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Originally uploaded by jojof

Here are my bride (on the right) and bridesmaid.

I got a text this evening to the effect that the frock arrived and is perfect.  Since I am paranoid, this is good news indeed.  It’s a bit far to go to make last minute changes.

The paranoia comes from a couple of incidents – one where I took a tiny bit out of a bodice foundation, and that meant the difference between it doing up and it doing nothing of the sort.  The other was finishing the tie for a bodice on a very last-minute dress, and finding that it was just too wide to fit through the loops.  I had to turn it back the other way and make it smaller, then re-turn it.  This was (and I said it was last-minute) the morning of the wedding, and i hadn’t changed the clock in the sewing room to daylight savings.  I sweated bullets until I realised i had another hour.

It was done and I dropped it off early.  But I almost had a heart attack for about half an hour and now persistent paranoia.

My next project is in modification stage at the moment.  I have done a fitting and marked where the various style lines are to go.  Next I make a pattern, cut the underbodice and do a fitting of that.  Then I get brave enough to cut out the fabric.  There’s lots of it.  The skirt is a full circle.  That should be fun.

Last night I fitted the lining into Gill’s dress and fell stitched the lot.

I’m apparently mad because I love the hand stitching.  I like making the stitches, spacing them evenly, making sure as little shows as possible, and there’s just that idea of luxury.  I could have used the method for attaching the lining as per the pattern instructions, but the outside of the garment wouldn’t look anywhere near as swish.  Nor the inside.

There are only two things left on this dress – the narrow hems for lining and outer layer, and the final pressing.  Then I have to find a nice garment bag and some bubble wrap so I can wrap it to send over to Gill with my father.

I’ve started dreaming about working on it.  Which is kind of cute.

In other news, yesterday Mary-Lou and I found her fabric at the Braybrook Spotlight.  It’s a taffeta-like silk,  red shot with black.  I haven’t seen it at the Moorabbin store, so we got it on the spot.  It’s rustly, like taffeta, but without the ribs.  The texture is smooth with a sheen, it will suit the dress well.  Dupion was another option, but it’s often a bit fuzzy, and the slubby texture wasn’t quite right.

I was reading a post on Fashion-Incubator about pins vs pattern weights.  The argument was illustrated, and convincingly, that using pins to hold the paper pattern onto the fabric brought physics into play in a way that could have a material outcome on the success of the garment.

I’m a pinner.  Largely because that was how I was taught, and because I haven’t had much success with pattern weights.  However my use of pins has decreased over the last few years.  I now tend to only pin the corners, the middles of curves and really long straight runs.

One of the alternatives to pins is pattern weights.  I’ve never had much success with just weighing the paper down onto the fabric.  One problem is that when you cut out a pattern on fabric with scissors, the lower blade lifts the fabric and then things tend to move around.

However with the rotary cutter (my new best friend) one does not need to lift the fabric, and therefore nothing should move.  I tested this theory tonight with the first series of Rome and a CD holder.  It was much easier to cut the silk on the bias.  I am going to do some research on pattern weights and see what people suggest.  The Rome DVDs don’t belong to me, but I do have seven series of Buffy that could substitute quite easily.

I like to learn new techniques.  I think now that I am converted to the rotary cutter, my residual issues with weights melt away.  Advantages I see are less time farting around with pins, therefore less time playing with sharp things that might make me bleed all over the expensive fabric, and a reduced chance of damage to the fabric from a pin.  Some of the disadvantages are due to the limitations of my sewing room and my sewing table – even 115cm wide fabric exceeds the width of my table and almost of the available space in my room.  Even the most delicate of maneuvering around the table may lead to a bump which makes everything leap a centimetre to the left.   Temporary work-around is large, flat (lots of friction) objects which are less likely to move.  It worked well today.

Project progress – the silk satin is completely cut out and all the marks are transferred.  I used silk thread for those and the finest needles i can thread.

Tomorrow I do construction and another fitting.  The foundation is stitched and boned, even though I had a little brain explosion and had half of it stitched inside out.  Hooray for X-Men to keep me amused for the ripping and re-stitching.

Oh and non-amusing technical discovery of the day – the tape-measure that was purchased for the measurements is missing about 3mm from under the metal end.  I thought there was something odd about it, but it wasn’t until I was marking a seamline today that I realised that it was short.  I wouldn’t mind so much except that I used it for the preliminary measurements for Gill.  grrrr.  At least 3mm isn’t so much of a shortfall as it could be – it’s proportionally more over 1.5 cm than it is over 60cm.

I couldn’t figure out quite why there was no lining fabric in the pattern I am using for the sister of the groom.  Then I realised that it was self lined.

The lining instructions have you interface the lining sections, the bone them.  I don’t quite approve of this method, not the least as they have you apply the bones up the seams.  I am going to have a look at Susan Khalije and check what she says about bones.

Main changes so far are that I am using taffeta for the foundation, to which I will apply the bones.  This will go between the outer dress and the lining so that the bones don’t show on the outside, but are not in the lining.  The pattern directions have you interface the lining – I’m not really a fan of iron-on interfacing on silk satin.  I think that would be a) icky and b) stiff.  The taffeta has enough stiffness to substitute for interfaced silk, and I use it a lot as an underlining where more structure is required.  It doesn’t stretch, move or do anything unpredictable.

This pattern also has TWO side zippers – one for the foundation and one for the dress.  This might have something to do with the outer dress being cut on the bias.  If I attach the zipper for the foundation and lining to the dress, it might ruin the floaty effect of the outer layer on that side, effectively anchoring it to the side of the body.  I suspect I will go with the two zippers just to keep it as free as possible.

I had to buy another rotary cutter this weekend.  I haven’t been able to find mine, and I’m also missing a box of long dressmaker pins.  This lends weight to my theory that I have taken them somewhere for a project, and haven’t unpacked my bag.  I couldn’t face cutting out all the bits required without the cutter.

I found skinny pins that are a little longer at spotlight, but am going to have to make another expedition into RJ whasisname to get more pins.  What a shame.  I’m interested to see if they have silk thread in more colours – there is Gutermann silk at Clegs (in the display) but only in a limited range of colours.

Tomorrow I will work on the bride.  I need to piece the bodice parts to make a toile pattern – there’s a contrast section around the top and it needs to be grafted onto the lower section to make one piece.  The front is undergoing some reasonably heavy modifications.

I think I found her fabric – the style suits a stiffer fabric, but I am not sure about Dupion – I’m thinking something smooth and perhaps a little weightier.  I found a delustred Cathedral satin at Spotlight – not my usual source of specialty fabric but heck… It’s about the right colour and the right weight and stiffness.  And not horribly expensive.  I am not sure I will be able to find the colour we’re looking for in the right weight of silk satin, and the other option I would consider – cotton sateen – seems to come in a stretch variety but not in a regular.  It might not be quite special enough for a bride either.

Back at work.  For some reason I am much better motivated and get more done when I am at work.  Better at managing my time when I have less of it perhaps?

It never rains but it pours.

It started with a wedding dress request. Which resulted in a matron of honour for the same wedding.

Then another dress for a wedding in Toronto. My frocks go further than I do…