15 March 2010


The last construction posts will be up eventually.  For now, though:

It's finished!  And the recital is finished, and went incredibly well.

I hope to have the rest of the "construction" as well as some more and closer shots of the gown itself up before long.

07 March 2010

March 7/8

I forgot to take pictures, but I've made progress!  I stitched the dress and lining together around the armholes this evening, then pinned in the zipper so I could try it on.  The fit is perfect, and I like the way the finishing at neckline and armholes turned out.

I'm going to take up a very narrow hem, especially in the front - with the shoes I'm wearing (about a 2" heel) the dress is already looking borderline on the short side.  It'll be fine, but I want to take away as little length as possible with the hem.  I'd already planned to use hem tape, so I'll just stitch it very close to the edge of the skirt and barely turn it under.  The lining will have a more traditional "double-fold" hem, hopefully handstitched.

I also made up the top tier of the net petticoat and pinned it roughly in place to see how it works.  I think it'll give just the right amount of fulness - definitely there, but not too outrageous.  (Actually, I'm hoping the lower tier will give it some more "pouf" - it's looking still a little too flat - but I think it'll work.  If all else fails I'll go out and buy a few more yards of netting and add on!)

Tomorrow (or, later today, I suppose!) I hope to hand-stitch the zipper in place - as invisibly as possible - and get the netting finished with.  After that I'll just need to hem!

03 March 2010

3 March

(Except now it's the 4th.  March forth, everyone!  -- uh, sorry.  I get weird late at night.  Anyway, the point is, I did all the sewing on the 3rd, so that's what the title of the post is.)

I sewed the dress and the lining together at the neckline this evening, working by hand.  I'd pressed and pinned the edges a few weeks ago, so this step was relatively simple - I just had to match them up and stitch.  I used a sort of slip-running-stitch, in between the two folded edges so the thread doesn't show at all.  I also didn't match them perfectly - when I pressed in the seam allowance I pressed the lining under just a bit farther, so that I could leave a thin margin of velvet inside when I sewed them together.  The theory is that this will keep the lining from peeking out where it's not wanted.

Then I pinned the edges of the armholes together.  But by this time I was really tired, and my eyes were feeling the strain of working with black on black in a dim room - not to mention I think there's a hole in my finger from the needle.  I really need a thimble.

(An ugly picture - I had to use flash to get anything to show up at all.  Pardon the stray threads - they're not attached to the dress.  And the paper is my application for an apartment for next year.  But here is one of the armholes, pinned and ready to sew tomorrow.)

Nine days until the recital.  I still need to stitch the armholes, make up the net petticoat, hem lining and gown, and put in the zipper. 

21 February 2010

Forgive the long delay.  Blogging (and sewing) don't play nicely with college coursework.

About a week ago or so I made just a bit of progress -- pressed and pinned down the seam allowance at neck and armholes, ready to be put together and hand-sewn.  I haven't made it to the sewing yet.

Three weeks until the recital!  I'm not going to even try to sew until after my hearing this Friday (which says whether or not I'm prepared enough to actually give the recital!)  But hopefully I'll get it finished, or mostly, next weekend.

30 January 2010

30 January - The Lining!

Yesterday was spent mostly in bed with a stomach bug - this certainly has been my week for catching things!  But today, while not completely out of the woods, I was able to get the lining sewn; slowly, heart-breakingly slowly, as it was necessary to pause and rest between almost every step of the process.

The only work left on the lining is to finish the edges of the last two seams, left un-turned in case I needed to make adjustments after a final fitting.  I'm finishing all the lining seams with a flat-felled finish, both easy and, well, flat!

Here's my sweet Marple, curled up on the chair near which I work.  She's partial to me, and according to my little brother "She gets thinner when you're at college!"  She slept next to me in bed all of yesterday when I was feeling so sick, too - there's devotion.  (And, since she so often attempts to sit in my lap whilst I sew, I feel justified in including a photo of her on a dress diary blog!)

A trying-on of the lining proves it to fit very well.  I think I'll take up the shoulder seam in the back by about 1/4", but otherwise no alteration seems necessary.  I have taken this in just a tad -- about 1/2" total -- from the original mockup, taking up 7/8" seams at the sides instead of 5/8".

(Forgive the blurry photo - the product of photographic enterprises embarked on after 9 PM on a dark winter's night!  It shows the shape of the gown well enough, however.)

A somewhat silly view of the front, showing not only the bodice and some idea of the expanse of the skirt, but also the pink, fluffy, polka-dotted socks which my dear friend Rachel gave me last winter, and which have been on my feet more often than not as I work on this dress!  My friends, when you keep the heat in your house at 64 degrees, and you live in a frosty climate, your feet get COLD!

So you take silly pictures to make up for it ;-)

Tomorrow is my last day at home, so I hope to finish the machine construction of the dress -- flat fell the last few seams of the lining, put the outer velvet together, and figure out the net underskirt.  In the intervals of packing for four months away from home.   Yeah.... right.  Well, we can but try!

(A question:  Would you put the netting between the lining and the outer dress, or underneath the lining, i.e. as the innermost layer?  I can't make up my mind.)

28 January 2010

28 January

(I know, technically it's already the 29th.  But I did all this work on the 28th!)

Today I cut out the lining fabric and began to sew.  Unfortunately my camera wasn't charged, so I have no photos, but I didn't do anything very exciting!   Turns out I have lots more lining fabric than I needed.  Well, black lining fabric is never lacking for a use around here!

I decided not to use the muslin/canvas/mystery fabric interlining after all. After washing, and attempting to iron it, I just don't want to deal with it!  And I think the layers of the velvet and lining will be heavy and structured enough in themselves.  I'll attach the netting to the lining, probably between the outer velvet and the lining; but I haven't quite decided on that point yet.  I'm doing flat-felled seams on the lining, as it frays considerably, and this gives a nice smooth finish.

That's all for tonight... I plan to get a lot done tomorrow, and I've charged the camera!

24 January 2010

24 January

I spent all of yesterday in the kitchen and accomplished nothing on the sewing front.  Since today is both Sunday and my brother's birthday (involving three or four friends coming over) I probably won't make any progress today either.

Tomorrow, though, I WILL cut out the dress!  I've only got about a week left at home (with the superiour sewing machine!) so this is getting a little bit down to the wire.  I'm hoping to show considerable progress this week.