We have liftoff… and a little splutter

Not before time, I have (***fanfare***) started on the actual dress rather than the toile.  – I did manage to squeeze in another quick flying visit to Cardiff two weeks ago to test out the fitting of my reduced bust  – until I had tried it on Sue’s body again, I just didn’t feel able to cut into the real stuff.  So that was all good, and the organza overlay, which I recut based on the myriad changes we had already made, was also pretty much fine, so time to get on with it!

After some pretty major battles with the FEAR, and a couple of those exam-type dreams where I suddenly realised the wedding was a week away and I hadn’t started on the dress etc, I sat down for a heart to heart with Susan Khalje.  She told me to calm down and took me through all the steps I needed to actually make the bodice.  So I wrote a plan, gave myself a stern talking to and told myself that it would be much worse to have NO dress than to have a dress which was a bit less than perfect.

Then I took hold of my seam ripper and dismantled the toile.  I thread traced all the seam lines and pressed the pieces:

And then grabbed my trusty scissors and started cutting into hundreds of pounds of beautiful silk!  Yikes!

The bodice will have 4 layers – outer silk, a layer of cotton drill, a layer of coutil and then the lining.  (Plus then the organza over the top.)

I don’t know if any of you have ever worked with coutil, but that stuff is TOUGH!!  After killing my fingers on just a little practice square basting, I invested in a thimble – what a difference that makes!  Now I just keep stabbing the back of my left thumb as I stick the needle through, but at least I don’t feel like I’m going to pierce my finger.

I took my silk thread, new needle and thimble and basted away!  7 lovely  bodice pieces – I just love the way they look so pillowy, and the silk feels so gorgeous!  I love its beautiful pearly colour.  As you can see below, I added large seam allowances to the pieces, as recommended by Susan.

Real v toile pieces

After a late night’s basting, and feeling very pleased with my progress, I consulted my notebook to find out what I would be doing the next day … and here comes the stumble.  BEFORE basting all the layers together, I should have stitched the boning channels onto the coutil.  I could have cried!  Oh well, what’s a few hours between friends?  Looking on the bright side, I’ve learned a good lesson before things progressed too far:  ALWAYS CONSULT THE PLAN TO SEE WHAT COMES NEXT!

A pile of pillowy pieces

I was in Cardiff again this weekend for Sue’s hen do, so tried out the basted together bodice on her – it’s so exciting!  With all the layers, it is really feeling like a wedding dress!  Here are the pieces ready to be put together:

Bodice ready to go!

Pre hen do festivities (I’m wearing Simplicity 2497):

Anyway, I have a dress to sew (and now just 6 weeks before the wedding) – wish me luck!

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9 responses to “We have liftoff… and a little splutter

  1. You got chance to talk to Susan Khalje? How?! That is really starting to look like a wedding dress – I am very excited for you. The fabric looks gorgeous to work with. You are using lots of techniques I don’t even know of! Wow, what a learning curve. Can’t wait to hear about next steps. Go, you!

  2. Wow! What an undertaking! It’s looking good so far–good luck!

  3. BRAVA!! How exciting. It looks amazing…cannot wait to see it….and you! xo

  4. I’ve had dreams like that too, even without having any wedding dresses to make! You can definitely do this, it’s looking good so far. I’ve not heard of cotil, is it like a stiff canvas?

    • Thanks Allison! Coutil is a stiff, tightly woven fabric that is used in corsets and bridalwear it seems – apparently it comes in different stiffnesses – I have no idea whether I am using the stiffer or softer version, but because of the tight weave it is a killer to get a needle through it! I’d never heard of it either until this wedding dress escapade but it gives a lovely look!

  5. Haven’t we all make a blooper like that? My old sewing tutor used to say ‘When you are in a hurry SLOW DOWN!’ . Works for me.
    Good luck with the dress – I will be following progress.

  6. Oh I could have cried too when I read the bit about the stumble! It’s looking great though, like a proper wedding dress. I’m getting very excited, can’t wait to see the next stage. x

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