Sunday, November 19, 2017

THE dress: Before and After

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John and Christie on their wedding day.

                                 Dalton and Jamie on their wedding day.

THE dress part 6

 Here we are for the final fitting, to make sure everything was in the right places and going over how to get in and out of the dress. After this step, I pressed it to make it crisp and smooth.
That's my niece, Christie, holding the slip which is worn under the dress to make it a bit longer for the ceremony and first dances at the reception. Jamie still seems happy....whew!!!!

THE dress part 5

 Here's Jamie for the second fitting of her wedding dress. We made decisions on final placement of lace details and length of the hem. The wide lace at the hem was just pinned on at this point. The upper back pieces were a bit fiddly, but I was able to get it properly placed for a smooth fit and attractive look. She seems pretty happy to me!! And big shout out to Cheryl for letting me take over her sewing room. She would tap on the door periodically to offer snacks!!

 fussy fitting

THE dress part 4

 These are various photos of construction of the dress once I arrived in California and settled into my niece, Cheryl's, sewing room. It was a very nice work space, with good lighting from the window facing the street and the radio tunes to KLOS, a rock station. The one particular program I found interesting was Jonesy's Juke Box. He played a very mix of old and new rock'n'roll, which helped the day go by pleasantly. I started sewing on Sunday morning and finished around 4-5 o'clock on Monday afternoon. You can see in the photos some of the details of  the inner construction, such as the bra cups and sewn facings to hold down the back of the dress's button loops. There were 21 loops and buttons and they were so difficult to button up as you might think.
I bought the covered buttons already finished. They had cloth shanks, as I think that is a finer look and more comfortable for the wearer. The photo with the machine shows the attaching of the horsehair braid to the hem; another photo is of the finished application of the horsehair braid. There is also an inner band of elastic at the waist to help support the weight of the skirt for comfort and ease of movement by the wearer. It might be visible in top photo....or not. This was a wonderful experience for me and I am so happy that I was able to be a part of Jamie's special day.

 inside center back

 button loops

 finished hem

THE dress part 3

This is a short post, mainly to show photos I had to search for and head is starting to throb from all this thinking.......
  The first picture is sewing supplies sent to Christie. Second photo is the slip worn under the dress. It is the skirt from original dress with ruffle of silk attached to bottom. there is horsehair braid sewn into hem add stiffness to bottom edge of the slip and to lining of slip, which came from the original dress. Horsehair braid is also in hem of the dress, to keep it from collapsing under weight of four yards of wide lace trim.
There are other photos to be shown in following posts, showing
the final  construction process upon my arrival in Torrance.

THE dress part 2

Whew! I found and transferred photos from various sources and will probably have a headache soon.....and they are not in proper order, but that would take an eternity(for me) to figure out, so I'll leave as it is for now.
  As you can see in the last photo, my dress form is made from a wire mesh that can be manipulated to various body shapes, and proved quite useful for this project.
  In the next to last photo, the cutting layout was pretty straightforward. The first two photos are from text messages to Jamie, for her input on the design of the back and the third is a configuration of lace placement on the front. Also the dress form has been covered with stretchy skin tone fabric. More visually appealing don't you think?
The upper back pieces are made from lower parts of one of the sleeves of the original dress.
 The front of the dress is the bodice of the original covered with the remaining sleeve. The collar of the original dress has been placed at the lower front of the bodice on the new dress. All the smaller lace appliques are taken from the original dress, as well. Some pieces were further embellished with beads and sequins, to give a little more sparkle!
   You can see the silk fabric on the skirt. It is under the lace bodice, too, to add some substance to the structure of the dress. When I was sure the design of the lace appliques were pleasing, I sewed them by hand to the center of the dress.
   This was about as far as I could go with my long distance construction. All the bits not sewn on were sorted into small bags and labeled. The yardage for hem of the dress went into a bigger bag. The unfinished dress,
bags of lace, and sewing supplies necessary for completion, were packed into that huge box and shipped to Torrance, the first week in October to await my arrival a week before the wedding.
   I used the skirt from the original dress to make a slip that would be worn under 
the dress to make it a little bit longer and provide a longer train for the wedding ceremony and first part of the reception. Photos of that will be in next installment.
 ready to cut!!

 It's taking shape..

THE dress

Last year, about this time, I received a phone call from my niece, Christie, who lives in Southern California near Los Angeles. Her daughter, Jamie, had recently become engaged and she asked if I would be interested in making a wedding dress. From her wedding dress. My answer was, "Of course!!"
  Jamie and I exchanged contact info and she sent photos of dresses with details she really liked and wanted to incorporate into her gown. I made a sketch of something she might like and, yes, she did!! She also sent a list of detailed measurements, so I could get started in the right direction fitwise.
  Several weeks later, a huge box came with Christie's dress. These photos are different views of the dress before I started taking it apart. Notice the VERY long train, high neck and mutton chop sleeves, all very popular
 the 80's. Also notice there's a zipper in the back.
     One of my dress forms is fully adjustable and I was able to replicate (to a certain extent) Jamie's shape. Then I set to task taking apart her mom's dress, which took several days and the use of a scalpel, as it is much sharper than a regular seam ripper. I stored all the pieces and yardages of the lace in separate plastic bags, with approximate measurements. Thank the lord for Ziploc and Glad bags!!!
   After removing bits and pieces from the dress, the original fabric wasn't in the best shape, and I ordered some really nice silk dupioni from Butterfly Silk Fabric Company. To make it crisper, I underlined it with
a satin faced taffeta that I found at Joanne's Fabric store. A Butterick pattern for a semiformal dress worked very well as a base for the design of the new dress. Mainly, I added width to the skirt and a godet from the center back to make a small train that would stand away as the bride walked.
   The next installment of this dressmaker's tale will come very soon, as I have to locate the folder with photos of construction. That will require much effort on my part as my computing skills are not quite as honed as my sewing talents.

side view of sleeves

the inside of front

 inside original dress