Monday, October 23, 2017

Making My Sister's Regency Style Wedding Dress -- Start to Finish

If you follow me on Instagram (@manicpop) you know that for the past 3 months, I took on making my sister's wedding dress. While she actually got married on October 15th, 2016 (a full year prior) we scheduled a dinner for her and her husband for her 1 year anniversary.

My sister got married in a courthouse in Houston in a dress she really liked but was not the dress she envisioned and wished she had worn. (Had I known she would be getting married, of course I would have offered to make her dress!)

So here we are, January 2017 and I ask myself, "Wait, why don't I make her dress?"  As always, it starts out with a sketch.

Here is what I ended up drawing, front and back for her dress. She loves Regency style era dresses, a la Jane Austen time period, so this is the silhouette we went for.

She had fairly specific requests which meant I had to create the sewing pattern entirely from my own mind. We couldn't find a sewing pattern that mimicked what she wanted so I just went ahead and started draping.

Good thing I went to fashion design school!

So after the drawing, I started planning out my stylelines on my form. My sister and I are very similar measurements so I didn't have to do a lot of tinkering with fit. The main difference is that she is 2 inches taller than me!


She then notified me that a classic Regency style dress would have a corset-like underpinning for her to wear underneath, so she went ahead and ordered one as corsetry is not my forte.

So here I am, planning that all out. (All I have are cell phone photos, sorry!)


After that, I started draping! I don't really remember the last time I fully draped so I was referencing my old textbook from college about draping. It all started coming back to me, so I kept going with stylelines and started pin-fitting a half muslin to start.






After that, I started tracing off the pieces of what I draped for a full muslin set of patterns. These were not final patterns, but patterns I could use to construct the full muslin, make any adjustments with if necessary, and then work out more details.


Below is a photo of me using the original pattern (place on the book) for the bodice, and then the lower piece is how I decided to space out the gathers on the dress, eliminating the dart. I did keep the other piece of the bodice for lining patterns I also would need to make.


From there, I started working out my full muslin to test out everything. At this point, I was sewing most of the pattern pieces together rather than pinning them all into place for a more accurate fit.

 This is when the back mini-train started really coming together!


So here is my 1st muslin fitting which actually went really well!


Once I had the corsetry underneath though, I realized that there would be some minor edits to be made. Some of the corset was peeking out from underneath the dress and we couldn't have that happen in the actual garment.

I also did a sleeve test, of course. 



In the end, I really only needed to adjust the front shoulder a little due to the frame of my dressform and us being so small. This lifted the waistband up a little as well as the bust and made everything fit like it was supposed so. I also did some minor sleeve editing as the sleeve cap wasn't fitting correctly initially.  


So here I am in what ended up being the final muslin fitting on her dress. (I also STILL made more edits on the sleeve after this photo.)


Next, it was all about shaping the hem and the hem facing. So I sat on the floor of my workroom and shaped.


And this is the back of the dress after the hem was figured out!


Bea helped too. 

So after all that, it was finally time to lay out the dress, cut and sew!

I ended up placing paper down and taping it to my table so I would not ruin the white fabric we found for it. It's hard to see in photos, but the fabric we chose has a white-on-white stripe detail that is subtle.


Here is me sewing the front bodice up!


 Aaaand a bunch of photos of me sewing it all together!



I don't know why these photos look so low-quality (aside from the fact that they are my phone photos) but they look super blurry.







When it really started coming together, I tried it on one more time!


 And then it was finished! The dressform does it no justice if you ask me.



At this point, I was just so excited the 3-month long project was done. It would be one more month before the event, but it was all set to go!


And then.... the reveal! My sister and her husband just prior to us heading to the dinner.



And then some photos of everyone at the dinner. Here is me and my sister below.




 Of course, you had to see the glittery dress I wore that my friend Cindy found and gave me!

Then below, my parents and sister and her husband.

My sister with a grandmother.

And that's it! It was a long process, but it was worth it. Almost everything went off without a hitch and that is amazing to me. From the draping process, to the muslins, to the cutting, sewing, and it fit her perfectly when I couldn't even do any fittings on her! I mean, really -- how amazing is that?

Hope you all enjoyed this super-long photo-heavy post!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New Look 6493 with Star Print fabric

And here is my finished version of New Look 6493 using a fun star print fabric!

I am super happy with this one! This pattern actually went off without a hitch and I made it pretty quickly. I started cutting fabric on my birthday, May 9th and then finished it up on May 13th one evening. 

I know you guys are mostly used to seeing me in super-bright colors, mod silhouettes, prints, etc. but I have always been someone who morphs quite a bit and this romper totally suits my current style which is a lot more blacks and greys than before. Life has given me more of my fair share of lemons these past 3 years more or less (I'm definitely on the upswing in the past 6 months), so that could be the reason for the gradual shift away from bright colors. Either way, we all change and should let ourselves be changed.

I bought the pattern on a whim to Joann's one day when I needed to grab a zipper for something I was making.

 Although I love the romper version, I would also love to make a dress from this pattern someday! It would be super cute.

 I cut a size 10 in this (my usual size) and made no pattern alterations except for strap adjustment. Usually, I have to account for moving my waist up about an inch on most patterns but this one was just fine the way it was when I did a tissue fit on my dress form. (Her measurements are almost exactly the same as mine!)

Perhaps my back on this one gapes a bit more than others who have made this, but I am always going to have to wear a cami underneath this one.

 Crazily enough, I also did not have to make any adjustments on the pants of this as usually the crotch on things sits too low for me.

 Not the best close-up of me, but here is one so you can see the overall star print on this one!


The fabric I used for this one was purchased from fabric.com (as always right now!) and the print is called "Witchy" by DTK for studio e fabrics.

As I was ironing it, I realized that in all actuality it is probably a Halloween fabric! It's a fairly lightweight 100% cotton so it doesn't look or feel weird in a romper. Upon doing a Google search, it totally is a Halloween fabric!

That's not all that crazy to me to be drawn to this as I have been learning tarot card reading for the past 4-5 months. I'm always learning something new.

I also will be needing to finalize some prints/fabric I have designed on Spoonflower really soon (about 8 of them being released to sew with!) and now I must jump into 1st anniversary wedding dress patterns for my sister's 1st anniversary in October.

I haven't actually made any sewing patterns from scratch in almost 2 years now (sadly) but hopefully it will be no problem getting back into it!
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