. It is quickly becoming one of my more pleasurable creations, for several reasons! 1) the fabric is so lovely! It is a gorgeous green and blue turquoise paisley with silver and gold accenting. Though it ravels terribly, it is so pretty that I don't really mind the extra work!  2) The pattern, though not difficult, is not your usual slap together the matching seams kind of pattern. I am actually needing to read the pattern directions! Can't tell you how long it's been since I've had to do that! It's just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting. 3) The lovely lady I am creating the dress for is fun and entertaining, with definite ideas of what she wants, interesting stories and a sense of humor.

Yesterday I spent several hours cutting the fabric out; it shouldn't have taken so long, but I found myself about 6 inches short of what I needed, and it was a bit of a challenge to rearrange, adjust and re-align the pattern pieces to all fit. After our first fitting, this afternoon, I got busy sewing.

The pattern is a Retro Butterick:

Today I was able to finish the bodice:
                                                                      Bodice Front

Bodice Back
(minus the zipper!)
The front needed a little tweaking (added side darts and reduced some of the volume across the front). Tomorrow I will attach the skirt and the zipper; then will wait til our next fitting to measure for the hem.
The skirt panel are ready to be sewn together and sewn to the bodice. One of the most enjoyable parts to my sewing today was finishing the skirt seams! I used a green turquoise silk shantung for both the bodice lining and the Hong Kong seam finish.
I do love a pretty Hong Kong finish!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Too Short Wedding Gown

Today's project: adding length to a too short wedding gown.

Not as difficult as it might sound - at least with this gown. It has a 1.5" wide ruffled organza trim at the hemline; so we decided to just add another layer of the ruffled organza. The gown is about 1.5" too short, so after some careful measuring, I figured out I needed to cut 14 yards of 3.5" wide strips of ivory organza. To make the whole process easier, I decided to cut the 14 yards in 1 yard increments, gather them individually, and then sew the ends together. But before I could gather them, one long edge had to be very slightly frayed, to match the existing hemline. Several hours later . . . .

After ruffling each strip, I gathered then pressed each piece -
Tomorrow I will sew the ends of all these strips together, then attach them at the hem. Here, you can see both the original length, and how the new ruffle will add just the right amount!
And here, you can see how pretty the new hem will look when completed. Ignore those pesky threads - they will magically disappear when it's finished!
Such a lovely gown! Can't wait for the bride to see the finished project!

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Un-Recognizable Vintage Re-Make

When Jessica brought me her mother's 1970 something vintage wedding gown, and told me what she wanted to do with it, part of me was appalled! But, another part of me was very intrigued!
This gown was one of those very dated wedding gowns - lots of wide lace at the high neck, big sleeves, you catch my drift, right?

The fabric had aged to a wonderful candlelight pantina - just beautiful! I was in love with the lace at the neckline, cuffs and hem. Absolutley gorgeous!
But it was hardly a modern girls dream dress. Jessica had actually already purchased her wedding gown, and wanted this vintage gown of her mothers' made into her rehearsal dinner dress. She wanted to use the lace and the original fabric to create a completley new dress.
I removed the bodice lace. Removed the sleeves. Removed the skirt. Basically took it apart and started from scratch. Re-made the bodice into a strapless; cut and re-shaped the skirt into a fitted mini; added that gorgeous lace around the bodice neckline. We decided it needed thin straps for support, as well as the additional foundation I added (it amazes me that these vintage gowns have NO foundation , let alone a lining to most of them!). Some tweaking here, some adjustment there, and
Amost completley un-recognizable! Jessica is a very tiny girl, so the final dress does not fit on my dress form, and I didn't think to get a final photo of it on her :(
The lace is still gorgeous, the fabric is still that lovely candlelight color. But the dress is so completley different! Just goes to show what you can do with a little creativity!