So.... I've been very preoccupied recently, and have basically spent ALL my free moments for the past three weeks making the dress for my sister in law. IT'S DONE! I finished it, no word of a lie, an hour before she had to leave. I drove it to her place, we put it on, and after a couple of moments where we thought the zipper wouldn't go up all the way.... zip! It went up! It looked really good. I took some pictures, but I can't find my camera right now, so I'll have to upload them later.
I'm so proud of myself!
Being 21 and a hottie and going to her sorority social, she wanted the dress to fit tighter, tighter! So, I made it as tight as possible, while still being able to get on her, and it worked out pretty well. There was a slight buckle in the back zipper, as the sides of the dress were sewn tighter than they wanted to be, but she just jauntily threw a slinky shawl around her arms, and it draped down over her back and it covered it nicely. I think she's going to wear it again for her grad formal, so I think I might adjust it a little bit. Other than that, it all turned out!
There were five layers to the dress, two short lining layers containing the boning that kept the structure of the upper section (like a corset), then a full length lining, the two layers of the silk chiffon gathered and ruched like in the picture. Although the dress overall was not hard to make, there were certainly difficult parts to the whole process. I'd never sewn with chiffon, and probably won't for a while :) It's very slippery, and delicate, and I feel more comfortable with linens and heavier silks. The armholes were difficult, and the final layer of lining had to be stitched to the dress after it was turned to the inside of the dress, and done from the outside (i know this sounds confusing,.... sorry!). So, i ended up doing that part by hand, trying to fold in 4 layers, and then attach a slippery fifth, without buckling the outside of the fabric. that took a while. Also, the gathering in the front had to be even so that there were no bulges anywhere in the top layer of chiffon. There was one tiny bulge in the end, but that got fixed when I tightened the whole lot. Oh yes, and I think if I had more time, I would have hand sewn all the flounces (the frilly bits). They were cut as long spirals, hemmed a scant 1/4 inch on one side, and then sewn onto the dress between the lining and overlay layers. That was pretty tricky, and I think they would have looked more professional if you couldn't see a hem sewing line on them.
The verdict from Magdalena's view? She was the belle of the ball. She felt like she was going to the Oscars, and everyone was flabbergasted that someone had made her dress, and it was beautiful. Absolutely everyone commented on the dress and how beautiful she was in it. She said she knew she had made an impact, when her friend's boyfriend, who is really shy and never says two words about anything, was staring at her all night, and finally came up to her and told her had the most beautiful dress on, and she was pretty. :) She likes being the centre of attention!!
The verdict from my view? It was quite the learning experience. It taught me to just dive in and do something, without fretting too much about the process. It was tough, but enjoyable, and made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to. It doesn't mean it was perfect, or of the highest quality, but it was perfect for what it was, and Magda was so happy and thinks I'm a star so that's what counts. It challenged me in all sorts of ways, and because of the time restraint (3 weeks!) I was able to just keep going even if I wanted to rip it out and do it all over again, and remember that I'm not a professional sewer, and it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be a dress that I made for someone I love. So thanks Maggie for the shove, it was great!
So those bags I wanted to make for my business? They will SO not be a problem after this!