Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wedding Dress part three - Finished!

It was with a sense of despair and the feeling that I would never complete this that I got up early and faced the front room as soon as it was light enough to see without the lamps. I had to make a decision about the back train and hadn't been able to get in touch with Jule yesterday to ask what she wanted.

When I went to bed last night, two decisions were rattling around like pinballs inside my brain: a big frothy train? A wide wrapping sash?

When I looked down at the dress spread out on the table, and laid out the folds of fabric that would cascade down beneath where the back sipper all came clear. I heard Michael Kors' voice on Project Runway saying "and what is that!? She looks like she's pooping fabric!" (he really did say this to a contestant once. Heidi said it first, but he said it most emphatically.).

I chose something sleeker, and much more flattering to the butt. Here is it pinned but not sewn or pressed:


The next task was to finish the straps and here I made the very first mistake that required unpicking the thread and re-doing.


You know how when you're knitting in the round and you do the first cast on and then "join, being careful not to twist"? and you check - and double check - to make sure that your join is not twisted? The same sort of thing happens when you are attaching shoulder straps. You have the front sewn in and you're slipping the edge of the back strap between the back edge and the narrow facing. You say to yourself "seam towards the shoulder. seam towards the shoulder." You double check and then sew it in and go over it three times - because there is a lot of stress on this point, since the dress hangs from the shoulders. And then you hold the dress up by the straps and you check that the strap seams are facing towards the shoulders and.........there it is. The dreaded twist. You can't exactly rip stitches out of silk. So you pick up an insanely thin silk needle and begin to un-pick the stitches one by one. Luckily on the re-do it looks fine. Love and care cover a multitude of careless sins (or inadvertent mistakes).

Hemming came next - all hand-rolled hems. I did get out my 1900s sewing machine that has a narrow rolled hem attachment, but when I experimented on a scrap of silk, the tight narrow hem was so stiff, like a cord, that it made what would be the hem edge stand out in a circle like a crinoline! So it was hand sewing for all the hems - the back edges, catching in the top of the zipper, the neckline edge, making a wide curve, and the yards and yards of skirt hem:


It took 6.5 hours solid of hemming just for the skirt alone. While I hemmed, I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the old version), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Johnny Depp version), Robin Hood (the Uma Thurman version), and a few assorted British sit-coms. Good stuff.

As for the sash, I'm going to wait. I'll make the waist part tomorrow, but bring all the rest of the silk with me, in case it's needed:


Now I am really and truly finished. All that remains is the fitting and the subsequent shaping and hemming of the arm-curves. That part has to fit exactly, or else make use of lots of double-sided tape!



BACK (showing hem):


Tomorrow I pack it all up and then board a plane for next week-end's wedding. I'm so excited! Jule, I hope you like this and I'll see you soon!



Melanie said...

Sophia - it's beautiful! :) You are so very talented.

Denise said...

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! I am so impresssed and I hope she loves it!!!

Unraveling Sophia said...

Thank you both so much!

Clumsy Knitter said...

Wow! I am so impressed by your talent. Thank you for sharing these posts with us (including the mistakes!). I can't wait to see how it looks on the recipient. :)

alce said...

What a lovely, lovely thing, in all possible ways.

ziarah said...

This is beautiful. I didn't even know that you were getting married, but I wish you all my best!!

I have been having some difficulties sending you the Package, with a big P. I'll try to get it in the mail as soon as possible. Sorry. I do keep adding to it, so at least it gets bigger and bigger ;)