Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Wedding Dress Progress Part IV: Sewing Silk and Assembling Skirt and Bodice

Good news: THE dress finally looks like a dress! Skirt and bodice are attached (including the lining), flowers are hand sewn on and the zipper has been inserted, yeah. The only thing missing now is the hem and bustle! I can't show you the full dress before I get married (6 weeks to go, so be patient), so I'm showing you some detail shots instead.

This post will be mainly about my experience when working with silk. I used the silk for the lining, but forgot to take pictures of it. So here are some random pics :)

The skirt is without the lining in this photo. 
The silk didn't like me at all and I didn't like it either because there were a couple of hiccups on the way from silk to skirt.

1. Should you decide to gelantin bath your silk - fold it before putting it into the bucket. Otherwise you will have a wrinkly mess that takes a long time to iron. I had to iron with steam and because it took so long, the steam was condensing on the metal of my iron board and from there dripping onto my silk. Water stains!

2. If there is any writing on the selvage of the silk (like 100% silk for example) try to cut if off before the gelantin bath because it could stain you fabric. Mine did. But luckily with the chiffon layer on top you can't see it.

Assembled bodice with straps! Yes my dress is having straps, because otherwise it would fall down. There is not enough boning in there to hold it up.


3. I decided to cut my lace single layered and layed it out in front of the window. Having cut out the first piece, I realised that my silk had a purple or white shimmer depending from which side I looked. I was fretting for 2 hours about it and then found out that if you layed out the fabric the other way around the shimmer didn't change. So when looking towards the window it would always shimmer purple and when looking towards the room it shimmers always white, phew.

4. Make sure you have enough fabric - I was short 2 meters - I was just missing the last piece. And pay attention how you lay your pattern pieces down. Ups, I was just frolicking about what else I could do with that lovely leftover silk, when I realised I had layed out my pattern piece the wrong side up. I only realised when I had cut 3/4 of it. Why not earlier?

when sewing silk - use loads of pins!
5. Finally sewing! I pinned every 1" and I don't think it was enough because my seams are twisting. It doesn't show that much because I can iron it out with some steam. I french seamed all seams (silk and chiffon) and my first seam was 3/8" and my second/last one 1/4". To get a neat 1/4" I bought a 1/4" foot which has a little guide on it. I can only recommend it. It made sewing these thin seams much easier.

My 1/4'' foot - I can only highly recommend it!
Now back to the dress construction: Before I attached the chiffon skirt or silk skirt to the bodices, I washed them both to remove any starch or gelatin. I was worried about having any residues left so I did a two hours soak first and then but them (separately) into the handwashing program of my washing machine. I didn't wash the bodice to avoid getting soggy pleats.

I couldn't decide how I would attach the skirt to the bodice. My pattern suggested to first sew outer skirt fabric and lining together and then attach it to the bodice. But that meant the zipper would show on the inside. Why would you use a lining then? The lining is supposed to cover the zipper. So I sewed the outer skirt fabric to the bodice outer fabric and then I sewed the skirt lining to the bodice lining.

handstitched ribbon
Before the zipper could go in, I had to hand stitch the satin ribbon in place. It has the same color as the straps. I attached it on top of the underbust seam and when attaching it with tiny back stitches took care to only catch the outer fabric and not the lining.

I pinned and stitched the ribbon onto the dress when having it on the dress form - just to make sure the dress was falling straight. 
One last pic: The dress with it's complete lining and ribbon attached.


I'm so glad that I decided to add a train. I love it :) So thanks to everybody who encouraged me to do so. I still have to figure out how to add the bustle so that I can take the train up when we are at the restaurant.

You can't imagine how excited I am. Only six more weeks to go and I will be Mrs :) Make-up and hair have been sorted out, phew. We also had our pre-wedding meeting with the registrar which left me more confused and anxious then before.

I'm hoping to get the next post up a bit sooner now that most of the sewing is done. In case you wonder, no I'm not working on anything else other than the wedding dress, its lace bolero, ring cushion and pouch. So plenty to do! I would love to sew some dresses especially because I'm seeing all your lovely ones. But that has to wait - so keep posting and help me over my no-summer-dress-sewing.

7 comments:

  1. This is looking so beautiful Cannot wait to see the finished product

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  2. Those bodice pleats are so beautiful. The amount of work you've put into this dress is astounding. I cannot wait to see it all finished with the lace bolero.

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  3. You've managed to make the pleated perfectly symmetrical, you were really brave to deside to sew you're own wedding dress, I'm sure the result will be rewarding.

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  4. gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!!!! Thanks for the tips on silk, that must have been a pain!

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  5. It's looking really beautiful - all your hard work is definitely worth it! I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished dress in all its glory!

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