dresses, dresses, everywhere!

I know I’ve been AWOL lately, but here’s some pictures of the reason why. All these are just my snapshots in my extremely messy studio, so please, as always, no looky-looky at the background. Keep your eyes on the prize.

I’ve de-camped from my studio for the summer & am sewing upstairs in the “dining room”. We don’t “dine”, so it’s a computer/piano/bookshelf room, really. I can keep a better eye on my kids up here. After school starts, I’m going to completely dump out the studio & paint, put in shelving, etc., so I’ve really not talked myself into going down there to clean it up. If I’m just going to dump it out next month, what’s the point? It’s going to be light turquoise/mint green with small pink accents & lots of built in shelving with little fabric covered buckets/ small curtains. I’m excited to be getting it done, that’s for sure!

Cheryl: Mother of the bride, June 16th wedding

She had a very clear idea of what she wanted, right down to the color.

I underlined the entire gown in silk chiffon, then lined it with china silk. There is a fully boned bodice made from silk taffeta inside the gown. I use spiral steel bones because I think they are so much more comfortable than anything else. I ran out of boning casing & didn’t realize it until it was too late to order more, so I made Cheryl’s boning casing out of bias taffeta. Not as stable as the cotton casing, but it’s only a dress to be worn either once or just a few times.

Detail of the bodice. I hand picked “princess” lines to keep the chiffon from puffing up.

The back of Cheryl’s dress. We only had a picture of what she wanted the front to look like, so the design of the back was just what we made up.

The jacket for Cheryl. In this picture you can really see the front darts. The dress is made from sandwashed silk charmuese & I struggled with the front darts to the point that I ended up replacing the entire front skirt panel. Not fun, let me tell you, but when my name goes out there on something, I want it to be as perfect as possible. I’m still not totally thrilled with the darts. If anyone has better tricks up their sleeve let me know.

Jessica: August 12th wedding I fit her in because I just really wanted to make this gown. There are certain ones I just can’t turn down!

The back of Jessica’s dress. This is just the muslin, but I happened to have extra blue laying around, so used that for the sash. I’m doing a full foundation underneath with underwire cups. I’ve not done a foundation with the cups before, but it went together nicely & only needed small tweaks to the fit. I’ll used the spiral steel boning for everywhere but the cups & use multi layers of taffeta channel stitched for the cups. I’ll show that to you when I have it done later this month.

The front of Jessica’s dress. I’m going to open out the fabric over the fullest part of her bust about 1/8th inch on each side just to let some of that tension out. She’s really concerned about her small frame & large bust, but I think this design really enhances everything well. As of right now, we’re planning on applique-ing (how do you spell that?) small blue flowers around the hem. We haven’t decided on a particular flower technique, so she may balk on that at the last minute & just applique the sash.

Iris: Latin themed wedding on July 14th

Her dress is an interpretation of this gown:

Where Iris’s gown goes into the waist I had to do differently than the picture because of her bust size. There was just no way to drape & gather the lace over her bust & then not attach it into the waist seam.

Whew! All that & I didn’t get pictures of Rachael’s (July 7th) finished dress. She’s on an extended Carribean honeymoon, so we’ll see those pictures maybe in August. I also didn’t get pictures of Carrie’s gown (August 12th). I’m also doing Carrie’s 4 bridesmaid’s dresses. So, lots more pictures to come, but if I don’t come up for air until next month, you know where I’ll be.


1 Comment

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One response to “dresses, dresses, everywhere!

  1. Diane

    It won’t be long until bridal season is over, the kids will be back in school, your studio will be painted and you’ll be able to b r e a t h e.

    Your serger produces pucker free seams, no? Unfortunately, most sewing machines don’t feed evenly causing puckers. You can try:
    1. walking foot
    2. reducing the upper thread tension
    3.reducing the presser foot tension
    4. using a finer needle like a 9 and silk thread

    I have a walking foot for my 830 Bernina but when I don’t feel like attaching it to the machine I just thread up one of my oldies that have a single needle plate (no zig zag). The tiny hole for the single needle keeps the fabric from being pulled into the throat plate and results in a more even feed. Mine even have a dial on the base of the machine with a silk setting.
    I’ve paid as much as $40 and as little as $20 for these machines at estate sales. They were made in Japan from the 40s to 60s and like the more expensive featherweights, are worth their weight in gold.

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