Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Hi all,

It's time for some housekeeping... which I realized and thought about while I was away from computers and sleeping a ton... Thanks flu.

But, now that I'm feeling better, I thought I'd drop y'all a line, and say that I'm alive, and will pass on more wedding dress updates this week.  I've gotten a couple things made since then, so I am going to try to write them up as well, and in the next few weeks I'm hoping you'll start to see some changes on the appearance side of things... I have buttons hanging out from forever ago, and I'm missing others, and there's this quilting thing I've been dabbling in, which I would like to post a bit about as well, so I am going to see if I can make a schedule and stick to it.  The creative juices are flowing! I can't wait to share more!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cutting and basting

This is installment 2 of Throwback Thursdays... I am attempting to catch up the blog with all the sewing I've done and somehow missed blogging about, and I figured the best place to start was my wedding dress.  So without further ado...

Trying on the muslin over the petticoat and corselette was a really good feeling.  I finally felt like I really knew what the dress would look like! And it was so fluffy! And not at all what I imagined and everything I imagined. It was pretty great. And of course, I forgot to take a single picture.

So it was time to mark my fitting changes (running and stress had made all of my measurements smaller from the waist up... Not fun. :/) and when that was done, I got to rip the muslin apart, iron all the pieces, cut them down, mark the right sides with washi tape, and then lay them out on a silk sandwich that was 8 yards long. 

The makeup of the sandwich: habotai silk lining on the bottom, silk organza in the middle, and the gorgeous shantung silk on the top layer. I pinned the layers together using superfine, very sharp silk pins, and it took a few attempts, but I finally got all of the muslin pieces on the silk, on grain.  Small victories, and pretty scrap piles! Silk at the front, lining in the middle, organza at the back. I've found so many cool uses for the scraps.  To include the bias mentioned last week for the edge of the corselette... I also made enough for the shoulder straps, hanger straps, and more!

Then came the basting. I pinned pieces together 2 or three at a time, then stitched it all together with orange silk thread, just to make sure everything would lay smoothly and come together properly. Everything stayed pinned in its silk sandwich all put away till I was ready for it, and I went from front to back, adding godets in batches. It took many many hours, but it was a strange sort of calming, if that makes any sense. I just listened to podcasts, and stitched. It was meditative and prayerful and calming, and since the rest of wedding planning was really going crazy, I was so thankful for that. 
Once everything was basted together, it was kind of difficult to imagine turning my sewing machine loose on it.  It was one of those silly things that was half-paralyzing:  I was so close to finishing this dress, without a whole lot of time to spare, and I was TERRIFIED that using my sewing machine on it would somehow ruin it.  So it sat.  For 2 days.  And I turned my attention to other wedding-y things that were demanding, like flowers. And wine choices, and vendors... So I'll leave y'all here till next week.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wedding Dress Guts

Why yes! It IS over 2 months after the wedding.  And I did, indeed, finish my wedding gown... not as on time as I would have liked, but there you have it.  When we left off, we were at 17 hours and a finished muslin.  Then came the guts... All of the underpinnings needed to really showcase the fabric and the lines and the awesome sauce nature of all of the work. I'll keep working through the dress in posts in a new bloggy bit of awesome I'm gonna tag as throwback Thursdays, looking at completed projects I neglected to blog as I was completing them.

I started from the bottom... It was like petticoat junction, except not really. I DID make one fantastic petticoat though. It was fun, especially once the colored stuff came into play. There was a red/pink layer on the bottom, then a blue layer, then 2 white outer layers. So fluffy. SO FLUFFY! You can tell in the photos that there are actually 2 pieces, the outer layers and the inner layers... It made it that much easier to get everything through the sewing machine. 
I spent about 12 hours, maybe more, building this petticoat.  It was a process to be sure, but the colors would have been difficult to duplicate in anything RTW, and I got to split the back of the petticoat and then add in even more fluff on the outer layers to help the train do its thing better.

Next came the corselette I built. The outside was a twill, and the inside was a batiste, both cotton. I used spiral steel boning in combination with steel corset boning, and I cut everything down and capped everything off. Add in soft foam cups, and we were in business! The top of the corselette was finished with shantung bias after this photo was taken to ensure that if things played peek-a-boo, it wouldn't be as obvious.

That's the quick-and-dirty version of the underpinnings saga.  My goal is to post the rest of the wedding dress construction in a couple more posts, about once a week, and get back to blogging on a more regular basis here in the near future.  I miss it! The internet sewing community is such a great place, and I have more time and sewing mojo than I have in a while so I am looking forward to blogging a bit more often.  Check in, y'all! Happy Friday!

Friday, January 23, 2015


I'm gonna jump in, albeit a month late... I am committed, y'all.

I haven't sewn anything yet this year but plans are brewing and I have a whole weekend ahead of me.  It's so exciting. And to think it started with Instagram! Leasa of Project Leasa posted a photo and said it was gonna be the year of sewing all the fabric she'd been saving for something special, and used the hashtag #sewmystash2015 and got an amazing response.  It balooned.  She blogged about it,  and every 3 weeks or so she has posted a challenge.  No rules except the ones you set for yourself, lots of quilty inspiration, and a really amazing group of sewists gathering to cheer each other along! There's even a widget, and a list of blogs... It's all very exciting.

Our first task was to post publicly a picture of our fabric stash, and here it is:
5 32 qt bins, 3 15 qt bins, and 2 of those dresser drawers. There's also a bigger a bigger bin full of WIP/UFOs, and these bins with projects in progress:

And the next task is not to catalog or sort or otherwise organize, but to MAKE SOMETHING. Y'all, I can get behind that one.  I have a rainy weekend and no on-calls on the horizon, so after spin class tonight I am going to cut some projects out and get to it.  Maybe even something with hearts.

Check out Leasa, and if you Instagram, follow that hashtag! You'll be inspired. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Muslin: Round 2

I think this is the most fabric I've ever used in a single go.  I didn't believe it when I saw someone go through 2 bolts of muslin working on their wedding gown, but I can see how now.

I am really excited about how great this is looking and how well it is coming together. The draping was my biggest concern, because the entire dress is a Frankenpattern of sorts... Iteration 3 of the dress I found tucked away in the costume shop.  The original was ripped apart to have a second life as a pattern. It became Sunset, the red dress I ripped apart to use as a pattern when I realized its muslin was long gone. You see it above in the middle layer of the pattern sandwich, with muslin round one on top and length and a train added with mostly ignored guidance from Vogue 2788 on the bottom, augmented by newspaper.  It is crazy to think that the red piece is knee- length.  It's been a journey, friends.  But the finish line is in sight.

I spent 2 movies drafting the back, and another one drafting the front.  At that point, I started to cut, and we're looking at another movie and a half there.  Then there was the scary moment where I thought I didn't have enough fabric... because I ordered everything a month or so ago.  And so there was biting of nails until I laid everything out, and it was all gravy, but with 8 yards of 54" fabric, JUST barely. The laying out muslin pieces on pretty silk was all podcasts, but I think I listened to 3? So another hour?
I pinned all of my pieces in over the course of another 2 podcasts, but these were game shows and This American Life, so I think that's another almost 2 hours. They went together very quickly because of all the prep though, so just another hour and change.  Lake Woebegone and Ask Me Another.
This dress is a yardage monster, but I think it is worth every little bit.  It is also the most time I have spent on a single garment... If we add it up, to this point, that's 5.5 movies.  Let's just say they're each a little over 2 hours long. 2.25x5.5? 12.375... 12 hours and 20 minutes, ish.   Plus another 4.5 hours of podcasts.  And the pictures you're looking at are from a fitting session that was about an hour.  So... Let's round up and say 17 hours to that point.  Seventeen.

But it's worth it.
It is, after all, my wedding dress.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Muslin: round 1

S Jon graduated and I house-sat and a million other things got in the way of sewing... Which, I know, I know, can't be an excuse for much longer but look!
The pretty! Straight grain lines! Bust points in the right places! A really great line in the shoulder piece I just kinda guessed on. Huzzah! But...

Yep.  That's a big ole gap in center back. When it wasn't a gap before. I have theories... Fluctuating weight is certainly a contribution, but so is the fact that the only "support" in this version comes in the bra I'm wearing. Which, before you ask, will be built in on the real dress. If not this one then one very much like it.  

I'm waiting on a gap in my schedule and a giant table to occur in roughly the same time frame so that I can make the muslin of the whole dress, adding a good inch to both sides of the center back seam. I'm thinking next week... And I get my schedule soon so then I will know with some certainty. 

Today marks 6 months to the wedding, and my goal is to hang this up, all finished, on or before 4 months from now. Ready set GO! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sketching and photos

I'm modifying a dress I've made before. The original dress is one I made 5 years ago, based on one made in the fifties and the most finished(think guts) dress I have ever made. I tried it on and it fits! One step down. It fits pretty well, but with modifications I plan to make, I'm going to muslin the whole thing just to make sure, with absolute certainty, that I will have he best possible fit on my wedding day.  I'm making fewer changes in different ways than I thought I would after trying on dresses, and more in other ways.
The original dress was made in the fifties, and I chronicled a good chunk of the taking apart and grading up and altering the line in a series of posts, tagged Sunset. (Click here to see those.)

Here's the original in a selfie (taken a couple of weeks ago after 3 years... It still fits! Hallelujah!!): 

And here are my sketches. 
I'll be changing the straps so they are their own pieces, keeping all the volume, and adding length and a train. Pearl buttons and maybe some pearls at the neckline and shoulders.  Lace at the shoulders and along the hem if there's any at all. Dupioni silk. A pop of color in the petticoat. 

Now, to go through a bolt of muslin for the mock-ups. 

Are you ready? I'm ready. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

On wedding dress styles

When I went to my hometown for the day yesterday to look at some wedding reception places, I decided it was important to try on wedding dresses with my mom at least once. When I found out the place that I bought my senior prom dress from(did college application stuff instead of sewing it) is selling some wedding dresses these days, I knew it was the perfect kind of full circle.

We walked in and started flipping through racks of dresses and pulling all shapes and shades of white and textures- slinky satin, soft laces, a line dresses, with trains, without trains, with straps/cap sleeves, strapless, and, of course, all different levels of poufyness. I thought I knew what I wanted, so I tried on lots of dresses with less full skirts that were a bit fitted through the hips. We pulled a couple of "princess dresses" just to rule them out, and instead we ruled them in.  I thought I liked lace, and a little beading. Turns out I'm not all that crazy about a dress full of it, and i much prefer pearls to crystally things. Those were good and odd moments of clarity. 

What I discovered hadn't changed from the thoughts in my head: 
I want to be able to move in my wedding dress. Walk freely. Dance. Not worry about exposing myself. Find a way to incorporate old lace. 

It's food for thought to be sure. I'm thinking abut how to add some pouf and change up a neckline. Sketches soon. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A BIG project

I am undertaking the biggest project I have to date because a man asked me a question. 

Jon asked me to marry him, and I said yes! 

And now, I am making my wedding dress. 

And because he promised not to peek, I get to share the journey with y'all! 

Getting married, I'm hoping, will make me a better chronicler of things, a better thank you note writer, and one more prepared for challenges ahead, and those are just the things I'm hoping will happen between now and November when we tie the knot. 


Now, let the planning begin. 

Words of wisdom, anyone?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sewlutions 2014

So y'all, 
I updated the queue. You know, that page that I've ignored for a solid... Too long to remember?
And I have posts for you. A few of them. Especially since Christmas was pretty handmade. And involved a quilt!

So here is the list from 2013. There will(WILL!) be some going back into the depths of the queue to edit and cull as well, and hopefully some more frequent posts. We shall see!

Winter 2013-2014
Corduroy blazer
Quilt for J.
Bag for Mama
Jewelry roll for KDB
Purple plaid kindle cover for my baby brother
Big brother backpack for a little cousin
Fancy dress for a feisty fancy girl(and her baby doll will need one too, of course.)
Slippers for dad

Fall 2013
Colette Juniper wearable muslin
Sewaholic Thurlow wearable muslin
Pleated yoke shirt in floral print
Colette Laurel? Eucalypt tank dress? Something.

Spring/Summer 2013
Red TNT skirt for baseball season
Red stole
Knit tees. With cute details.
Navy stripe mystery fabric skirt
Crazy floral pleated skirt
Border print pleated skirt
Bag for my BFF