You might have noticed that I have not been posting. Well, at least I have noticed this. The reason for lack of posting is the slow, slow progress of a major project, on which I am still working (13 days to deadline).
This is what I have been doing during my valuable sewing time.
This is some of the 10m of bridal tulle in the understructure of my daughter's formal dress (for high school graduation).
I started with a corset foundation from this Belville Sassoon pattern
(I bought the pattern for the corselet pattern, I am not making this dress, although the overall silhouette bears some resemblence to it)
I then made the corselet pretty much according to the pattern, underlining it with silk organza, and self lining with the firm weave silk coutil (actually mysterious silk fabric from my grandmother's silk painting stash- it could be coutil). The fitting has to be skin tight, so there were 2 toiles involved.
Inside the corselet is boning, inside ribbon casings.
At this stage I was fairly pleased with myself, the corselet fitted well, was comfortable, etc, etc. However, the dress pattern then just has you attach the corselet inside the lining of the dress, and says "wear with a petticoat". Hmmm. My daughter was adamant that the dress could have no horizontal waist seam, but wanted a BIG skirt, so the puff factor below the hips needed some help.
I went to my copy of Couture techniques by Claire Schaeffer.
She has several pages devoted to understructure,which would have been more helpful had I read them before making this corselet - to start with, she says that corselets have 14-16 bones (mine had 8). Fortunately, my daughter is slender and elegant of bosom, so I thought she could probably get away with the minimal boning I had already included.
Claire Schaeffer shows a photograph of the corselet for a sleeveless dress with a deep bias band of the dress fabric finishing the corselet, so that it is not noticeable at the dress openings.
I used this technique to finish the upper edge.
Reading further, she describes how many corselets are attached to underskirts, so I made a cotton organdy princess line gored skirt, and added 3 overlayers of gathered bridal tulle to the skirt.
Unfortunately, this was not big enough in the skirt once we put the toile of the dress over the top.
I added another two layers of bridal tulle.
My daughter said it was a pity she wasn't going to a Halloween party, as she looks like a Manga character (I can't remember the name) when she wears the underlayer over her jeans.
Next I had to find some sheer or light fabric for the bias edge on the lattice smocked bodice (worked out in our trial dress). I could not find this, so dyed some white silk organza using a procion dye I had bought in New Zealand (one of only two shades I own which I had purchased for no particular project) and this technique from Dharma fabrics.
(I also dyed a merino rib top of my husband (success) and my daughter's cotton top (fail) in the same batch)
Through some incredible luck, as clearly I have no skill at dyeing, this shade of silk organza matched the silk duchess satin beautifully, and I attached it to the bodice section within a rolled seam, and spent a few evenings doing some lattice smocking.
That piece of fabric used to be 150cm wide and 75cm in height.
Here is the bodice on Genivieve the dress form (she is not the same shape as my daughter), awaiting draping before being attached to the 7gore skirt.
The bodice is then attached by hand to the upper border of the corselet, and with stab stitches throughout the lattice bodice to the underlying corselet, particularly at the centre front and centre back.
I am currently beading the hem of this dress, as any attempt at an invisible hem is doomed to failure.
I am really enjoying making this dress, but I am also looking forward to it being over. I can feel a t shirt marathon building up.