So beginning yesterday morning and so far continuing into today, I have been sewing my dress little by little. Well, maybe the better term really is “gown”. Every so often, I will walk over to the mirror and hold it up. It really is looking quite lovely, and with the long train I am beginning to feel like I am sewing my wedding gown!
I won’t be posting progress pictures until the ball itself or afterwards since I don’t want Griswold to see the gown or me in the gown until it’s done. Ideally, not until we are headed to the ball and I have my hair all done up and my ears on and all that fun stuff. But we’ll see.
In any case, I can report on how the sewing is going in general. This is the largest sewing project that I have ever taken on. And, in truth, is the first full article of clothing that I have ever made. This probably wasn’t the best choice for a first clothes project, but we all need to start somewhere. And so far, it’s not going too badly.
About the biggest “incident so far is that things don’t seem to be lining up the way they are supposed to. This is very strange, considering I cut doubles of pieces at the same time and so, in theory, they should be the same size. Also, I don’t understand why some of the notches aren’t lining up like they are supposed to. I guess all I can assume is it’s because the moleskin has a bit of stretch to it.
Evidence of this came yesterday when I was sewing the front. If you can imagine, seven separate panels will ultimately get sewn together to create the full dress. The “front” (as in, what you can see from the front) is made up of three panels. There is a central panel which extends from the center of the neck to the floor. And then, there are two side panels, which I cut at the same time, which extend out to the sides. These get sewn together in a wavy-like manner which creates a lovely princess seam that is shaped to hug the body.
Now, as I mentioned, I cut the front side panels at the same time. And yet, lo and behold, when I pinned one side on the side panels overshot the central panel by about an inch at the hem, since I began at the top. I tried re-pinning it again and achieved the same result. So I decided to just sew it as is since I need to hem the dress anyway. I also figured that the process would be repeated with the side panel on the other side. However, much to my surprise, that one fit perfectly. So, it’s as much a mystery to me as anybody. I guess all I can assume is that the fabric stretches.
Next, I stitched together the four back panels. And for some odd reason, even though they match up perfectly at the top (meaning even the notches are perfect!) there was seemingly no way to make the hem match up with anything. Really, I tried multiple times, but it was very stubborn. So, once again, since I know that I will need to hem the dress anyway, I just stitched it up. Hopefully I haven’t created a future headache.
I remain hopeful.
The next step in the pattern is to insert lining in the skirt portion of the dress. However, I decided not to do this because 1) I have no lining fabric to use for this purpose, and 2) I think it would be better to buy or make a slip which I can just toss in the wash anyway. So, I skipped that step. Then, it says to stitch up the shoulders and sides. But I skipped that for now and went straight to a decorative element.
Something which I always find very pretty is the stitching on corsets and such. When you stitch in the boning or insert boning, there will inevitably be stitches that are visible on the outside of the fabric. So instead of just pressing my seams open and leaving them, I thought that this would be a nice finishing touch for the dress and really emphasize the length. So far, I’ve only done this to the front and will need to get a bit creative on the back. But I think that the effect will be worth it.
In order to get the right look, I pressed both seams at the same time towards one direction. In this case, since I was beginning in the front of the dress and since I wanted to cover one one little boo boo I made while stitching (which I wasn’t willing to seam rip and try again), I pressed both seams towards the middle front of the dress.
Then, after pinning the seams in so that they wouldn’t move while sewing, I began to stitch using the edge of the presser foot as my guide, since you can’t see the guide plate underneath all the cloth. I stitched the whole length of the dress, and when you look at it from the outside it creates a very nice layering illusion and makes it look very structured and formal. Then, I repeated the process on the other side, pressing the seams inwards once again to mirror the original. Not only is this a nice finish, but it also is a nice touch on the inside to keep things from coming apart. Although, moleskin, so far, has been wonderful with not fraying or unraveling. It’s very sturdy.
I’ve also pressed the back of the dress to this point in preparation for creating the same effect. Once again, I pressed the seams at the same time to point inwards towards the center of the back. The back is also different than the front in that there is a central seam which extends down the spine to the floor. Since I couldn’t decide one way to overlap to the other, I decided to press this seam outwards–like you would a normal seam on a sewing project–and I plan on creating a double line of stitching so that it is symmetrical on both sides. Tentatively, this is also how I plan on finishing the side seams.
With any luck, if I don’t run out of thread, which is very potentially likely to occur, I should finish up the stitching of the dress and the finishing of the seams in the next few hours or possibly by midday tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have work tonight from 4-8. And since I’ve resigned myself to not letting Griswold see the dress until it’s done and since he lives here too, it will be very difficult to continue sewing later at night unless he gets himself mixed up with his video games… which is also very potentially likely.
But all in all, the dress is coming along smoothly and I’m getting very excited about wearing it. ^.^