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.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Engagement Dress

Much has happened in the two months since I last posted. Most importantly, I got engaged at the end of May. First up is my engagement dress, which first appeared in this post. It was still sitting at home unfinished, and I was intending to leave it until next summer, but at the end of May we had a heatwave, and knowing we would probably get engaged that weekend, I hurriedly finished it to wear that night. There are no pictures of me wearing the dress; we made a decision not to take any photos that night, and now we are in winter proper, so dress form it is.
This is Simplicity 2444, with cap sleeves as per the pattern.
My only modifications were in the finishing. I French seamed everything expect for the armholes, which I finished off in bias tape. I also folded under the raw edge of the fabric under the zip and stitched it down, as I do with all my zips. This is the make I am most proud of in it;s finishing, and the beautiful fabric makes it a clear favourite, especially now with the lovely memories attached to it.
The morning of the engagement my Mum and I went to the Fabric-a-brac where I made some fantastic purchases, including a blouse length of liberty, and 4 1/2 mtrs of Liberty (which I did not realise was it til weeks later). It was lovely to wear a handmade dress to a fabric buying market. I then left Mum and headed into the city, where I met C and we had a lovely evening culminating in a proposal on Observatory Hill overlooking Sydney Harbour.
We are getting married this December; neither of us like the idea of a long engagement. But there is much sewing to be completed before then. Yes, I am making all the dresses. And a fair bit of decor. My sewing room now has sixty pieces of bunting sewn up.

We are going for a vintage theme, which works well for our reception, in my Mum's garden using our overly extensive crockery collection.I am joking that the theme is also "floral fabric" as I am also hoping to make a large dent in my grandma's fabric scraps in the next months. Besides bunting, I am looking at table runners, and fabric flower bouquets.

For the dresses, we are going simple. I already have the fabric for the bridesmaid dresses; myself and two of my bridesmaid went shopping and found a fantastic floral for $6/mt. We bought ten metres, so I will probably get myself a garment out of it as well, which will be a nice memento. I start fitting my three bridesmaids next week, and am making them up practice dresses as well, so we don't destroy the real fabric. The bodices will by BHL's Anna, and the skirts Simplicity 2444.

My own dress is a more complex affair. It will be an Armistice blouse for the bodice on a skirt that currently in my head seems to be an eight gore tea length with horizontal bands of insertion. I am beginning my muslin of the blouse now, so the design will probably emerge. I am looking forward to trying a lot of new techniques: insertion, drawn thread work and pin tucking.

So they are my sewing plans now until December. It will be a busy time, but it has meant my sewing room has had quite the makeover. I will be blogging much more regularly as well. Much of it will be wedding related, but I am hoping to squeeze in a few other sewing projects, as well as share outfits, and other nice vintage pieces.