Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wedding Dress Fancy Work

My wedding dress is taking shape. It has a bodice, a collar and sleeves. The sewing gods approve of my upcoming nuptials for both sleeves set correctly the first time, no unpicking required!
I have been doing a lot of fancy work on top half of the dress.

The first photograph is a sleeve in the flat. Rows of insertion, and rows of pintucks finished with lace edging on the hem. All lace is my grandma's; the insertion was rolled up in a box with other insertion and ribbons, neatly labelled. It is honouring to be able to use her notions like this. I am going to visit her tomorrow with handsewing to do, so we will be able to discuss my sewing, and the wedding. It is lovely to be able to still share this with her in a way, though she is increasingly having trouble remembering.

My collar also is indebted to Mama. The lace edging is again from her collection, so is the transfer, from a Semco transfer book named "Small Sprays". There was two, and it is  mirror imaged on the other side of the collar. I am assuming the book dates from the 1940s or 1950s. I embroidered on the way to and from uni, making use of my long commute. Handwork is a great love of mine. I have done it for many years now, and it is so therapeutic.



I will most likely share more detail shots of the dress as it comes together, but I won't do a full shot until I can reveal the wedding photos. Only a little over a month now.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Navy Florals

I made a dress out of one of my favourite fabrics. It;s been in my grandma's stash for as long as i can remember, and pieces of it appear in my patchwork quilt. 
This started out as a skirt, but then morphed into a dress. I made it in January, but only hemmed and finished it this week to wear to a friend's wedding.

Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Size: 12
Fabric: Navy blue with dark floral, Mama's stash
Adjustments: 
  • Skirt pleats sewn down
  • Side zipper
  • front and back bodice with centre seams due to lack of fabric.
  • bodice lined in a dark plum colour
  • waist seam finished off with bias binding
  • narrow 1/2in hem
Notions: Navy blue invisible zip, plum coloured bias tape
Wear with: Pearls! I can easily see this as a winter dress as well
Make Again: the fit isn't spot on, but Simplicity 2444 is a TNT pattern. Will definitely line the bodice again, but probably wouldn't piece the bodice together


 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Watercolour Dress

This is the dress I made  for myself to test out the bridesmaid dress pattern

As I have talked about here, it is the BHL Anna bodice on a slightly modified Simplicity 2444 skirt. As I was adjusting the pattern whilst making this dress I picked a really large piece of fabric out of my grandma's stash I was not particularly attached to. um tells me it was bought to make toddler dresses for me.

With the warm weather now I have worn this dress twice this week, and it is growing on me. The pattern is incredibly comfortable, and the fabric is beautiful, quite different to my normal florals, it's almost a watercolour.






Pattern: BHL Anna bodice with Simplicity 2444 skirt
Size: 8/12 bodice with 12 skirt
Fabric: pink, blue and green watercolour floral; grandma's stash
Adjustment: skirt pleats moved to accommodate bodice pleats and darts. Neckline and arm holes finished with bias tape. Four inches added to skirt length.
Notions: pale blue bias tape, white invisible zip
Wear With: Pink pearl set, pale blue cardigan
Make Again?: Yes! This frakenpattern is quickly becoming a favourite of mine


Saturday, 27 September 2014

She looked amazing

I finished the dress in a week. The graduation was lovely.
 
That is now all the practice bridesmaids dresses done. I haven't actually seen the other two wearing them. I simply bump into a mutual uni friend every now and again and they will comment "K looks amazing in the dress you made!"

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Refashioned Grey Floral Skirt

The skirt swamping my dress form

This skirt came from a friend of my Mum's. It was almost ankle length, about a size 22, and elasticised in back waistband.

I unpicked the side seams and kept the front section as is, then measured the back section on my dress form sewed it back together and placed a new waistband in, no elastic needed!

I then hemmed it to just below the knee, a very flattering length. 

I wore it today to uni, it's so comfortable, I will have to find more tops to match with it. 

The buttons are mother of pearl, expect the bottom two which are odd. I will replace them, and also sew another button hole; they stop about three inches above the hem, and the flapping was annoying me a little today.

So a lovely rayon skirt for free in a lovely colour that I would not have worn otherwise. 
Today's uni outfit

Saturday, 6 September 2014

A Practice Dress for a Highschool Graduation

My younger sister is graduating high school this week. She needs a graduation dress, and then a formal dress for after final exams in November. We went shopping today with Mum, found the formal dress, reminded ourselves of why we hate shopping, and I realised once again why I love sewing and thrifting over buying ready to wear.

I still haven't made my sister her practice dress for the wedding, as I was waiting for her to have school finished with. However, after the upteenth dress try on, I told her we were going to the fabric shop, and I would make it for her by next Wednesday. We found the fabric, then went back and got matching shoes.

The fabric is lovely; it's the blue colourway of my engagement dress, and I got four metres in case I want to make something else at the end.

I am so excited for this project!!!!

In other news, I finished the other practice dresses this week, been working on wedding dress prototypes and doing a lot of sewing,  not much in the way of finished items to blog. Hoping to be blogging more in the next weeks

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Practice Dresses

Before I make the bridesmaid dresses, I have been making practice dresses, firstly to ensure I can meld an Anna bodice to a Simplicity 2444 skirt, and secondly to check the fit before plunging into the bridesmaid dress material. There are four practice dresses to make, and I have now made three. The are not yet hemmed, nor is the neck binding sewn down. 
With some guidance from Roisin I was able to merge the two patterns by making myself the dress in the middle out of some old fabric of my grandmothers. I cut a 8/12 bodice and a 12 skirt as per the pattern and sewed them together. I did not modify the bodice, but then marked onto the skirt where the pleats needed to move to, then took out the basting and modified my pattern. My other pattern changes were to bind the neck and arms in bias binding, and to lengthen the skirt by 4 inches (which is much too long).

I have now measured up two of my three bridesmaids (my sister is getting a break right now as she is in the middle of exam study. I made muslins of the the bodices for M and K, and then using their chosen fabrics sewed up these dresses. They are now waiting to be tried on once more to confirm skirt length. 

M and K are my best friends. We have known each other for years, going right through school together. M and I have been best friends since kindergarten, and K and I since high school. We now all go to university together (completely unintentional) though we are all studying different things. It's been so exciting making these practice dresses for them, as they are both so stylish, and they suit them perfectly. M's dress is the red dress. She wears a lot of red, but assures me this one, with tiny brown and green flowers, is different to her five or so other red dresses. K's is the blue one, and is a brilliant party dress; it has already been earmarked to wear to two weddings this year.

Doing this process has taken away any nerves I might have had about the actual bridesmaid dresses. I am looking forward to making one for my sister, it might end up as her graduation/formal dress, or we may go the hippy route... who knows. There is just something so nice about sewing for other people.