Saturday, 5 March 2016

Three months to go - arghh!

Yes,  it's now three months to Helen's wedding. The time has passed very quickly and I'm a bit worried (I can't say I'm panicking etc as Helen reads my blog!)

Obviously, I'm not going to be saying anything specific in my blog at this stage but I'm writing notes for myself and thought I'd share some here and update on my progress. This is again a rather photo poor post.

Wedding dress design
I think we've more or less decided on a design.
Last week I was really upset as Helen proposed an alternative design - or two. I felt I had insufficient time to be still dithering around. In addition, I had a toile that she hadn't yet seen far less tried on.
  • I really didn't have the skills to create our previous design
  • I didn't like the toiles
  • I modified the toiles, made new versions, and still didn't like them.
  • I prefer Helen's latest proposal (and it really has to be her last proposal, too!). It's altogether more Helen. I hope I can produce it.
As David said, if we had come to the stage of rejecting it designs in another 2 or 3 weeks we would have been very much worse off so best now.
My last toile had issues with the way it hung and I'm trying to modify that, helped by both Rory and Dan. Rory has been the main help but Dan was able to help with the specific skirt issue.
I think I can say the dress is long and as Helen is so tall that's very long indeed. I've had problems controlling the pattern and the fabric. I've decided that once the pattern is finalised and properly trued etc I will have to put it onto board as that's more stable.
Helen really wanted a full working model, still a toile, by Easter. I'm not sure I can manage that because of the issues I've been having.
However, tonight I finished the 4th toile, after some alterations for hang had been made to the toile last time and transferred onto the pattern.
I haven't got everything right but it has potential. I have a number of sewing skills to learn!
I sent Helen a quick photo on my camera and she loves it, other than the colour of the toile! Pink this time.

Cheap satin back crepe/duchess satin used as toile fabric
The bridesmaid dresses are in satin back crepe or rather crepe backed satin and I bought a lot of a much cheaper variety to use as toiles for these and the wedding dress.
Bad news.
The fabric was a gorgeous colour. A beautiful blue, which I loved. That was the only positive.
Firstly,  sewing seams:
As I sewed each seam, I improved. The puckering that I had at the start got less. I found taut sewing helpful. I used my dual feed but not my walking foot. I didn’t need the walking foot too - is an actual walking foot better than dual feed?
Oh dear! This fabric just wouldn't take a crease. After I had pressed it all, I felt I might as well not have bothered. Dan showed me that using a block of wood can help.
I hope my final fabrics are less troublesome!

Bridesmaids dresses
The design is decided.
  • The fabric is bought.
  • I have underlining fabric and thread.
  • The pattern for my oldest daughter is redrawn after she tried a toile on a couple of weeks ago. She's coming up at Easter and I hope to use that nasty blue fabric to make a full working toile.
  • My middle daughter hasn't got back to me about hers as yet. I believe she’s trying it on tomorrow and her sister will try to fit her into it. I’m happy to get it at Easter but would like to know if it’s close or a long way away!
  • Also, no more weight loss - or gain!
Dan has been very helpful and continues to be there for help and advice.

Groom's waistcoat
  • The design is decided
  • The toiles fitted and modified
  • Pattern drawn, including separate lining pieces
  • Fabric and lining bought
  • Thread and interfacing bought
I'm starting the actual waistcoat on Thursday coming. I hope to have it ready for Easter when H&A come up.
I'm pretty calm about it.
We still need to decide on buttons
Lyn is my advisor here.

MOB outfit
No, I still haven't completely decided.
I have two dresses in progress - I need to create a dress for my final course work but may not actually wear either if I can buy an outfit. So far I've been totally unsuccessful though. I went shopping with my mother this weekend and she saw what might be the perfect outfit for her. The size wasn’t quite right so we are going again tomorrow to see if we can get a different size.
I've decided against using the Indian dupion silk as that's a bridge too far at this stage

First dress:
A variant of a dress I've made before so no surprises.
I decided to make up a toile in case I've changed sizes a lot. I've drawn up a new pattern and have cut it out. I'm using the fashion fabric as I'm aware that different fabrics behave differently.
There are a few variations,  to ring the changes.

Second dress:
This will be my actual course work dress. I've hacked a pattern from a dress (following a pattern hack class run by Dan and Rory) that fits me and which I like. I've drawn it up and need to try it out in similar fabric. I probably won't wear this for the wedding though as I think the fabric I've chosen is a bit dull for a wedding, though I do like it. I couldn’t find one that I thought was ideal.

Lace jacket
I thought I would make a lace jacket. I thought this could be nice with the dress, though wasn’t sure. I've never sewn with lace so decided to use some lace I picked up in a fabric and pattern swap at the recent Dewsbury Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up.
It hasn't turned it as I expected.
I used xxxx. Tissue fitted. Modified to size, with help from Lyn. I can never fit myself! Can anyone?
The sleeves were huge! I ended up narrowing them by a LOT. I took in by at least six inches at the wrist, gradually narrowing to zero just above the elbow.
The jacket,  or is it a cardigan, is rather too short and too boxy; I need more waist shaping.
I did find the lace a little difficult to work with.
The biggest issue was that despite being careful, I still managed to cut out two left sleeves!  I didn't have enough fabric to recut (though if I'd realised how long and big they'd turn out,  maybe I would've). Lyn helped modify the sleeve to allow it to be used. There was rather a lot of sleeve cap ease. I struggled to insert the sleeves and was pleased when Lyn inserted them for me.
The pattern used scalloped lace and mine wasn't so this wasn't so successful. I had to do narrow hems all around.
I still have to finish the front band and overlock the sleeve/shoulder joins. I’ll post a photo after that.
Okay, I've finished edges. Sleeves are still too long . I need to add a fastening at top. I thought I'd post today, though, since we agreed at the Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up that today we would show an item we had made from fabric from that day. I hope mine counts as this wasn't purchased fabric. 

I don't like the end result and won't be trying to make one for the wedding.

So I don't have a jacket
Do I need one in June?

My organisation of pattern pieces, order of piece number etc is very poor. I don't seem to learn - it's caused a few problems.

Mats and tables
My large cutting mats and new rotary cutter have been invaluable. I need to make sure I have enough new blades for the actual projects.
I learned at class that the tables there are padded for pattern cutting and rotating darts etc. I'll take the hard surface of the mat any day.
Blades and shears
I'm much better at the rotary cutter than scissors. I need to buy more of the larger blades. When I get around to cutting the wedding dress I don't want this to be a problem

Missy is just not cutting the mustard!
I was very pleased when we modified the dressmaking model to fit Helen. It seemed pretty close. This was important as Helen isn't here to try things on. I have posted toiles back and forward in the past but don’t think that will work in this case.
I think the problems are as follows:
  • The shoulders don’t collapse and are pretty wide
  • The shape of the neck and shoulders isn’t quite right and cannot be modified
  • The model body just isn’t flexible enough - I actually tore a seam trying to get a garment on
  • Missy just isn’t tall enough despite all our changes. Okay for a shorter length dress but not for a full length dress.

I'm rather behind, I'm afraid. Largely with the written work rather than the practical,  though.
Next weekend I plan to catch up. I’m away for the weekend but will have some time to play with. I will visit the spa, of course but instead of reading another crime book, I’ll do some written course work. i’ll take my laptop.

Golf Committee Work
We had our annual bridge drive last week and it went well. I was working very hard on this so now that it’s over, my time should hopefully be less pressurised.
We are also collecting the membership fees. I organise that (but just pass the cheques onto the treasurer) and also have to print out the membership cards. The bulk of them have now been dealt with. There are still a few straggler clubs and I’ll have to post out their cards (not yet printed as I only did enough to take to the bridge drive)

I've missed a lot of golf because of trips and visits . I just have to accept that until after the wedding.

I’ve finally managed to restart the medication that disagreed with me previously. I’m on a lower, half, dose and not on the other medication which could have been partially implicated and don’t have any significant side effects - so I’m planning to increase to the full dose next week.
The medication takes 3 months to work - so with any luck, I should hopefully see a difference by the time of Helen’s wedding.
I find a lot of consecutive sewing hurts my back and shoulders although I do move around. That’s why I’m writing this post - I don’t want to do any more sewing tonight.

I feel I’m on target.
I have good help available when I get stuck - and am more than happy to read, research, experiment etc though as time left gets less I’ll be less able to do that.


  1. Oh Anne - I don't know how you keep going! I would be a nervous wreck....or, no I wouldn't as I would not commit to doing all this sewing.
    As for the jacket in June. If it were me I would say yes. It's more formal but perhaps if there is no church involved then informality will be fine.
    The work you have in front of you is incredible so my best wishes are winging their way across the wee pond for a good outcome.

    1. Thank you, Joyce. It is a church wedding. I've asked about having a jacket made for me. That is maybe the best option.

  2. What a lot you still have to do - quite a few sewing stints ahead of you. Make sure you clear your diary for the last few weeks - and don't forget to instruct the ladies to wear the shoes and the bras they will be wearing on the day to all fittings. These alter the shape of the garment - even heels. I'm sure you already know this, but just in case...

    1. Thank you, Sarah Liz. Your comment about shoes and bras is very pertinent. Helen has her shoes but is trying to get them lowered which will have a big impact on length. The other thing which did that was adjusting waist position - for some reason the skirt became so much longer! As the waist was too short previously I don't get how adding to it to bring it up to waist level means the skirt seems several inches longer at the hem! Mind you, that's on Missy not Helen.

  3. Phew. I still can't believe how much work you are doing Anne. I love both the fitted dresses you have made for yourself and I think a lace jacket would be a really nice item to have just to notch your outfit up a bit. I got married in June and my son in September and both dates were sweltering. But you never know!! I am so excited to see the wedding dress once it's done.

    1. Thank you, Kate. I was married in a cold and wet July, Alison in a less than summery August - so, as you say, you never know!
      I don't like this lace cardigan (I've decided it's a cardigan not a jacket!) but I've asked Rory to make me a jacket, originally thinking of the doupion silk, but I also have a nice piece of heavier lace in the cobalt blue. I haven't thought of a suitable style. I only have enough lace for either a dress panel (was thinking of centre panel of lace over crepe) or a jacket - not that I would want both together, anyway. I could do the lace panel and have a plain crepe jacket. The silk doesn't match the dress well enough, so I won't be pursuing that option at the moment anyway.

  4. Gosh, you are making alot! I think it will all suddenly come together. Have you thought of a pashmina to go over your dress?

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Yes, a pashmina is an option. I bought a thing (a square with a hole in the middle and cut through to one side - some kind of throw, not sure exactly what it's called!) - nice shades of blue and grey. I'm not too worried - yet! - I think you're right (I hope) that it will come together.

  5. I was very scared reading this up to the end. Phew. You feel on target. What a lot of work you have taken on. Hopefully by Easter plans and toiles will be finalised and you can move forward. There are always options. Keep calm and book a holiday for after!! K xXx

    1. Thanks, Karen! After the wedding, collapse first then a holiday!

  6. Sounds like you will be very, very busy for the next three months. I hope all the fitting and construction issues have easy solutions. Try putting Missy on a low stool; that should solve the height issue.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I'm not sure my issues do have easy solutions, unfortunately. My biggest fear is creating dresses, and of course the one dress in particular, that look shoddy (for want of a better word - I mean badly home made but worse, a design that doesn't work). It's early here and perhaps you can tell I've been dreaming about this! Dreaming is a euphemism!

  7. Oh my!! I'm exhausted reading all what you've been doing and still have to do!! You're going great guns though, but I hope all this hard work does't spoil your enjoyment of the wedding. I wonder if you should go shopping and buy your outfit as you're making all the others. Or would that not feel like a treat, I can't decide if it would for me either.
    Hope you manage to fit some time in for golf and for you in general. Shame I'm not closer or I could give you a hand. :-)

    1. I agree with what you've said. I'm doing okay. I was away last weekend at Grange over Sands (bridge) and on the way home visited a local shop - and bought my MOB outfit! Just need to get shoes and bag. I'll still do the course MOB hack dress. I played golf, badly, today. Thanks for your kind thoughts.


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