Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When it rains...


Things have been very tumultuous in The Last Stitch household lately. Two days before our planned trip to the Greek archipelago we found out that my daughter, who suffers from a chronic kidney related disease, was in the midst of a relapse. Since her version of the disease is hard to treat with just regular medication the doctors advised us to stay home, as she might need in-hospital treatments. We all went into total chock, and this last week has been a blur of worries and disappointments. It was just too much to handle at the same time.

However on Friday she did new lab tests and they showed an incredible improvement and now she is in complete remission. Just need to go through a long course of cortisones (which comes with its own set of challenges, but right now I am just so so very grateful). Anyways, I got my vacation extended and we managed to find a new flight to Greece on Thursday. So we are still going, which feels like a miracle too!
 
And today I squeezed in a final fitting with the bride before I sew the side seams and attach the zipper. This fitting was crucial since it was the first time we tried the actual dress and not a muslin, plus she was wearing her wedding undergarments and the tulle underskirt for the first time. It all went really well! She looked fantastic in the dress and was very pleased plus it fit her like a glove. I think the only thing I should have taken into account a bit more is that many layers of fabric creates a slightly tighter dress, plus the undergarments do alter things a bit too, but luckily I only need to let out the back seam a little. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bridal dress - Day 2

Today I got off to an even later start (read evening) since I woke up with a terrible craft hangover from yesterday's bridal bonanza. I was home alone yesterday, up late and got so absorbed that I didn't drink properly, which was a bad idea since there is currently a massive heat wave in Sweden. But then tonight I got some sudden energy again and decided to work some more. So now the front of the dress is pretty much finished (not lined though). After a trial on a scrap I was happy enough to muster up the courage to cut out the dart and try to make the seam "invisible" (notice the quotation marks, I am no couturier, but I do the best I can).

 First I pinned the darts on the dress form, then I marked the darts with basting stitches.

Next step was cutting away the excess fabric. This was a little nerve wrecking. Luckily I had some more lace if this didn't work out.

With small stitches I closed the dart (this is the sample).

And this is the final result. The dart is slanted and runs like a regular bust dart. You can see it if you know where to look, but my daughter couldn't when I asked her if she could point out any seems on the bodice. So that made me deem it good enough!

After the darts I tacked the lace to the bodice using lots and lots of stitches. The thread is matching the fabric very well, so it is probably hard to see all the tacks. Just as well cause I am not sure the tacking lives up to couture standard, but again I deem it good enough :)

Now I will have to do the same on the back pieces, but hopefully it will be easier since they are much flatter. I rather not make any more cut-out darts in the lace!

Then I machine basted the front skirt to the front bodice and tied a ribbon around the waist to mimic the original design. And if can say so myself, it is looking pretty, pretty good so far!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bridal dress - Day 1

So today was the first official bridal dress making day. Of course I got off to a late start due to a little notion shopping that ended taking way longer than I had expected (isn't this always the case?). Anyways I still got a lot done, all fabric pieces are cut and I have sewn the boning casings and have also begun making the bodice. Since I don't have any precise instructions to follow it is a bit of a guessing game, but the visuals of Gails bodice boning and Gorgeous things lace bustier has been very helpful, plus Susan Khaljes bridal couture book of course.


The boning casings. I used a narrow satin bias binding for the casings. I picked binding because I find it easier to apply than flat ribbons. The underling is an old bed sheet.


Very orderly. This is totally uncharacteristic for me, but in order to keep tab of all the lining pieces and keep them from fraying I placed them in embossed pockets with matching pattern numbers. There will be two layers of lining, one outer under the lace and one on the inside hiding the underling and boning.


The front bodice. I am following the method in Susan Khaljes book which has you applying the lace in one piece and then shaping it on the bodice using darts and tacks.


Shaping in progress. This shit is hard! I am apparently supposed to make invisible darts on the sides but the thick corded lace makes the pinned darts look like little chicken wings. I will baste a dart tomorrow and then also do a trial dart on scraps before I cut of the excess lace under the seam. Hopefully this will yield a smooth result.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Little houses

 

In Sweden we have special little houses called friggebodar. The special thing about them is that they don't require any builder permit and they can be no bigger than 15 square meters. Thus they are very common as guest houses, summer cabins, storage and other uses. This weekend we went to a great exhibition where architects, designers and craftsmen were asked to design their own version of  mini houses, most of which complied to the friggebod standard. The range was impressive, from hyper modern and sleek to rustic clay and timber houses.
I love small spaces and wouldn't mind having a friggebod somewhere in a beautiful location.


Tomorrow I will start working on the wedding dress. Feel a bit nervous about cutting in that gorgeous expensive lace, but apart from that it will be exciting to finally getting started on the project.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Olga blouse


Yes another version of the Olga blouse. I didn't really plan to add another one to my Floremark shop, but a friend asked for a custom green version since she needed a top to match her moss green skirt. I think the colour combo works so well I decided to list this version too. I also have several new cardigan designs for fall in my head that will eventually materialize, but I have realized that I don't have the time to make them currently. But hopefully I can do a proper shop update in August/September. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rude staff and a wedding dress update

A quick drape of the wedding dress.

 The lace fabric for the wedding dress.

Long time no talk! I have been on a much needed sewing break, so not much to blog about. Now it's time to rev up things again though. I got some orders from family and friends to finish up and then next week it will be all about the wedding dress. As a friend noted "it seems like that dress has been going on forever". Yup. Sourcing the right materials has been a very time consuming process, with many hiccups on the way. It all culminated yesterday when the bride-to-be was treated so rudely by the shop assistants in one of the fabric stores in town. She was going to buy some regular bemberg (rayon) lining, but when the staff realized that they couldn't persuade her into buying expensive thai silk for the lining, they became unbelievable snotty and in the end she couldn't even get samples of the bemberg lining! What happened to the adage "customer is king"?

I don't frequent this store much myself, but I was still shocked to hear this. I have only had great experience with staffs at local fabric stores, but I think it's because I frequent the smaller ones and they are mostly staffed by the owners, who tends to be real fabric and sewing geeks and thus very knowledgeable.

By the way, isn't the recommendation to line a dress with thai silk a little over the top in most cases? It's fairly stiff and rustles a bit too from my memory. I guess it does create a great body and Susan Khalje do recommend dupion silk for a high end couture lining in her book,  but the bride wants a more casual party/cocktail kind of dress, that isn't as stiff and precious as a full blown wedding gown. Plus using thai silk for the corset bodice, which requires four layers of fabric, will make the bodice way too thick I think.

Update: We went together to a nice store today and found the perfect bemberg lining, it looks really lush and luxe and the hue is a perfect match (see the first photo for the lining + lace). We chatted a bit with the store owner and ended up mentioning the incident yesterday, and she said she had heard similar horror stories about the staff there before. Apparently they act like the customers are total fools.