This is the beautiful grey lace laid out on my bedroom floor being cut. As the fabric is one directional- though would anyone have noticed if I had cut panels upside down? Possibly not, but I would have known- I had to cut each piece on it's own.
Why my bedroom? Because it has a large floor area, and is carpeted. If I am crawling all over the floor to cut, please have some sympathy for my knees!
The dress has an under layer of pale antiqued pink satin. again has to be cut all in one direction- how come I did not know that before? I have made stuff up in satin previously, and cursed it as it snags and pulls, but this heavy satin from Watson and Thornton in Shrewsbury was a dream. Is sewed nicely, hung beautifully and was just amazing. The gentleman there was really helpful too. Great stock, and knew what to tell us. I recommend it!
The pattern was a vintage Vogue 2903 and in common with a lot of Vogue patterns was slightly unusual in construction.
The dress is a princess seamed dress. All very straightforward there, yes, but, there is a yoke under the neckline, and the sleeve is hung from the yoke, and the side panels, without being stitched to the centre panels. So the centre panels are effectively sleeveless, and float free, - and hang beautifully I may say- so the original instruction tells me to construct the dress and form the sleeveless bit before putting on the yoke.
Having made a toile I decided it would be simpler to make the centre panels and do the shoulder straps before adding the side panels. And it was. Much easier, and gave me a better finish. The other bit I changed, was the facing construction. In the original pattern the front and back facings are each in two pieces, which are then stitched together at center front and back. I looked at it carefully, in case there was a non straight of grain seam there, but it looked to be straight, so, I cut these on the flod instead. This reduced the bulk at the centre necklines, which helped a lot.
In this image you can see how the shoulder 'strap' sits with the side panel sewn on.
I had cut the under layer and overlocked to the lace before I started construction. This gave me much more stable fabric to work with, and seemed to be a good move.
The instructions tell you to tack the pleats in place. I did this by hand- shows just how dedicated I was, hand sewing , even tacking, is not my thing!
As the lace has a very pretty border, we wanted to use that around the hem of the dress.So this border was carefully trimmed off, and stitched on at the end, onto sleeve hems and onto dress hem.
The sleeves have a slightly unequal underarm length, which is gathered to fit on the long side. The end result looks lovely, though I had not met this before.
As the dress is very heavy I added ribbon loops from the underarms to help hang it up. It also has very wide neckline, and without these the dress wuold have fallen off the hanger in no time.
This is just before doing the lace trim on the hem, when the lady tried it for a fitting.
She reported back from the wedding- so many compliments, she was thrilled with the result, and especially that the dress was unique!
So, the other dress?
Was the littlest bridesmaid's dress.
It started over coffee and cake.
The bride could not find the right dress for her youngest bridesmaid. She wanted her to be a 'mini-me'. I am familiar with this, as my daughter requested her youngest bridesmaid be a 'mini me'. In this instance though, the brides dress was quite sophisticated, off the shoulder, and not what you really want a 9 year old in. However, covered buttons, yes we can do that, collar detail, yes, and can we tie it in with the adult bridesmaids, who are in a pastel rainbow of colours...
I made a few suggestions, and it was decided the dress should be made.
They found an ivory crepe which matched the bride's dress perfectly, told me what was wanted, gave me measurements, and left me to it!
I found a bodice in one place, invented the skirt, sorted the collar, which was to mirror the brides dress detail, and I was given ribbon to use.
and there are little hooks on the back of the bow, with hand whipped eyes on the dress, so they are all but invisible, to support the bow, or it will drop funny.
The bow is invented, and sewn together, so it did not need to be tied, and the ribbon tails left to flow free. I have seen the photos and she looks beautiful!
The skirt is part circular, and sadly the crepe stretched unevenly, despite being left to hang for a bit, It ended up nearly straight... Ah well, you cannot win all the time!
Tip for a bow like this- The sash is 3" wide, but a 3" bow looked wrong. So I made the bow 5" wide. Much better! I graded the ribbon out to the edges to look right.