I said I didn't want to have lots of posts with construction details of the wedding dress. My tutor, classmates and some others In person and via my blog have asked for more detail. So I've decided to do a couple of posts saying what techniques I had to use, what challenges I had to master and what I learned. These will not be in tutorial form! I can highly recommend a few good books (you are aware that I'm a bookaholic) and of course, if you're lucky like me, you might have access to a real live tutor! I know that in this respect I am lucky. I find direct help easier than videos, books etc, though they are all valuable. The books I can recommend come from the fitting area and also from general sewing. They include Vogue Sewing, Cole Czachor Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers, Joseph-Armstrong Patternmaking for Fashion Design - and others; this is not a comprehensive list.
One of the first things I (David) did was to modify a dressmaker's dummy to as close to Helen's sizes as I could, including extending length quite considerably. I have posted about that process previously. (here) I knew that I would have less access to Helen than optimum.
- More experience would have meant fewer toiles
- Ideally each toile would have been made in a fabric much closer to the real thing but that was too expensive. Helen would have been happier, earlier, as she was looking for very light weight and some of the toile fabrics were much heavier that the real thing and lay differently
- I didn't get a chance to sew with the real fabrics until the real dress (I started with the lining. With the outside fabric, I started with the straps)
- One advantage is that I got a lot of practice, earlier and so had a clear idea of the construction process and was sure the dress fitted (in the toile fabric at least!)
- In the final dress, I was aware that fit might be different. Time had run out so the dress had to be made to allow final tweaks to fit in the last few days before the wedding. The toiles had a side zip but this process was too difficult in the real fabric which although lighter was also spongier and I felt it was too bulky with the three underlined darts. Therefore, at the last minute I changed to a back zip. This would allow easier changes to the sides but in the event weren't required. My tutor suggested stopping the zip at the waist but I so wish I had taken it all the way to the back V. It was too late to modify by this time. The top part was held together by two hooks and eyes but the zip would have been more effective. My tutor thinks I risked it straining at the waist; I would have included an additional zip stay as was the plan with the side zip.
|This was an earlier full working toile on display at the local museum as part of our college work - only one bust dart at this stage instead of the 3 parallel darts we finished with|
|These are the cardboard template pattern pieces for the toile, above. I didn't cut me out as you can just see the reverse of the toile above my shoulder with at that stage 3 wide straps rather than the spaghetti straps we ended up with|
|Right side; stitching less visible.|
|Reverse side; still shows markings and hand tacking|