Friday 28 November 2014

Wedding Dress Inspiration

Today I'm going to share with you my wedding dress inspiration. I had a general idea how I wanted my wedding dress to look and I was utterly amazed when I found a dress that exactly looked like in my imagination.

The wedding dress is from Bluemarine. It is an empire waisted dress with a tulle overlay and little lace flowers at the waist, straps and skirt panels. I imagine I could also use some chiffon for the overlay and satin for the lining.

As I'm not into drafting my own patterns, I tried to find similar style dress patterns and I've found two that I have already ordered. One is a bridal pattern from Butterick (B5325)


and the other one from Kwik Sew (K3400).

Both patterns are very similar: Empire waist, boned bodice, princess seams, lapped zipper. I have never used boning before, so I think this will be a interesting experience (I only say practice, practice, practice). I really like the option that both patterns suggest to sew little buttons on the center back zipper :) If time allows it I will definitively add these because they just look so pretty. The Kwik sew pattern comes with a little bolero pattern made from lace, which I might make.

My dress will have little straps because otherwise I would be constantly worried that it is going to slip down (I only tried to wear a strapless dress once and it was a nightmare.). I'm planning to use some rose colored tulle/ chiffon and satin which I hope will enable me to wear the dress afterwards as well :)

As for the flowers, I had a quick look on ebay, but couldn't find what I was looking for. Most flowers are white and I would like to use pastel colored ones (rose, purple, yellow, green). I guess I could cut these flowers from actual lace.

I haven't bought any fabric yet as this will have to wait until I have started with the muslin and to see how much fabric (plus extra) I need. I'm also not sure how many layers of tulle I would have to use. The inspiration dress seems to have two layers. I'm getting rather excited :)

Sunday 16 November 2014

My most loved Colette Hawthorn - so far

I made another Hawthorn! It's already my fourth version (click here for versions ONE, TWO and THREE). Because I have sorted out most of my fitting issues it should have been a fast make. However, it took me 4 weeks to actually finish the dress.

Fabric: I used a heavy brocade for the shell and some cotton-silk to line the bodice. I only lined the bodice this time because I made a slip to wear under the dress. 

The slip made from yellow polyester lining.
 I wanted to make a slip for ages, but couldn't find the motivation to do so. The slip is made from polyester lining and gathered with some picot elastic. 

Embellishments: I think the most pronounced feature of this dress is the off-white piping and self-covered buttons. I bought the piping in Shephard Bush market (London). I can't remember the price but it was really cheap. I have to say the buttons were a pain to make and I actually needed Leschas help to assemble them. It took us an hour and we were both glad when it was done. For the facing and under collar I used some poplins with flowers on it. You know me, I just couldn't resist to sneak in some flowers :)

Alterations: As I worked out most of my fit issues when sewing my other Hawthorn versions, I actually didn't do any fitting this time :) I know the sleeves look really creasy but that's because I was wearing the dress with a tight fitting cardigan before. 

Construction: Because I added the piping I had to change the assembly order of the dress completely. The instructions have you assemble the bodice first and then attach the skirt at the waistline. But because I wanted the piping to be continuous all the way from top to bottom, I first stitched the front bodice and front skirt panels together and than attached the piping and facing. The pattern doesn't come with a separate skirt facing, so I drafted it myself.

It took me two evenings to handstitch the hem - I used a slip stitch - but I'm so glad I took the time because you can't see the stitches on the right side.

You can see that the collar isn't completely flat and the facing is peeking out. That's despite me trimming as much fabric on the seams as I could. I guess I would need a clapper to flatten it completely.


Finally, I just would like to thank you all for your kind words regarding my engagement. The last couple of weeks were really exciting and I have bought a couple of wedding magazines to get some inspiration for wedding dresses, cakes and decoration. I haven't decided on a wedding dress yet. But have already a vague idea in my head which involves lots of chiffon and flowers :)

Saturday 1 November 2014

Colette Moneta

Didn't I say in one of my last posts that my life started to settle after having started a new job and moved into a new flat? I guess I was wrong. Life has taken another excited turn. I got engaged :) You can imagine that I'm the happiest woman ever! 

It also means that I'm having not much time at the weekends (to sew, haha) as I'm trying to find out what you actually need to do to get married. Apart from that there is also the questions if I should sew my own wedding dress? I think as a seam stress I can only answer with YES. I haven't decided on a pattern yet. Luckily there is no need to rush as we are planning to get married earliest next summer. 

But now let's move on to my most recent creation, the Colette Moneta which is a jersey dress.

Fabric: 1.5 meters of lacy jersey. I bought the jersey in Walthamstow market (London) and fell in love with the lace pattern. Unfortunately the quality of the jersey is not very good. You can actually feel that it is low quality polyester. It keeps reminding me of very cheap bath towels. That's why I plunged ahead with this fabric to cut a Moneta before sewing a muslin.

Construction: The assembly was straight forward. I thing it took me longest to assemble and attach the collar (which also was because there was some handstitching involved, see below). The skirt is gathered with an elastic which scared me a bit. Ever since I tried to insert elastic into a leggings waistband 4 years ago (which failed), I'm a bit anxious about elastic. However, you can see that it turned out well. Despite me stretching the clear elastic to the max. Luckily it shrinked back after giving it a good steam.

Fit: I think the overall fit is quite good (as I would expect from a jersey garment), however there are still some fitting issues. I need a square shoulder adjustment. You can't tell from the fit of the bodice on my shoulders, but the collar gave me very obvious signs. It didn't want to stay flat. The edges of the collar were pulled up towards the shoulders causing the collar to roll upwards on the outside. You can't see it in these photos, because I've tagged the collar down with several hand stitches hoping the neckline doesn't need to stretch too much when putting on the dress. So far all stitches are intact.

I attached a little ceramic button at the back and tagged it to the bodice to keep the collar down (you can see the collar pulling on the left), which I think looks really cute.

I've added the pockets that come with pattern, but I'm not sure I will do so again. It's handy to have pockets, but I didn't want them to exaggerate my hips. Thus I used a thin white jersey. But the jersey is peaking out and when wearing the dress I have to check every so often that the pockets stay hidden.

One more thing to change are the shoulders/sleeves, which is totally my fault. The sleeves are too big on me and I have to take them in. When tracing the pattern I made a broad shoulder adjustment by tracing a bigger size above the notches at the sleeves and bodice pattern. I guess I don't need this adjustment for the Moneta and will change it back next time.

One final photo showing you that this dress goes really well with my wardrobe, although I have to admit that's a bit cold for me already to wear three-quarter sleeved garments and cardigans.

Will I make it again? You can expect to see more Monetas on the blog, hopefully soon. I would like to sew the versions with all the different collars and I think there are 6 in total. I'm not calling this a personal challenge, because I'm not having time for any commitments at the moment. So we will see.

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