Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wedding Dress Saga - Not quite couture

How good is good enough for a wedding dress? Haha! That's a dangerous question, isn't it? Especially in our society, where people drop thousands and thousands of dollars in an attempt to create the most perfect day EVER.

(google images of "extravagant wedding" turned up this beauty)
Well, I do want my sister's dress to be perfect, but I also know that perfect for her does not necessarily mean perfect by couture standards. Given that there is slightly less than one month to complete the dress, I'm willing to accept that this dress is not going to quite pass the Susan Khalje test. On the other hand, I think there's a lot of nice touches I can do that will make it special. So I'm going to dub this dress "not quite couture" and show off some of the corners I'm cutting and others I'm not. As for all those corners I'm not aware of yet... I guess I'll just have to live and learn.

One thing I've decided not to worry about is matching the lace pattern on the upper skirt and bodice. I'm not exactly what type of lace I'm dealing with. It kinda seems to resemble guipire like the lace below:

However, Katie's lace seems to be lighter and with looser stitching.

It also doesn't have the satin stitch around the motifs that guipire is supposed to have. Instead, it looks like the threads have been couched. Maybe this lace doesn't have any particular name.

I've learned that the proper way to deal with guipire lace is to do a clever overlapping, applique technique at the seamlines, so that patterns are neatly matched and seams are neatly hidden.

a lovely guipire seam done properly, from Pink Hollybush Designs
I might have been able to do this with Katie's lace, but I don't know if the motifs would hold up as well as real guipire. They seem too light and floppy. Also, this looks hard. Maybe someday I will attempt something like this. Someday when I have more patience and more time. As is, I tried just making a regular ol' seam with a sample of Katie's lace, underlined with organza.

It worked nicely, and even though the patterns aren't matched and the seam is visible, it doesn't really bother me. When the lace is laid over the linen underskirt, the seam allowances are hardly noticeable.

On the other hand, I am doing quite a bit of handstitching, though that doesn't necessarily make it couture. I used tailor tacks to match up the skirt pieces. I'm hand-basting the underlinings to the main fabric. I underlined the lace skirt with silk organza. For the bodice I'm underlining the lace with the same handkerchief linen of the underskirt.

For all this handstitching I've been using silk thread, and ooh la la! I like it! So much smoother. I basted the underlining to the main fabric along the dart legs as well.

To stabilize the neckline and armholes and to prevent them from stretching, I'm using strips of silk organza - a technique I picked up from Gertie's blog a long while back. I've been cutting the strips with  my pinking shears to prevent excessive fraying and/or placing the selvage along one edge.

Although now that I revisit that tutorial, I'm noticing that she used many short strips of organza folded in half, rather than a single long strip of organza, as I'm using. Is this enough to warrant a re-do? I'll have to think about it. Another thing to ponder - what should I use to interface the waistband? Horsehair canvas? Suggestions always appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. I can't attest to what kind of lace this is, but it's pretty. :)

    The many short strips of organza that Gertie used is to keep the grainline of the organza parallel with the seam line (or edge of the seam allowance) to get the best stabilization. You stabilized with organza, but since you curved it with the seam line, you'll have a bias of organza on the bias of the sleeve. Gertie's is straight grain of organza on a bias of the sleeve.
    I think it's entirely up to you if you unpick it. You could leave it or unpick it. I'd unpick if you have extra time, but perhaps leave it in if you're shorter on time.

    As to the waistband, interfacing a waistband with grosgrain ribbon would be lovely. I wouldn't use the poly kind from a craft store, but the nice rayon kind (like sunni of a fashionable stitch has in her online shop).

    I LOVE seeing all of your progress with a wedding dress. It's so exciting. :D Good luck.