Friday, 31 July 2015

Wedding Dress Progress Part V: Hand sewing and Finishing up

I'm DONE!!! Yeah, I finished my wedding dress and lace bolero a month in advance and I'm veryyyy happy with the outcome. So today's post will be the last one before the big reveal on my wedding day :) I'm mostly showing you detail shots - enjoy.

First the zip: I was very afraid of sewing the zip, as I hadn't put in a lapped zip before. Add the chiffon and the thought you are sewing your wedding dress - welcome in my world! In the end I managed with the help of very good friend (thanks Thea) who stayed with me a whole Saturday and kept calming me down. We used the free Craftsy tutorial from Sunni (thanks for your recommendation Claire!) and followed it step by step. To stabilise the chiffon I used the thinnest fusible non-woven interfacing I had - I didn't want it to show on the outside. We basted all seams before stitching. I think the result is not bad :)

I hadn't pulled the zip up completely. So there is no gap in real life.


The bodice fits tight and I didn't want the whole strain to be on the zipper. Thus I stitched a bra clasp and hook into the dress. To do so, I bought a bra extender which I cut in half and then sewed to the lining on the inside of the dress with a zigzag stitch. On the pictures the lining is folded away from the chiffon:



I then hand stitched the lining to the zipper leaving a big gap where the bra extender is. To close the dress you have to first close the "bra" and then pull up the zipper. On the next photo on the right the hook part is protruding from the dress. The eye part is hidden between lining and chiffon on the left.


The straps were attached to the back bodice as one of the last steps. That means you can see them on the inside but I don't mind. Adding them last meant I could adjust the fit of the dress before hemming it. I sealed the end of the ribbon with some clear nail vanish. I was worried it would scratch but it doesn't.


I always wanted to have flowers on my dress. They had to be very delicate to match the chiffon. I found some embroidered mesh flowers on ebay. They came as a 4m long trim from China. The flowers have a little pearl in their center and although not from great quality look super nice.


I've handstitched them along the bust band on top of the ribbon and then they are flowing down one side and are all over the train.


There are about 100 of them and it took me almost 2 weeks to sew them on. I told myself to attach at least 10 each evening and it wouldn't be that bad. The most difficult part was to attach them to the bust band and not catching the lining.

The hem was the next difficult part. I only found the shoes to go with the dress a couple of days before the hem had to be done (thanks Thea). Again it took a whole afternoon, loads of tea and loads of standing on books to get it done. I can only recommend to put straps on their right position before starting to work on the hem!

A flower on the train.
because the chiffon and silk are so delicate I decided to go for a 2-thread rolled hem that I put in with my overlocker. The rolled hem of the chiffon is white as well and matches the flowers. The lining is about 0.5 cm shorter than the chiffon.


Next, I needed a bustle. There are several different types and I went for the simplest one as for the other styles the dress had not enough layers. In my case we attached ribbon to the hem of the chiffon and lining and then a little ring onto the lining at the height of my bum.



After the ceremony the train can be bound up by just threading the ribbon through the hook and tying it, voila. In case you wonder how I will prevent the ribbons from showing when the train is down: there will be a seam ripper at my wedding :) and it will be used to remove the basting from the ribbon. The ribbon will be basted to the seams - I haven't done that yet - it's only three ribbons.

To make the dress look a bit more bridal, I sewed a white lace cardigan. It's the pattern from Kwik Sew (K3400 - here is the link to my inspiration post). I made a muslin first and added some length to the bolero and removed some curve/fullness from the front panel.


I bought 1 meter of mesh lace from ebay and found a trim for finishing the raw seams at a local haberdashery. I was all positive about it and had no worries at all about sewing with lace. Then I read on the internet how difficult it is to sew lace especially mesh lace. I procrastinated a couple of weeks and then just plunged ahead.


It took me only one afternoon to finish the bolero and had no problems at all. I used my 1/4" (quilting) foot to sew the seams with a straight stitch at length setting 1.8. The advantage of this foot is that it has a small hole through which the needle goes (I don't have/ didn't need a special needle plate). To finish the seam I sewed a tiny zigzag stitch 1/8" away from the first stitching line and then cut the seam allowance away. What really helped to start sewing was to sew a couple of stitches on some scrap cotton and then start on the lace.


Final thoughts: You can't believe how relieved I am to have finished the wedding dress. I have been sewing it since April and spent almost every weekend on it. It was a very stressful and at times desperate journey. The wedding dress was all I could think about. I couldn't do anything else because I would have a bad conscience.
I am very happy with the end result - I have my dream dress - and I'm very proud of all my hard work, but I wouldn't do it again :) The groom to be summarised it with the following words: The last couple of month were all about the dress but not about the actual wedding.



I learned a lot when making the dress and so far it is the most advanced garment I have ever made. It is beautiful and I feel beautiful in it. So I can't wait to actually put it on and say yes :)

Thanks a lot for your support and know I have started to make every day clothes again (without having a bad conscience). So you can expect to see the usual pre-wedding dress stuff on this blog again.

11 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Great to have it finished so far out. I was still sewing the week of the wedding. Totally get how the sewing consumes you. My mum would jokingly call me "the embroidering bride". Cannot wait to see the final reveal, from the detail shots it looks lovely

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  2. This has been the most interesting/exciting series of posts I have read. It looks beautiful. The trailing flowers are a triumph and your idea about the bra clasp is brilliant. You sound like such a confident seamstress in spite of your worries. Huge congratulations - I am really looking forward to the final post! Have a wonderful day wearing your glorious couture gown!

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  3. This is so beautiful! I've loved reading about how you put this all together and I can't wait to see the finished outfit all together. Best wishes for your wedding day!

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  4. Well done for getting it finished with plenty of time to spare! Now you can focus on the wedding too instead of just the dress. The little peaks of the details all look gorgeous, so I can imagine that the big reveal of the whole dress will be stunning! Hope that the big day goes well!

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  5. I'm really impressed! The sneak peeks look fab, I can't wait for the reveal on the big day. Good luck, I'm sure you will look beautiful x

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  6. Yey! Congratulations on getting it finished. To say that it must be a relief is an understatement! It looks absolutely beautiful, the flowers are gorgeous and definitely worth all the time it took to sew them. And what a great idea to add the bra hook to support the bodice! Millions of luck on your big day, and I shall look forward to seeing some photos.

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  7. So beautiful! Your dress and bolero look amazing. So exciting for your big day!

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  8. Congratulations on finishing your dress! I've loved reading about all your progress and seeing sneak peaks. It looks stunning. Hope you have a lovely wedding!

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