Two steps towards a dress, one step backwards

I’ve more than started the dress now, in fact it could be said I’m well underway.  Although perhaps well isn’t the right word.  Yesterday was wedding dress day – my mother had the day off work to help and optimistically announced that we’d crack it in a day.

Well we cracked something but not in the way we hoped.

Yesterday was bodice fitting day.  I’ve been very nervous about this as my god-mother should have been helping me (and to be honest I’ve more confidence in her sewing abilities than my mother – despite the fact that mum originally, way back when, taught me the basics), but she is currently indisposed.  My mother’s idea of a good fit isn’t quite the same as mine.  She prefers a baggier look, which is fine on a sweater or even a pair of trousers, but not quite right on a wedding dress.  On numerous occasions I’ve final fitted a skirt or pair of trousers on her and she’s said they’re “fine” then when they’re finished it’s plainly obvious they’re huge.  Likewise there have been too many occasions where after she’s pinned me in a half made dress, the skirt has been spinning round my hips and thighs because my mother doesn’t feel it should be “too tight” – whilst I don’t want second skin tight, I do like the made-to-measure garment to look as though it’s been made for my measurements rather than someone two sizes larger than me.  So you can see why this has caused many a sleepless night.

As I’m rapidly running out of time now (I’m supposedly finishing work on Friday –which means dress should be finished)  so I decided simply to cut the bodice and hope for the best…. and indeed the best was fantastic.  I’ve cut it high into the neck (to cover the stress boils on my chest) and slashed into the shoulders (to show off one of my best features) and miraculously, give a centimetre or two, it was pretty much spot on.  By 11am we were on a roll, with any luck we’d be finished by 4 and could put our feet up.  Next up the beaded tulle….

Now I’ve worked with beaded fabrics for a number of years and whilst they’re tricky, with a bit of preparation they’re pretty easy to work with.  The key to working with beaded or sequined fabrics is to ensure that you clear the path of the seam by either removing the bead or sequin or crushing them.  With beads the easiest way is to crush them… that’s if they’re plastic.  If they’re crystal beads it’s a little trickier.  Likewise many of the cheaper fabrics have beads which are strung together, however, these delicate little crystals were, for the most part, individually knotted on.  Hmmm….

At 2pm I was hardly further forward than I had been at 11am…

Hour 3 of Project Clear the Seams and things must be serious, I'm wearing my old-lady close work glasses!

By 3pm my mother (who for the most part considers “helping” to sit and ask a constant barrage of questions!) had an un-picker unceremoniously thrust into her hand with a demand, sorry a request, to start unpicking the other side of the bodice.  She did her best to severe a finger, and apparently I was tad unsympathetic when I asked her not to “bleed on the dress”.

Seam clearance is slow and painstaking. Many of these beads will need to be reattached once the seam is completed.

By 4:50, we’d cleared the seams, sewn, two (yes that’s right two) of them seams, had a huge dish of beads and possibly the same amount scattered across the studio floor… but at least we appear to be getting somewhere….

A small selection of the crystals removed (many of which stuck in floorboards!) - next up; sewing most of them back on!
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