As I mentioned in my first post, it was difficult moving on from the first toile to the second, partly because it felt like I had loads of alterations to do, but mainly because I didn’t really know how I was going to do them, or have a really firm idea in my mind of how I was going to get this dress to be a couture wedding gown (well, a girl can dream, can’t she?!) rather than a homemade hodgepodge.
Enter my new best friends, who will be holding my trembling hand along this journey:
I ordered the Bridal Couture CD a few months ago, but when I first read through it, it was all a bit much to take in. Now though, since I have more of a concept of The Dress, it all makes sense, and I got really excited about all the hand-sewing, underlining etc which will make this dress special (positive thinking!).
First though, I needed to take my sorry-looking yellow bedsheet to the next level, as well as create the organza overlay pattern.
I should take a small step back and explain that having zero drafting experience, I had cobbled together the strapless bodice from this pattern:
and the panelled skirt from this pattern:
plus added a train on to give this:
Back view before dismantling
What you can’t see here is that I made the beginner drafter’s error of only adding the train shaping onto the two back panels, so before dismantling the toile I took 15cm off the length of the train and altered it so that the grading started from the side seams. I also added 15cm onto the whole length of the skirt to accommodate wedding heels, and eliminated the seam from the front skirt panel.
Then I had to draft the organza bodice overlay – the skirt will be the same as the main skirt, but the overlay bodice is sleeveless rather than strapless. Again, no drafting experience, so I started with this to get a neckline and armscye:
but I had to change it to a) make princess seams, b) eliminate the side seams and c) have the back v meet the top of the main bodice, all while trying to get the two layers of princess seams to match. This took me ages, and a lot of stress and fear, but eventually I ended up with this:
Next, some jiggery pokery to add seam allowances and then refit to the adjusted toile bodice.
I made toile v2 out of polyester satin which I underlined with calico, with a polyester organza overlay. Believe me, this is nothing like the real thing!
To cut a long story short, when Sue tried on the polyester bodice toile v2, it wasn’t exactly perfect! She didn’t have a strapless bra, it was too tight in various places, and gaping in others. We adjusted the organza neckline to be rounder rather than a pure boat neck. Oh yes, and the whole effect wasn’t helped by the fact that I sewed the seams on the right hand side of the bodice on the outside rather than inside – it was quite late at night by this stage (too much Bury St Edmunds chilling / procrastination). On the plus side though, the princess seams almost matched!
Just a few (!) adjustments to be made:
What a mess!
I’ve now decided to get round the potential danger of back bra-show and bridal weight loss by trying bra cups in the dress instead. I bought some at Maculloch & Wallis the other day – now I just have to find out how to put them in. Does anyone know any good tutorials?
I have also decided to whizz over to Cardiff this Friday for another toile fitting, this one including bra cups, bones, seams on the inside rather than outside, skirt…
Breathe, Nancy! It’s all a process…