The post you’ve all been waiting for!

I mean, I’m assuming you do want to see that little dress project that took up nearly a year’s worth of planning and postings on here, right?

So, at last: the One Dress to Rule Them All. And other handmade wedding goodness. (These aren’t the professional pics, so I may come back and edit this post to add some of those later. But these are featuring the shots that I was able to get from my family and friends. I’m also making these larger than usual.)


Full-length dress shot! This is me with my friend/honorary bridesmaid Nicole. I wasn’t able to have her as part of the wedding party, but she did the artwork for my invitations and programs, and also did my hair!

6512_10151653159422980_1480637199_nAnother full-length shot, this time from the first dance. You can see the border sunflowers a little better on this one, I think.


Ceremony shot- not the best expression on my face, but it’s a good closer view of the bodice. And Doug’s tie. And my bouquet!

This was as we were all leaving the church–and a great shot of the back!
1044856_576995665679164_1044450457_nMe and two of my bridesmaids/long-time best friends, Cassie and Julie. The headbands turned out ok after all!
1014281_576995975679133_1477030337_nProof that the TARDIS/R2-D2 shoes made an appearance! We all changed into them after we were done with the outdoor bridal party pictures.
And I’m just including this shot because I think it’s fun, even though I look like I’m posing for one of those old Sure deodorant commercials! The DJ had Doug and I do this game where we each had to sit back to back while holding one of our shoes and one of the other’s shoes, and raise the shoe for the person we were answering for. I’m pretty sure this one was “which person has the crazier friends.” (I love my crazy friends!)

So there you have it–I hope the post was worth the wait!

(In case you’re newer to reading this blog, a few quick project notes: The bodice and waistband are based on Sewaholic’s Cambie dress. I modified it to make the upper back and sleeve caps sheer, and changed the darts to princess seams for fitting reasons. The skirt is from Simplicity 2442, modified to lower the waist. I also used a lengthened version of the Sewing Cake Pavlova skirt for the tulle underlayer. And if you want to see all of the construction posts and notes and multiple muslin attempts, you can click here.) 

Something old, something new…

One last wedding-related craft post! It’s probably no secret by now that I’m somewhat of a geek. I definitely lean more towards fantasy than sci-fi, for the most part, and am a little sad that I haven’t found a way to incorporate something Lord of the Rings-ish into my wedding. (Though my fiance did comment when we were picking out wedding bands that the one he picked out looked kind of dwarven to him…he was a much bigger fan of the Hobbit movie than LotR.) However, I do very much enjoy Doctor Who on the sci-fi end of things, and am super-excited that Tempest is hosting a Whovian sew-along for the 50th anniversary later this year! But I’m getting a little bit of a head-start…

Two out of my three bridesmaids, as well as my mom, are also fans. I quite successfully managed to get my fiance interested.  And after this scene from a couple of seasons ago, how could I not include something Who in the wedding?

(Not the best quality vid, but it was the only one I could find that would actually play for me and wasn’t a fan-made music video. Sorry.)

I was originally just planning on having a little fun with my tiny TARDIS and phone camera at the reception, since it seemed appropriate.(My maid of honor and I have been having fun over the last few months with taking Instagram photos of a little plastic TARDIS in random places, so you bet that’s going to be going with me on my upcoming trip!) But when my mom noticed that I’d pinned some painted TARDIS shoes onto my “Crafty Geekery” Pinterest board, she suggested that we get some shoes and paint them for the reception! She originally said for myself, my sis-in-law and her, but I pointed out that my maid of honor would want them, too. So with a little help from Sis and a lot of help from Mom, we ended up painting 4 pairs of these!

(Wow, my carpet looks awful–in my defense, I’ve been busy packing and planning a wedding!)

TARDIS shoesThis is basically the gist of them–SIL’s look a little different because when we told her we were doing this, she really wanted shoes without laces, so she has some slip-on canvas ones. We couldn’t find them in any other sizes (especially not mine), so the other 3 pairs are the standard lace-up Keds. The fun shoelaces were our addition, and my mom, my maid of honor, and I all now have different pairs of laces to go with.

As for my non-Whovian bridesmaid…I didn’t want her to feel left out. Like I said, she doesn’t really watch Doctor Who, but she’s been a huge  Star Wars fan for as long as I’ve known her, which is since we were kids. Her favorite character is Yoda, but I wasn’t really sure how to translate that to shoes (I always sucked the most at faces and figures in art class), and we wanted to do something where I could use the same paint we already bought for the TARDIS shoes.

R2-D2 shoesSo she gets R2-D2! Hmm… I wonder how it would look if I used my seam-ripper to get those Keds tags off of the tongues?

Another batch of wedding crafts

What I’ve been up to lately:
IMG_0552#1: That tie I’ve mentioned a couple of times. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m not 100% happy with the way it turned out–the poly satin didn’t press well at all, and the interfacing made it just too stiff overall. If I was going to go back and do it over again with this fabric, I’d just leave the interfacing out entirely! I also had trouble getting the much lighter lining fabric to lie flat in the tie. But after all of that drama involved in finding solid emerald green fabric in the first place, I didn’t have too many options. I’m fully expecting he’ll never wear it again after the wedding day, but I guess I can chalk this up to a learning experience.

IMG_0551Incidentally, this is also a sneak peek of the shirt I recently finished–I just haven’t had a chance to take a decent outfit photo of it yet, but since I’m planning on taking it on the honeymoon, I’ll see if I can get a shot or two of it there!

#2: This one’s been a few months in the making. These are the table numbers for the reception, with some cheery paper sunflowers glued to one corner of each side. I can’t take full credit for this, as I had help from my mom, my maid of honor, and even my fiance! The punches were ridiculously hard to push through the paper, so he punched every single petal of these out for me. I definitely found a keeper!
flower closeup
I zoomed in and lightened it up so you could see a little more detail on these. I was amazed at how realistic they look! And it was a lot of work, but these are so much lighter than silk flowers, so I think the effect is well worth it.

To give credit where it’s due, I got the idea from the punch manufacturer–found these while searching for sunflower wedding picture ideas early in the process. I have several of these leftover, and they’ll be used to decorate various baskets for bubbles and our guest “book”. (Which is actually quilt squares that my mom is going to sew together for us.)

IMG_0553#3: The centerpieces are finally done! My incredibly awesome maid of honor gets serious props for helping me with both steps of this–we painted all of the flowerpots, and she helped me assemble them this past Saturday while we and my fiance watched the season finale for Doctor Who.  We ended up painting several more pots than we needed to, because I didn’t know until after we did it that some of the tables at the reception place could seat up to 12–I’d been under the impression that all of the tables would seat up to 8 people, and was planning for about 18 centerpieces. My math must have been off somewhere, though, because if I’d had to make that many, I wouldn’t have had enough sunflowers!


Here’s a better view of the pots–we decided partway through that it reminds us of the 1-up mushrooms from all of the Mario Nintendo games, so I can’t help thinking of that now! I’m going to recycle a good bit of this after the wedding–I plan to make a wreath for the kitchen with the flowers (also doing sunflowers in there), and I have some herbs to plant in the pots. I just need to figure out what to do with a bunch of white candles!

This isn’t the last of it, I still have a few more crafts to do, and less than 3 weeks to finish them in! So I guess I’d better get back to work!

So what’s next?

Now that the One Dress To Rule Them All is finished (yay!) and awaiting the big reveal in June, and it turns out I do have a little bit of time left before the wedding, it’s time to figure out what to do with whatever sewing time I have left between now and then! Well, I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, especially recently as I’ve been back at my retail job and have had more mental time to kill. I’m trying not to be overly ambitious because, you know, 2 months to W-day and that might take up some time. But here’s what I’m thinking…

  • Doug’s tie, of course. Which will be much easier and quicker to finish, because I can totally sew that while he’s around.
  • Honeymoon clothes! I’ve been plotting my wardrobe for that out in my head, and I’m sure that will get a post at some point. But I do have a few holes that need filling. Particularly, I’d like to make one or two pairs of shorts, and for the sake of time, I’m going to do a total cheater refashion and cut off/hem a couple of pairs of jeans. They’re thrifted jeans that I’ve pretty much only been wearing to the garden shop–one is a little too short for my legs anyway, and the other was a victim of the dryer ink disaster last fall. The obvious damage looks like it’s mostly lower down on the leg than I would need anyway. I do need to cut them long enough that I can also wear them to work in the summer, which means no shorter than mid-thigh, but I think I’d be more comfortable with that length anyway. And both of these pairs fit pretty decently at my waist, so it should do. I still totally want to test out my Thurlows on another pair of shorts, but that can wait until after the wedding.
  • Also for the honeymoon, I’d love to do a trial run of the Tiramisu dress! I don’t have too much in the stash that would have the necessary yardage, but I do have some plain navy blue jersey bedsheets that I inherited when my brother got married. They’re too big for my bed, so I’ve been hoarding them for the last few years purely for muslin purposes, and navy blue should fit wonderfully into the color scheme that’s shaping up in my head. I’d also like to knock out a quick tank top as a palate-cleanser, and I have a potential idea for a layering piece. Because you know I will be the one who will get cold on a tropical island!
  • One little secret I’ve been keeping–I did buy three patterns off of Etsy around Christmas, for some lingerie. (Which is strange for me to type, knowing that my mom might be reading this…) But if I have time, I’d like to test out at least one of them. (My fiance would probably say that I should make this first priority, but I don’t know how badly my friends will try to embarrass me what I’m getting for the bridal shower yet. I’ll find out on Saturday.)

There, that doesn’t seem terribly unreasonable, does it? I have a few things lined up in my head for after the wedding as well, including a whole lot of Thurlow work so I can try to have some actual pants that fit before the fall rolls around, and a couple of self-challenges that I’m setting for myself. One will be an ongoing project, one will have a deadline, but more on that later. The one thing I will reveal is that I’d asked Gillian for a sewing dare that actually involved, you know, sewing.   The dare she gave me:

I polled the quite biased sewcialists on Twitter, and the consensus was that rewarding oneself for accomplishing a huge and very time-consuming couture sewing project trumped stashbusting pledges. (But I promise that this will be my only cheat, since technically, the lime green silk was bought with the wedding in mind, and therefore falls under the parameters that I’d set!)

I’d considered buying something for the Pavlova, since I did already treat myself to this new pattern, I’m just not sure I have things in the stash to make both pieces.  I’d also thought that I could use it as part of the honeymoon wardrobe. But hours of scouring my favorite fabric websites turned up nothing that’s jumping out at me for it at this point. And, as Gillian put it in a later tweet, “go big or go home. right?”

So, for my sewing dare, I treated myself to the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen, and some fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics. I haven’t tried a Megan Nielsen pattern yet, but I’ve heard good things about them. It was a tough call between this one and the Reglisse dress from Deer & Doe, because that one is just too cute and it reminds me of something that Jane Bennet would have worn in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. But in the end, the Darling Ranges won out, because…

  1. I’ve been wanting a more autumn-friendly dress for awhile now–most of my dresses have no sleeves and are in summery colors.
  2. I have two weddings to attend this fall, and will need something to wear. I’m a bridesmaid in one of them, so that’s covered, but I still will probably need something cute to wear for rehearsal dinners and such, right?
  3. Even though it’s a longer-sleeved dress, it doesn’t look frumpy. Those are hard to find. 
  4. As it turns out, it’s a good thing the Darling Ranges won out, because apparently I just won the Reglisse pattern from a giveaway at Paunnet! Thanks, Anna! 

But…. I’m sorry to say that I think I’ve failed this dare.  I bought this fabric for it:

    Über-Chic Paisley Crepe de Chine - Blues/Tan/Brown

    I tried to be smart about the fabric choice, and choose a print that–guess what–already went with a bunch of things in my wardrobe! So I was thinking that I could layer this with my  brown jacket, or my brown hoodie cardigan sweater, or the thrifted tan jacket that I picked up recently,  or throw a coordinating knit top over it and wear it as a skirt, and so on. (My other choice was this adorable dragonfly print, but I realized that would require a lot more effort to work as a layering piece. I also managed to resist the temptation to further break the pledge and buy both pieces.) Also, as far as fabric choice goes, I do have a serious weakness for paisley!
    Darling Ranges
    But–and I am not blaming Gorgeous Fabrics for this, because I know the problem had to be my color perception–now that I’m seeing the fabric in person, I’m not so convinced that this is a good match for this pattern. The blue looked way more teal instead of this colonial blue, and the fabric looked brighter in general on my computer monitor. If I were to be perfectly honest, if I saw what I got in a brick-and-mortar store, I wouldn’t have bought it. And my gut tells me that if I make this dress out of this fabric, I’m going to think it looks totally granny (and not in the chic way) and I’m going to hate it. So that leaves me with two questions–what can I do with 3 yards of dull-colored paisley fabric, and do I have anything in my stash that I can actually use to make this pattern? A serious question, given that most, if not all, of my fabrics are more separates-length yardages…

    Maybe this would work better as the Reglisse. What do you think?

      The end is….

      here!!! It took me hand-stitching straight up to midnight, because I was so easily distracted while sewing, but the dress is officially DONE!

      I’m going to wait to do the big final reveal pictures until after the wedding, because then I’ll have the best pictures with my hair all done up nice and out of the way. But I do have two last detail shots from the lining, courtesy of my phone, since I’ve been working on this in the evenings over the last 2 days while it’s been too dark to use the nice camera.

      Lining narrow hem

      I did a narrow machine hem all around the lining–partially to speed up the process, and partially to practice the technique. I have another friend getting married this year, she already has her dress, and it fits perfectly other than it being too long, so I told her I’d hem it for her. She’s practically my honorary bridesmaid, so I don’t mind.


      I also have a bustle, sort of–I discovered after pinning in and partially sewing the lining that the center back was hanging past the hem of the dress! At this point, I’ve stopped caring about perfection and just wanted to finish, so rather than rip out and redo that portion of the hem, I figured no one will see it but me, so I just tacked that up and secured it under the zipper.

      I did have one tiny little mishap last night, where I was trimming a thread sticking out next to the zipper, and accidentally nicked the skirt with my scissors! I’m rather proud of myself for staying calm–it was small and hardly noticeable thanks to the zipper seam allowance underneath, so I just stuck some fray check on it this morning and left it at that. Trying to mend it would have made it more noticeable, and I don’t think anyone will know except for me (and now all of you who read this.)

      So, aside from the final reveal, that’s it! Thanks to all of you who have followed along on this massive project and left encouraging words. And you bet my next couple of projects are going to be much less complicated!

      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.

      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.

      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?