Happy New Year, everyone! I’m pleased to report that as of last Wednesday, The One Dress is officially started for real! It may be possible that I’m feeling some anxiety about it–my dream last night was that I was in the Project Runway All-Stars finale and my entire collection was done except for this one couture dress that I hadn’t even finished getting cut out. Somewhere in the course of the dream, it shifted from this periwinkle chiffon number highly reminiscent of a certain elf dress to a very structured strapless white dress with about 10 layers. Some of the underlayers were black, and several were heavily beaded. I’m not sure how that was supposed to work. And I was frantically trying to sew it and getting nowhere fast, and had finally resolved to just take the thickest layer and the outside and serge the neckline together and flip it just so I could get something on the runway, but the serger was this bizzaro model with about 10 needles and they all kept breaking. Fortunately for my sanity, the alarm went off right around this time and I woke up.
Anyway, I’ve mainly been working on cutting out and thread-tracing all of the bodice pieces so far. I found this tutorial that suggested cutting the silk between two layers of paper so that the silks behaved more like paper. So this little sandwich is paper, organza, crepe de chine, dupioni, paper again, and then the actual muslin. This worked really well for the cutting. It did not work so well for the pinning or the marking! I discovered that apparently, even the waxed tracing paper of awesomeness has little effect on paper plus 4 layers of fabric, and I had to resort to doing the stitching for the thread-tracing/underlining attachment through the paper, where at least I could see the impression of the lines, and then trying to tear the paper away as carefully as possible.
Can you see those stitching lines? Yeah, me either. And this was with purposely using a slightly off-colored thread. So I’m thinking I’m seriously going to have to hand-baste these together before stitching for real to make sure that it all actually does stay on the lines. (And yes, I know this looks kind of wrinkled–believe it or not, this was after pressing the dupioni. At least this part will be covered by the lace. And I am going to attempt pressing it again on the smaller scale before sewing, I think.)
I’m actually doing a 4th layer of underlining as well that’s just the straight-up organza, so I can sew the boning to that before I add it to the bodice, and then just hand-tack it to the other layer of organza. I was originally thinking of doing the organza sandwich anyway for the corset-ish layer, but I figured the crepe de chine would help with opacity. This part was cut out on Saturday, and I just finished the thread-tracing on that this afternoon. This time, I did one layer of the paper underneath, and the muslin on top, and the pinning, marking and paper removal processes went much, much better. I think my paper is too thick for the job, but it was the only stuff I could find that was wide enough.
Note to self: I should probably sew that layer wrong sides together, so the seamed side is what’s facing me.
I did cut out one piece of the skirt/underlining, though I haven’t marked it yet. This was solely for the purpose of giving my brother some video footage–he’s making the video for the wedding, since he’s had some experience in filming and editing those while working freelance for a local professional photographer. (We couldn’t work with this particular photographer, though he was our top pick for awhile, because even with the slight discount we would have gotten from hiring my brother, the prices were way out of our range. But my brother still agreed to make the video, and I am quite thankful for that.) Anyway, he wants to include some video of me making the dress. Hopefully that one piece will be ok–I had the center front pinned on first, but had to pin and cut one of the side pieces instead because the center front line on the muslin didn’t mark right about halfway down, so I had no grainline to work with.
Just for fun, I’m keeping track of how long it’s taking me to make this dress. So far, I’ve put in nearly 17 hours’ worth of work on the cutting and thread-tracing alone! I’m going to see how far I can get on cutting and marking the outer skirt pieces tomorrow, and I still need to cut the necessary pieces from the nude organza, but I’m saving the lining and lace for a little later into the process. I’m not going to need the lining for awhile, since I’ve got a rather complicated bodice to construct before I can even think about adding that–my Bridal Couture book recommends hand-stitching the lining to the bodice anyway. And before I can do that, I’ll have to add the lace, and figure out how best to deal with the organza/lace only section. As far as that goes, I’d prefer to wait until the main bodice is constructed so I can stick that on my dummy and drape the lace over it so I can play with pattern placement. I just don’t want to wait on the skirt entirely, because if I underestimated the amount of dupioni that I’ll need, I need time to order more!