Friday, July 19, 2013

Wedding Dress Saga - Skirt progress

I'm no speed demon, but I'm making progress. I've cut the lace for the upper skirt...

I'm underlining it with silk organza. The lace itself is cotton (with a bit of nylon, I think), and it hangs quite limply on its own. We don't want no limp skirts. So hopefully the organza will do the trick. I cut matching pieces of the organza, pinned them down to the wrong side of the lace...

And then hand basted all the way around the edges. Here is a comparison of the lace that hasn't been underlined (left) and the lace that has been (right).

I've stared at sewing manuals before with these same side-by-side photos, trying to see the difference. It's subtle, but I think it's there. The lace on the right has more body, doesn't it? I'm also trying to figure out if I can put horsehair braid in the hem to help give it a little more oomph. Does anyone know if this would work with lace? I'm gonna do some googling this evening and see what I can turn up. If only I had access to Susan Khalje's book... I'm sure all my questions would be answered (*hint* *Christmas gift* *hint*). Too bad it's so damn expensive.

I also washed some of the lace I've been working with. It came from my mom's stash, left over from her sewing days in the 70s probably. I threw it one of those bags that supposed to protect your lingerie in the wash.

I threw it in the washer and dryer, along with the silk organza. I'm not really sure if you're supposed to do that with organza, but if people use it for pressing cloths, it oughta be up to some heat and stress, right? It came out quite wrinkled, but seems otherwise fine.

Pidgin continues to give encouragement.

The next thing I'm pondering is how to handle the back zip. Since there are two layers of skirt, I'm thinking I should I insert the zip into just the under layer and leave the top lace layer free hanging. Right? Not right? I've had Grainline's tutorial for this bookmarked for a while...

It would also be nice to use some pretty vintage buttons to hold the button placket closed. Uh oh. I may have to lose some more time browsing Etsy. Speaking of vintage and weddings and buttons, did you see this post on the Coletterie blog a while back?

I love getting to see all the construction details on dresses like these, and maybe I should do something similar for the zipper on Katie's dress. I also love all those little rhinestones that are set into the dress. While sewing on the silk organza, I couldn't help thinking about how beautiful it would be to attach little seed beads all over the skirt, sprinkled on in little patches at the center of the lace flowers. Can you visualize it? So pretty! Or perhaps this would be a good time to do a beaded, hand-picked zip...

from Threads
The decisions are far harder than the sewing!


  1. I can totally tell the difference between the left and right pictures of the lace, before and after organza! The right one has body, stable-looking folds, and I bet it swishes nicer than the limp one on the left.

    I haven't tried putting in horsehair braid directly in lace, but I'm sure you can. I just fear it may be visible.

    You can always add in 1 more additional layer of organza if you want even more crispness and body to your lace. Perhaps wait to see how the underskirt pairs with it before you make more alterations.

    I'm not sure if it will make a difference, but you could always sew little tacking stitches in the lace to the organza in the middle of the over skirt. I read that you only basted at the edges... adding in some more permanent stitches throughout the lace could help keep the two layers together... that way you could add rhinestones at the same time. :)

  2. Thanks for the advice! I definitely think the tacking stitches would be a nice touch (but I may leave them til the end, when I can breath a sigh of relief that the dress will really get done on time). P.S. I looove your lace Macaron!

    1. Thanks Claire! I poured over so many books reading about how to sew and work with lace/silk when I was making my macaron. One project is all it takes to really learn how to do stuff.

      All my advice for you is coming from my experience sewing my lace macaron. :)

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