Thursday 21 May 2015

Wedding Dress Progress Part II: Pleating Chiffon and Sewing the Chiffon Skirt

Are you already wondering if I make any progress on my wedding dress?! I've started too and it helps that I have forbidden myself to sew anything else until it is finished. I still have 3 month time, but can feel a bit of pressure already.

Excuse my untidy sewing room and focus on the pinned dress please!
At least the dress is now my mean concern as we have sorted out the restaurant, photographer, bouquet, hair and make-up. It will be a beautiful day and I will be hopefully wearing my dream dress.

Progress so far:

I've sewn the chiffon skirt with mini french seams. Before cutting the chiffon, I sprayed it with starch and ironed it dry. It worked beautifully and made the chiffon crisp. So I had no problems sewing the tiny french seams. Because of the starch the dress has no drape at the moment. I hope it will wash out easily.

(I would recommend you remove the starch spray bottle from the bathroom after you are done, otherwise you might confuse it with hair spray in the morning. But I can attest that starch gives your hair a really good hold - for the whole day.)

I've pleated the center front piece. It took me four tries. The problem was that although the pleats looked ok, the center piece didn't had the right size suggesting that my pleats weren't even. So I tried different methods to mark the pleats:  I tried twice to use tailor tucks to mark the pleats and then I tried with a fabric pen and ruler to draw lines.

a mess of tailor tucks - didn't help.

Both methods should have guarantied accuracy, but still the piece was too small. Chiffon is not the best material to be pleated because it is still slippery even after starch treatment. To stabilise it I fused the thinnest fusible interfacing I had to the chiffon before cutting out and it is now really nice and even.

Left: chiffon stabilised with fusible interfacing. Right: not stabilised. Can you see the size difference?

I've gelatin bathed the silk, gasp, to make it less slippery (I was not sure if I could use starch and other bloggers made good experiences with the gelatin. I can only recommend that you fold your fabric before bathing it because otherwise you have a crumbly mess that you can't entangle when wet because the silk might tear. After drying the silk felt stiff like a board and was a mess of folds. I've managed to iron most of them out and the silk is still in one piece. Now the bad news: I'm not having enough to cut the back panel with the train. That's because initially I didn't want a train and thus bought less. But I'm pretty confident that I will be able to get more in Goldhawk Road (that's where I bought it). Now the question: should I cut into the silk now or wait until I have more?

Silk on the ironing board: Left ironed and right, obviously, not.

Together with a very motivating friend (wink Charlie) I pinned the parts of the dress on my dress form. It looks really nice, especially with the lace mesh flowers and ribbon. I'm thinking about sewing a lace cardigan with the lace you can see.

I've bought horsehair braid, boning and bra cups. Everything will go in the tiny bodice to stabilise it. I'm really scared of sewing these in. Especially because I've never sewn with any of these before. But with the long bank holiday ahead I will hopefully be able to tackle them!

PS: I'm sorry for the bad picture quality, but work in progress means mobile phone photos!


  1. Looks great! I love the flower placement. :-) Otherwise, if you're not convinced about the cardigan, you could make a shawl out of the lace, just to cover your shoulders? I quite like the dress with just the lace on the flowers as well, though - it really makes them stand out. Looking forward to more progress updates!

  2. Interfacing the chiffon makes such a big difference, it looks so much neater now! Doesn't it change the colour slightly, though? Love your dress so far, sending you loads of sewing mojo to finish it soon, so that you have time left for honey moon sewing :D

  3. Holy cow, that is beautiful! It is really coming along well!

  4. It's looking gorgeous so far! You're making really great progress. I think you're definitely doing the right thing by getting on and sewing it when you've got plenty of time left, otherwise it would probably get a bit stressful! Good luck with the horsehair braid/boning/bra cups - I'm sure if you take your time you'll have no trouble!

  5. Wow! It's amazing!! I love the flowers on the bodice, they're just perfect. Also, it's interesting to see the difference that interfacing made to the chiffon. Good luck with the rest of it, and I hope your are able to get more of the silk.

  6. Wow, this is looking great. It's going to look gorgeous on you when it's finished. I really admire all the work you're doing, it looks very precise and difficult. I think the lace will look beautiful as a little cardigan/bolero too. I love the soft, feminine look you're pulling together.

  7. Wow, the progress you have made is great. It is looking like a beautiful dress. Good luck with bodice, I'm sure with patience and still having time on your side, you will get the result you want.

  8. wooo that is taking more than shape - a long way from the orange toile - 100/100 for those pleats slippery little blighter's


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