Wedding dress progress: cutting and basting the outer layer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

37 more sewing days until the wedding! Though ideally I'll be done long before that. Fortunately, I've been doing a lot more sewing than blogging, and my dress is actually dress-shaped.

In my last post I'd redone my muslin and made a bunch of adjustments. I transferred the adjustments to the original pattern and cut and marked my organza underlining with my favourite Crayola washable markers. In the couture dress class Susan Khalje has you use these organza pieces as the pattern to cut out your fashion fabric, so I started doing that. However, I noticed (fortunately early on) that the curved hem at the bottom of my dress pieces wasn't very curved. I went back and compared my organza to the original pattern pieces and found something like this:

Misalignment between organza and paper pattern pieces
The organza had distorted by several inches! This is partly because of the long bias edges, but probably mostly caused by me prewashing my organza.

My solution was to first pin the paper to the organza and then pin the organza to the dupioni. This was tedious, but it worked:

So many pins
I was very careful to cut the dupioni as if it had a nap and a right side. I'm not sure if it does or not, but I've heard that it can reflect light differently from different sides and directions, so I arbitrarily chose a "top" and made sure everything lined up the same way. Of course, grain lines are also very important, so I tried to be as careful as possible to cut it on-grain. The visible horizontal lines of the dupioni help with this, but also illustrate any little mistake.

Cutting everything with the same side up
Next, I thread traced all of the lines, both to transfer the markings from the organza to the right side, but also to baste the organza to the dupioni. I thought about using glue, but decided I had enough time to do it properly, and this way I could wash out all the marker lines and then iron the pieces flat.

More basting
I basted the front pleats into place before basting the side seam. This worked pretty well, and saved me many inches of hand stitching.

Much pleating
For the princess seams I basted everything together by hand before sewing rather than my usual lazy approach. These seams are right front and centre and I don't want any weird ripples or fit problems. I do have a weird ripple at the moment, but it's at the junction of the side seam and the empire waist, and I haven't decided if I'm even going to bother redoing it. However, my princess seams are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Hand basting the princess seams
I also trimmed these seams very carefully and did tiny little catch stitching. I wasn't this picky everywhere else, but again, these seams are right front and centre. I think it took me as long to do this 6" seam as it did to do an entire side seam.

Tiny little catch stitches 
I actually sewed and catch-stitched my entire outer shell over the long weekend, but apparently didn't take any pictures, so here's a picture of Boomer:

Sewing is boring, you should play with me
Up next: godet lace decisions and attaching all the pieces together!

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