Glacial progress

Progress has been made on the wedding dress (and not before time, as the clock is ticking rather too quickly for my comfort!) – but I must admit that I have been feeling just a teeny bit stressed about the whole thing and so haven’t really had the headspace to post!

Anyway, a little bit of progress news…

We have a bodice – which even just about stands up on its own!  Here without its bones:


And a skirt, not looking like much here as it’s hanging inside out to let the seams relax or whatever they might do:

I don’t think it’s giving too much away about the final product by showing these two pictures – it’s still looking pretty generic here!

With Bridal Couture firmly in hand, I have been trying to do everything as professionally as possible.  Here’s a glimpse of the inner structure of the bodice, before the top facing was turned over:

Boning channels in place (some hidden under seam allowances, and some horsehair braid stitched at the fold line.  I must say, I felt extremely excited going to buy this, having read about it so many times on Gertie’s blog, but not being much of a circle skirt wearer I didn’t think I’d ever use it.  But Susan Khalje recommends it to give a nice sharp upper edge to a straight across bodice, so use it I did!  Going into MacCulloch & Wallis I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for, and imagined something which actually did vaguely resemble horsehair – at the very least a kind of beige / hessian type of thing!  What I was actually given was  a sort of stretchy white plastic mesh (it does come in other colours too).  I felt very professional to be needing such a thing, as if I had graduated to the next level of sewist – not that my skills have improved that much!

And then we have the skirt – the satin is underlined with a cotton batiste, and I decided that because of the skirt shape (fairly close over the hips) and fabric (slippery beyond belief) I had to avoid any misbehaving seam allowances.  What levels of sewing geekery have I reached when I tell you I have absolutely fallen in love with catchstitching.  Wow!  It looks so clean and neat and is just so satisfying!  I discovered my mom’s old pinking shears and used them as well to try and limit ravelling – I love the combination of the zig zags and crosses – sad I know, but I’m sure at least some of you understand what I mean!


It is not the speediest thing in the world to do though – for each skirt seam (i.e. two seam allowances) it took about an hour and a half, but I just pretended that I was a ‘main’ in a couture atelier and enjoyed the process (trying not to think too much about the ticking clock).  When I finished all of that I calculated that I had sewn over 17 metres of catchstitched seams on the skirt!  If anyone ever decides to inspect the skirt under the lining I will not be ashamed.

Inspired by both Susan Khalje and Gertie I am very proud to say that not only did I hand baste all the satin / underling of each skirt section together but I even hand basted the seams before sewing.  I did attempt to speed things up by testing some machine basting on one of the sections, but had to admit it really didn’t look nearly as good.  For someone who is usually perfectly happy to sew straight over pins, this is a major step forward!

Lastly, huge thanks to Gertie and Denise at The Blue Gardenia – I was very lucky to be the lucky winner of their recent giveaway of a lipstick, nail polish and fabulous vintage skirt pattern – I’m so looking forward to trying it all out soon!

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5 responses to “Glacial progress

  1. Wow, all that hand stitching! It’s looking very professional and the hand stitching will make the finished dress extra special. Your friend is a very lucky woman. x

  2. Oh my GOD, this is amazing! What unbelievable patience. The dress looks as though it’s coming together superbly. Do you know what, I’ve never yet used catch stitch? I recently bought some horsehair too with a vague aim of making a circle skirt. Yes, it’s just squidy plastic, isn’t it? Not nearly as Victorian as it sounds. And surprisingly cheap!

  3. This is going to be a dress that could be worn inside out (and with all that work I think I would insist on showing the inside to someone!) Looking good so far. It will be fabulous when we can all see the finished result.

  4. Fantastic! It is truly coming along….and beautiful! You have so much patience! Please continue to blog your progress. Can’t wait to see the pix. xo

  5. It’s looking very impressive so far, all that work and handstitching will be worth it.

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