Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wedding Dress Saga - A Tale of Two Sisters

Me and my sis, Katie, have a bit in common...

Aside from being intelligent, charismatic, and good looking, we are also both pretty goofy, crafty, and have similar aesthetic sensibilities. Not to mention we look a lot alike and have almost identical voices. We are also of a similar size...

however I have a sun room, and Katie must take photos outside in winter in Montana... brrr
All these things I think will combine for a very successful wedding dress collaboration. So far, we have had only one minor hiccup...

...involving a duct tape dress form. Have you ever made a duct tape dress form? I thought this was an excellent way for me to fit a dress on my sister who lives a couple thousand miles away. I instructed her on how to make one, told her not to bother stuffing it (I could do that part), and asked her to send it in the mail to me. Katie did just that, but to save on postage she decided to pummel her dress form as flat as possible and ship it in a flat envelope. When it arrived I just kinda stared at it - puzzled and highly amused at the destruction done upon her dress form as a result of a slight failure in communication. I did my best anyway, trying to stuff her torso back into its proper shape. And sadly, I disemboweled Eileen... reusing her stuffing on Katie's dress form. Yes, it felt disturbing to do this. But on the bright side, I recovered some interesting fabric inside Eileen which apparently I didn't fancy years ago when I first made her. It was like a pinata! A pinata shaped like... ME.

Katie on the left, me on the right. No, I'm not shorter! Eileen is just sagging from lack of stuffing.
I stuffed the new dress form, but unfortunately no amount of stuffing could restore shape to one half of the bust, and the dress form torso from the waist down is almost a perfect cylinder - while I'm fairly certain Katie is not. I found it amusing to leave the two forms sitting side by side in the living room for a while, but eventually Eileen became quite saggy and depressing - only a shell of her former self - and I had to throw her away.

While I have yet to use the new dress form (remind me Katie, what's her name?), I had good enough success just taking my sister's measurements over the phone and altering the bodice of the pattern accordingly.

You can see by the photo above that it's a pretty good fit! I have to lower the darts a little, or perhaps shift them to the side. Katie would also like a little wider neckline (drawn on the muslin with marker), and we will narrow the shoulders a little.

We are also planning to cut a deep V out of the back. I hope this doesn't make the shoulders slip off, but I think it should be okay. And finally, I altered the skirt a bit from the original pattern to get the front and back lengths Katie was looking for. With the circular shape and hi-low cut, this was a big pain in the butt. We also decided to overlap the top skirt pieces in the front, which was an easy change.

After one more Skype call today, the dress is back on its way to me for modifications. While its tempting to rush things, I think I am going to make all the necessary changes to the pattern and then sew up a new bodice for her to try on. I want to be super duper sure that it's an excellent fit before I start on the real deal.

Have any of you ever tackled a project for someone far away? Have you ever sewn a wedding dress or worked with lace? Got any tips for me?


  1. I love the first photo, and I'm sorry I pummeled Gillian!

  2. You two are the cutest! Sadly I will probably never be fitting a wedding dress for my brother, so I'm a bit jealous!

    1. Aww... maybe for some other relative? Really, it's not all so rosy as it seems. I'm just doing this to make up for all the years I tortured her when we were children!

  3. Wowzers! Well done for stepping up to the long-distance challenge! All the best, it's looking amazing xx