Wedding Dress in Progress vol.1

Hi!

As I announced a while ago, I’m making the wedding dress of a good friend of mine, who is getting married in July. So far I’ve been very busy with making the patterns and the prototype of the dress, which is part of the reason why I’ve been such a bad blogger lately and have posted so little.

But anyway, here’s a little of what I’ve been doing so far:

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Making the patterns was fairly straightforward, and I didn’t really run into any problems there. I started with a basic dress block drawn with the measurements of my friend, and drafted the patterns for all of the parts of the dress from there. I will do a more detailed post on the inner workings and construction of the dress later.

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The prototype or toile I made was very detailed, since I wanted to test some of the features, like the curved french seams on the overlay part of the dress, and the undercorset that will keep the whole thing from falling off once it’s on.

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Here’s what the prototype looked like before the first fitting. I made it from some bedclothes and a see-through curtain I had, which had been left over from some halloween costume. In the first picture there’s even a petticoat I’m making for myself (there will be a post, in case anyone’s interested) under the dress, so that the silhouette would be the same as in the finished dress, which will definitely have a petticoat.

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The changes I made after the fitting were as follows: taking in the dress a few centimeters at most seams, so that it would be sufficiently tight and not fall off or feel uncomfortably loose; I also curved in the front seams above the bust a bit, so that there would be as little a chance of a wardrobe malfunction as possible; I shortened the back a bit, as seen in the last picture; and finally, trimmed the neckline and armholes rather liberally.

Now the next step will be transferring these changes to the patterns, and then starting the actual dress. So exciting!

The dress for the party in Finland I’ve already finished, since I made it at school as part of my studies (I’ll do a post of that dress as soon as I get some decent photos).

 

In other news, I bought a sewing machine from the 1960s, and I’m in love! It is in near perfect condition, weighs about a ton, and is just about the prettiest machine I’ve ever encountered. It even has a handy compartment for bobbins and presser feet and such.

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PS. Spring has finally arrived in Helsinki, and all this sunlight and birdsong is almost overwhelming!

- Sadie

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School Projects: The Button-up Shirt

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We had a project at school where we had to design and make a shirt/blouse based on sketches by an entrepreneur who’s collaborating with our school. The sketches contained the basic idea for the shirt (some of them were very vague), but there was still room for creativity.

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The sketch I got was pretty similar to the finished product, but I did come up with some things myself, like the bias tape between the curvy seams — and I altered the sleeves by making them long (in the sketch they were t-shirt sleeves) and adding the curved seam. Truthfully the sketch I got to work with was pretty clear, and I liked the design, so there wasn’t really much to change. In a way it was refreshing to work on something designed by someone other than me, since even though I liked the look of the shirt, I probably would have done something very different on my own.

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The curved seams decorating the shirt were my favourite part of making this blouse, though at first I was worried that they would be too difficult, and would ultimately lead to swearing and disappointment. They really were pretty tough to pull off neatly, but in the end I felt like I learned a lot from making them (I would even want to make something with similar seams again). Bias tape never fails to amaze me, as silly as it may sound, and I love steaming it into curves and seeing how effortlessly it can be molded into almost any shape.

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- Sadie

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Twirly Sheath Dress

Hi!

I made my mum a sheath dress from an old fabric of hers, a cotton sateen with a fairly wild pattern.
I really like how the dress turned out, and am especially pleased with the lining. The simple design of the dress really shows off the pattern I think, and in a flattering way.

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The lining was a light triacetate, which felt good on the skin and was pretty easy to work with.

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I’m especially proud of the lining of the back slit, which is actually really easy to do, but looks quite professional (except for a bit of crinkliness in this case).

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Anyway, mum was pleased, which is always the most important thing.

- Sadie

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The Last Skirts of 2013

Hi!

Skirt #1:

The first skirt is a simple blue 1/2 circle skirt with pockets. I made it out of a fabric left over from my grandma, which turned out to be one of those tricky 70′s polyesters that wants to melt when ironed. Luckily I did find a temperature that didn’t melt it, so the seams are fairly nice and flat.

I’ve used this skirt a lot, and I adore the colour, so it was a good use of grandma-fabric.

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Skirt #2:

The second skirt is a 3/4 circle skirt (I’m going through a bit of  a circle skirt phase right now, I admit) with patch pockets and a machine embroidered stag beetle on it. The fabric was a cheap polycotton I had in my stash.

The beetle was for our machine embroidery course at school, where we had to design an embroidery pattern and test it. I chose the stag beetle because they are really fascinating, and quite beautiful as well. Wouldn’t want one crawling on my pillow, but in pictures and nature documentaries they’re great.

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I made a separate underskirt (again, 1/2 circle) out of a fabric I found in a charity shop at a ridiculously cheap price. I think it’s probably viscose, and it has a very soft and luxurious feel to it. Perfect underskirt material then.

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I also made a simple bias camisole from the same fabric. The pattern for this was interesting (inspired by an example in Pattern Cutting by Dannic Chunman Lo), since while the camisole itself is on the bias, the seams are on the straight grain. You can actually see one of the seams in this picture, but it’s a bit hard to spot. Maybe I should just do a tutorial on how to make one of these camisoles or something since it’s pretty cool.

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So there you go, my last sewing projects of 2013 :)

Also, an announcement:

A friend of mine is getting married this summer, and I’m making her the dress! It’s not going to be a huge ballgowny type thing, more like a 50′s tea dress, but still, SUPER EXCITED! I actually get to make two dresses for her, since the actual wedding will be in California, but they will have a smallish pre-wedding party in Finland as well, which also requires a dress. So be prepared to hear about that as summer gets closer. Be prepared to hear a lot about that, in fact :D

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School Projects

Hey hey!

I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while now, but a lot has been happening — mostly Christmas — so maybe I’ll be forgiven.

Anyway, I said I’d be posting about what I’ve been up to at school, so here we go. These are only the biggest things though, since we’ve done lots of small stuff along the way, and my newest project — a pair of trousers from a rather gaudy floral fabric — hasn’t been photographed yet.

Our school has its own studio, which is rather awesome, especially here in Finland during the winter, since we really don’t get much natural light at all. You can kind of tell from these pictures that some of the lights were missing (the more recent ones we’ve taken have been much better) or maybe I’ve just never actually taken pictures in a studio before :D . But I admit to nothing of course.

The most time-consuming project and my personal favorite this autumn was making a tailored skirt for my classmate Johanna — who in turn made me a skirt. It’s a short pencil skirt with a raised waistline, pockets, and a tiny belt-thing. She loved it, and I loved making it. The fabric was a bit annoying though, since it had the kind of texture that makes every piece of lint and thread want to stick to it forever.

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A t-shirt with flutter sleeves I made for myself:

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The curse of looking sad in photos is indeed a terrible one.

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A fairly basic college jumper:

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A colour-blocked tunic:

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And a black summer dress thing, which was the product of our first “test”, in which everyone had to make the same garment according to very specific instructions, without consulting the teacher. The front seams looked much better live. In this pic they just kind of look like I forgot to iron them.

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Overall, I’ve been very pleased with school, and my chosen career path. The things we make start from fairly simple looking stuff, since it’s all part of the process of learning to do things “right”. The focus is on quality, and I’ve learned a ton, even though I’ve considered my quality of sewing pretty high before.

So even though I may look a bit sad in photos, inside I mostly feel like over-excited Buffy when it comes to life right now.

- Sadie

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