in the spotlight

It was definitely a surprise to me to hop on Feedly this morning while practicing some scales (I know, bad musician), and see my own wedding dress pop up! Jessica from Needle & Cloth kindly decided to feature me in her Daily Spotlight series that she just started– we’ve virtually gotten to know each other a bit over the last several months, as she’s also in the process of making her own wedding dress. And I’m quite honored to be featured there, as my little blog is one that generally keeps to itself!

An update about yesterday’s sewing machine fiasco: Should the worst case scenario happen and my trusty Bernadette (aka Bernina 1280) has to go off to that great sewing machine repair shop in the sky, my mom has kindly offered to let me keep the machine that she’s lent me for dress-finishing purposes. So I won’t be machineless. Which is good, because I’ve gotten all spoiled on nice machines and my eyes may have been popping out of my head a little to look online and see what it would cost to get even the most basic of my brand new! I’m planning to take Bernadette to the shop on Friday and see if I can get an idea of if she’s fixable/if it’s too expensive to bother. I did some price comparisons to see what it would cost to get the same model machine on eBay so I have a better idea.

good news, bad news

The good news: There is a possibility that I could conceivably finish The Dress this week. Next week at the latest.
Back w/ hangers
I took this pic on my phone, which may be why it’s not cooperating to orient right, despite having tried to fix it on Flickr. So ignore the gravity-defying act. You can’t really see it too well in his shot, but there’s ribbon hangers on the dress now– I wanted to reduce the strain on the lace when it’s hanging. The bodice is now fully lined, and the back has its hook and eye. The waist stay is also half sewn-in, along the bodice lining edge, which means the tulle is in the skirt as well.

I had an unexpected day off today due to a freak snowstorm (yeah, that’s right, it’s been spring for almost a week and NOW we get snow?), so I spent a good bit of time sewing the skirt lining together. It’s currently the second row of stitching on one French seam + the hem away from being done. And this is where we get into the bad news: I currently don’t have a working sewing machine. It was the weirdest thing. I finished the first half of the French seaming process, minus the back seam to make pressing easier, turned the machine off to go eat lunch…and then I guess it decided to go on strike, because when I came back, it wouldn’t turn on again. It had been working perfectly fine before that, so I really don’t understand what happened! I tried it in a couple of different outlets, checked all the plugs, etc. My mom had a spare machine that I could use to continue sewing, thankfully. But my dad, who is pretty good with mechanical things, took a look at it, and he’s pretty sure it’s an electrical issue. And not just a blown fuse. So I’m going to have to run up to the closest repair shop sometime this weekend and see if it’s a fixable one–which makes me rather nervous, because I’ve gotten rather spoiled on my hand-me-down Bernina, and if it’s not fixable, I’m not sure how I’m going to replace it!

the end is near

I have to admit, I was feeling a major sense of burnout near the end of last week. Realizing that I’ve been working exclusively on the same project for a solid six months was kind of bothering me, as was the feeling that I’m missing out on a lot of online sewing world fun with all of the new pattern releases and sewalongs and such. I’m really thankful for all of you who have still been following along with me on this project, leaving comments, and generally not getting bored by all of my in-progress posts!

I’m also thankful that I waited until this stage of the project to cut out the lining, because although cutting out is usually one of my least favorite things about sewing, it did make it feel like a bit of a fresh project.

I still have not sewed on that hook and eye. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, I should do ASAP because of what I have been working on today. But thanks to a day off of work on Tuesday, and again today, I have made some noticeable progress!
IMG_0511I did decide that some tulle to help give the skirt some body would be necessary. My original plan had been just to do a gathered rectangle with tiers, but I woke up on Saturday morning with the thought that I should probably keep the bulk down as much as possible. So the logical conclusion was that perhaps I should think about more of a circle skirt. Since my drafting skills are still rather abysmal, I decided to break out my Pavlova pattern that had recently arrived in the mail, and just trace that out in a lengthened form. It seemed to work pretty well, and when I pinned it into the dress and tried it on, it added just the right amount of poof! Of course, since I bought the tulle with the assumption of gathering and needing a lot of length, this means I have probably 8 yards of white tulle that will now need to go into the stash!

From my “Fashion Inspiration” pinterest board

Maybe I should consider making something like this? I mean, what else am I going to do with a bunch of tulle, since the decorations are already pretty much set? Anyway.

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I also still need to put a waist stay into the dress, which I’m also going to use as the waistband in the lining. I want to sandwich the tulle between the skirt lining and the outer dress, so to make it easier later, I just went ahead and zig-zagged it to about the center of the petersham ribbon. I figured that would allow for a little more give, and still give me the space to hand-stitch the bodice and skirt linings to the waist stay. Notice that I did manage to get the hooks and eyes on that, but I ran out of time for the dress at that point. Plus I kept dropping the eyes. I think I still have two of them buried in my carpet somewhere.
IMG_0514I got the lining all cut out on Tuesday (with more leftovers to use up later, dangit!), but totally cheated on the couture end of it–no thread tracing this time, I just stuck my seam allowance guide on the scissors, pinned on the muslin pieces, and went for it.  (Note–this was my first time using it, and it was pretty nifty.) I did use my tracing paper for the neckline and darts, but that was it. And then last night, I didn’t have a whole lot of time, but I tried the half hour sewing session thing and managed to get all of the bodice lining pieces sewn together. Today has been mostly  finishing seams and pressing so far.

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Which leads me to its current state. The lining is pretty sheer, so things like the tannish woven selvedge that I left on the one side of the bodice as a stable edge are showing through. Oops. But by this point, I’m not bothered enough by it to undo the catch stitching, trim it off, and redo it. Hopefully between that and the tulle, my skirt still won’t be too see-through…

Pictureless update

Just a quick update post:

I finished the last of the 23 lace appliques today!

I also put it on Donna, and it looks like I don’t have to tweak the hem. Whew.

Now, I’m one hook and eye away from finishing the outside of the dress entirely. Next step: Figuring out how to do a waist stay and tulle petticoat, while still leaving room to attach the lining to the waist stay, because I also figure that can substitute for the waistband piece on the inside and therefore add one less layer.

Also, it’s a good thing I wasn’t planning on sewing last night, because all of the brouhaha about Google Reader shutting down was very distracting. Thankfully, the Twitter sewcialists were quick to point out options for those of us who used it for our blog reading. (Of course, this does make me wonder if Blogger will be on the chopping block at some point too…)

Edit: I’ve started using Feedly and like it so far, but for those of you who use Bloglovin’, here’s how you can follow me on there:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hemming time!

IMG_0500As of last Thursday, the outer hem of the dress is done. It ended up being a bit of a process, since as you can see here, I didn’t do the greatest job of adding equal amounts of fabric to the skirt pieces. Fortunately, I had a little more seam allowance to work with than I’d originally thought, because I did end up getting talked into getting a different pair of shoes. Which are far more comfortable than the original silver ones, and have a lower heel. They’re also dyeable, so I’m wondering what color I should turn them into after the wedding! It’s not often my extra-wide feet will allow me the luxury of colorful shoes! I’m thinking maybe teal, because I do wear quite a bit of that.

IMG_0502I decided to use horsehair braid for a little extra body to the hem, and I also decided to use some lace on the inside to even up the hem allowance–it varied from about 1.25″ to maybe 6″! And my horsehair is 2″, so you can do the math. It didn’t take too terribly long to add the lace, since I did use the machine to attach it the the hem allowance and only needed to hand-sew the actual hem. After all that and the extra bulk of the horsehair, it did end up being a little too narrow of a hem to encase it completely, but it was pretty close and it really just looks like an extension of the lace. Since this is basically functioning as hem tape, I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on the lace, so I was pleased to find this vaguely sunflowerish pattern at Joann’s that was the same width as my horsehair.

IMG_0503After pressing, I concluded that I do need to do some tulle underlayering. The skirt does need a little poofiness–see how it caves in on that left side, which is actually the front? I also discovered that the seams do show through in the light, which means my legs will too, so hopefully that plus the lining will add enough opacity to counteract that.  Hopefully I can figure out how to sandwich it in without adding too much bulk in the waistband–I’m thinking maybe some tiers are in order. I also need to figure out how to make the waist stay, and what the best way is to deal with that and the lining.

Friday’s project, other than pressing, was to pin the sunflower appliqués that I’ve cut out around the edge, about 3″ from the hem. I was able to space them pretty evenly, but seriously overestimated how many I would need–I used 23 and cut out 40! But at least it gave me something to do during tv time. And it also means I can give you a sneak peek of what the final project will look like!

IMG_0506Ta-da! Please ignore the mess in the room, aka wedding planning central, and focus on the pretty dress, ok? The sunflowers can’t be seen too well, but they’re mostly only pinned on for now anyway.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to sew all of these on–as of the time I’m writing this, I have 4 done, and after the first one, I figured out a way to work on multiple flowers at the same time by doing it in rows. It’s also easier, because I don’t have to rotate the skirt and can work in vaguely straight lines. The difficulty is that I got called back to my garden shop job, starting tomorrow, so my sewing time has to cut way back after today. (I’m quite thankful I’ve had these 2+ months to get this far, or I’d be freaking out!) So I’m not sure when I’ll have anything worth posting about again, until this part is done. In the meantime, I need to ponder what to do with the 3ish yards of this sunflower lace that I still have left! Any suggestions?

First finished project of 2013! Finally!

Obviously, it’s not the dress. Given the status of the last update, the only way that would have happened is if I had some talking mice and some friendly birds come in and finish it for me while I was stuck doing chores. But I’m not Cinderella (my feet are way too big, for one), so that didn’t happen.

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What I did finish was a knitting project. Nothing too exciting, just a striped scarf made from leftovers of the hat I made last winter, at my rather patient fiance’s request. This has been one of my main go-to projects for tv hangout time with him over the last several months, as he knew I was making it and I didn’t have to hide it. Unlike a certain sewing project.
As far as technique goes, I did learn a couple of things from this scarf:
1. I really don’t understand how to join short pieces of yarn. I guess I could have just started knitting it, but I was afraid of unraveling, so I ended up knotting everything together. Which I’m almost certain is “wrong”, but at least it’s more likely to hold together should he decide to throw it in the wash.
2. My ends-weaving skills need work. I was left with lots of little frayed bits, which I wove in as best as I could and then trimmed off. Again, I’m not sure if this is “right” or not. (But I’m pretty sure it’s not.)
IMG_0510It was a fairly decent stashbuster– I basically knitted it until I was close enough to the end of the green yarn that I wasn’t entirely certain I’d have enough for another round. I have just enough left to use as a small amount of stuffing for something. (Can you use yarn as stuffing? I do want to make some pillows for the house…) I do still have a decent amount of both the black and tan left, so I’ll just need to figure out what to do with it.