Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Update on the Muslin (it did fit)

Many thanks to those of you who offered your help with my fitting woes.  It was great to know I had friends who wanted to help!

The good news is that I have been very busy sewing over the last week.  I did take the muslin to my daughter's dorm and it fit.  Yippee!  The princess seams needed a nip and tuck near the sleeves. My gusset hypothesis was incorrect -- the stranger shaped gusset resulted in a much nicer fit.  Note that I did my best to crop out as much of the dorm room background as possible!
Left side just didn't hang right.  Right side was
fine with a tuck at the top of the princess seam.

She scowled when I asked her to "play the violin".
"Seriously?  M-O-O-O-O-M, it fits!"
So the next seven days were spent madly cutting out the silk organza, the crepe de chine, the lace, hand basting and thread tracing, then piecing it together.  I had no idea how hard it is to successfully sew with a heavy corded lace.  Most seams had to be lapped and appliqued, which I would have enjoyed if time were on my side.   However, I had a lot going on over the last week, and I almost didn't make it.  Scheduled medical tests, unscheduled tornado warnings and a political rally all drained my time.  Luckily, my husband picked up the slack by doing the grocery shopping and more than his fair share of help around the house, and the dress is now "wearable" for this evening's concert.
The artificial light makes the taffeta look purple, but it's really black.
At 9 PM yesterday, I finished sewing the skirt lining to the zipper and declared it ready to go.  The crepe de chine bodice lining is not yet sewn in, and I would like to re-align the upper part of the zipper before I do that.  I was also a bit leery of trimming all the sleeve seams before we had even a single fitting of the dress.  

From my grandmother's sewing basket.
I did make sure there were bra carriers in place at the shoulder seams.  They will be easy to move when I put the lining in.

My husband thinks I'm crazy for re-doing the zipper, but after all the work that went into this, I consider it a bit of a masterpiece, and I do want the finished product to be perfect.  He thinks I'm quite mad, actually, after seeing me over the last week.  I got a lecture on project planning and deadlines.  Trust me, I know this pushed the limits of my capacity.

I really love the midriff details!

I draped four separate pieces of lace over the bodice and lapped at the center front, shoulders and side seams.  It took me several hours of trying different layouts before I had the nerve to cut into the lace.  It really wasn't that hard to align it all nicely, just time consuming since it had to be tacked down by hand.  I could have zig-zagged on the machine, but felt I had better control with hand-stitching.

The sleeves are underlined with black silk organza -- no crepe de chine -- so they're slightly transparent.  The lace was probably heavy enough to use without the organza, but I felt the visual transition from all black on the bodice, to mostly transparent on the sleeve was too stark.  The gussets are crepe de chine with lace, no organza, as I didn't want them too stiff.

More details and final pictures later!


  1. Wow, it's gorgeous! Great job! I salute you for soldiering on through tornado drills and husband lectures.

    1. Thank you! I am relieved that it worked out and I (mostly) finished by the deadline.

  2. I second that "Wow!" You and your daughter must both be thrilled. I love your choice of colors/fabrics. I really admire all the work (and perseverance) that went into creating this beauty.

    1. Thank you, Nadine! I was thrilled. It looks great on her, and I think she likes it almost as much as I do.

  3. This is absolutely GORGEOUS! Your daughter is very lucky to have such a beautiful couture dress made for her. Definitely worth redoing the zipper to make it perfect.


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