Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lydia's Dress - Hallowedding!

Congrats again to Alison and Justin!!!

This project was really fun - but I had a lot of difficulty with fitting because the woman I was making the dress for was in Philadelphia and I was 5 hours west - so as a side-note, when you make a dress for someone or any article that needs to be fitted, DO SO IN PERSON.

We used Skype, my friend's fiance safety pinned things and then my poor sister had to make sense of the mess we made. Though it worked out in the end, and my sister did a lovely job, I was unhappy with my final result because the areas that we had to take in at the end should have been altered before the bodice was put together.

This was the pattern I altered and used.

Let's face it, hoop skirt dresses are not flattering on anyone. I would wear the crap out of one though, for the record. Since this was a Hallowedding, the bride needed to be hot, not frumpy. So this is the pattern we found and I made some alterations to make it more Lydia-like.

We ditched the sleeves and decided she could find long gloves. Then I made some decisions so that the dress could be worn again and not look like a Halloween costume. I made the train detachable and I made a ruffled collar that was also detachable.

I overlayed aspirin dot lace with a shiny, satin-like bridal fabric for the bodice and skirt.

I took Alison's measurements and altered the bodice and skirt pieces as needed.

I really need to replace my sweet vintage mannequin with a new one that isn't so broken. I set my mannequin to Al's measurements as best as I could and fit the bodice pattern pieces to the mannequin as closely as possible. THIS IS THE WRONG WAY TO DO THIS! Normally, you would fit the paper pieces to the person, pinning with appropriate seam allowance.

Then I cut the pieces, enforcing the high tension areas as described in the directions. I used my rotary cutter with a pinking edge. So awesome.

I applied boning where necessary. Haha, boning. The kind I used can be sewn through! This means I didn't have to make casings, which saved a lot of time.

These are the lining bodice pieces with boning in place. Haha, boning.

Then I overlayed the lace on the shiny fabric and sewed it in place around the edges with a loose straight stitch so that it could be removed later. This helps keep the lace in place without using pins and keeps wrinkles out of the lace.

Here are the overlaid bodice pieces. Haha, laid.

Here is the bodice pieced together. I wish I could have fit this to her before I sewed these pieces together. *Sigh*

After putting together the bodice, I switched to the collar. I used the collar pieces from the pattern as a guide. I overlaid the collar pieces with lace and created my own design for the ruffle.

I used two layers of ruffled lace and finished the edges with ribbon. (Like I did for my living room curtains!)

I created loops with cording for the button fasteners and purchased satin covered, shank buttons.

Next I attached the lace to the top of the bodice. This was tricky since the lace was pretty delicate. The pattern for this left the back open above the zipper with a clasp at the neck. I carefully handsewed the lining in place around the armholes and along all upper edges of the bodice. I finished all raw lace edges with the same ribbon from the collar.

After this, I made the skirt and attached the skirt to the bodice. I put the zipper in, hemmed the bottom of the skirt and added a clasp at the top of the zipper. Then I carefully hand sewed the lining from the bodice to cover the raw edges where the skirt and bodice meet and around the zipper. The final part of construction was the train.

I cut the pieces and sewed them together, leaving a thumb hole in the back. Then I gathered the top as instructed but instead of sewing this to the bottom of the skirt as instructed, I used a ribbon to cover the raw edge. Once this was sewn in place I used small metal snaps to attach it to the bottom of the skirt. This took forever.

I finished the bottom of the train with the thin ribbon.

And it was done! Or so I thought....

I mailed it to Alison at this point and we found that it was much too big. (Thank god it wasn't too small...) This was when we Skyped so I could try and see how much I needed to take it in, and where.


Because of time restraints before the wedding, the physical distance between us and the fact that we were both taking midterms in graduate school - this was the best we could do. I put some darts in the back of the skirt and took in the back panels of the bodice - which was not the correct way to fix the problem. I should have taken the bodice apart and taken in even amounts from each piece's width, doing the same for the skirt. I didn't have the time.

My sister fixed my crappy darts and made the fabric lay properly - she was able to meet with Alison and see her in the dress. Then she took in the train and had to re-sew the freaking snaps in place. Wow.

I will post pictures of Al in the dress when I can get my hands on some!

More soon!!



  1. Three posts in a day! YEA! Cher is back in action! That looks like a fun Hallowedding!

  2. Yea! It was a blast - I will be posting a video of it as soon as I can figure out how - haha