Saturday, 11 August 2012

Voile seams

After sewing my side seams in the voile I had to remove the thread tracing. It shows here why its nice to do the thread ends away from the seam well into the seam allowance -  You can just snip close to the knotting and know that it will be cut away when it comes to hot knife cutting the seam allowance.

Heres a close up of the finished seams (before ironing) - no knots, no fraying.

Here are the panels attached to the dressmaker and pinned roughly in place. I pinned all the lace bits and bobs on to check the dress still looks like I imagined - I'm still feeling confident!

And the back...

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cutting seams with a hot knife or soldering iron

Today started with a sample - I tried out all the tensions (I settled on '1'), and whether to use cream thread, white thread, or a mix of cream and white. I settled on cream. I also tested whether to sew the seam once it was trimmed and ironed and decided it didn't need it.

For the seams of the voile I decided to make the most of the synthetic fabric and heat cut after sewing - this heat seals the edges. Heres my set up - a marble cutting board (glass is usually recommended), a metal ruler, the soldering iron with a pointed tip, a water soaked sponge and some more cleaning items (a sanding block, emery board and nail cuticle remover which can get rid of the worst bits).

Get your fabric and ruler ready..

Line up the seam so that its straight..

Then move the ruler up to give a seam allowance.

Hold down, be careful to keep your fingers away from the blade!

Then smoothly cut (I had to remove my fingers as I was taking this picture)!

 Peel away the excess whilst still holding the ruler. It might be worth cutting away the excess as you go rather than keeping one big strip - especially with hot knifes around!

Unfortunately the tip becomes pretty grubby - if its not cleaned regularly this transfers to the fabric.

To clean keep a soaked sponge nearby and clean as you go - use the wet part of the sponge. Just to let you know the sponge WILL be ruined so perhaps keep one set by just for this.

Even with the sponge there may still be some residue...

So use fine sandpaper to clean this off. Use brisk movements as the sandpaper will burn too!

An emery board is also useful.

Heres the completed cut seam. 

So I've sewn all the seams in the voile fabric. NB apart from one seam at each side, like the other skirt layers - the skirt layers are now in two sections 'front' and 'back'.

I have a few more pics but I'll save them for tomorrow as this post was more of a tutorial!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Bridesmaids' fur shrugs completed!

All cut out, darts sewn, and ready to go...

Simply sewn around the edges, leaving a gap at the bottom. Then Notches and slits so that the curves will work properly once turned right way out.

All four turned the right way out - I only need three for the bridesmaids so I'm going to try to sell one! Last thing to do was to hand sew the small hole left from turning closed.

They all look the same so here are some completed shots.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


I realised I never posted about the centrepieces!

The recipe (makes one centrepiece):


1 50cm glass vase
Approx 5 handfuls of river stones
2-3 branches
Strong Wire (and pliers to cut and shape)
14 Frosted tealight holders (replace 2-3 with lace tealight holders if required)
Electronic tea lights
1m Chandelier crystals, separated
12-13 foam roses in different sizes, some with leaves


1. Wrap roses around each other in a circle shape sized to fit around the base of the vase.

2. Place the ring of roses around the vase.

3. Place the river stones and branches into the vase.

4. Wrap wire around 4 tealight holders and add a loop as a 'bucket' handle.

5. Wrap wire around four parts of branches into a hook shape.

6. Place electric tealights into all the candle holders.

7. Hang the wire wrapped tealight holders on the branches and arrange the rest around the base of the tree.

8. Hang the separated chandelier crystals on the branches in random patterns.

Starting the Fur Shrugs for the Bridesmaids

With the help of my chief bridesmaid I used thick scrap fabric to create a shrug pattern. Its quite simple with just two darts as shoulder seams.

It will fasten at the front with a ribbon or a button.

I drafted just one side - its loose so two sided fittings really are not necessary!

I then transferred and mirrored the pattern onto newspaper

And started to cut the fur! I've cut it to about 1.5cm seam allowance and because the fur is quite short I didn't cut it properly using a furriers knife or tiny snips with the scissors - I just went ahead and cut through the whole thing so ended up with a lot of fur on the carpet. Still, I think cutting the lot then cleaning was quicker than if I'd been snipping at a snails pace.

The fur and lining fabric is all from a Queen sized blanket my nana spotted at a charity shop. Beautiful fur, amazing price, upcycling and donating to charity. I believe from the feel of it the fur is rabbit. Its clearly quite old and I have no qualms about using fur - especially if it is from an animal that is culled for biodiversity purposes by rangers worldwide. I have one bridesmaid who does not want to wear fur so she and the flower girl will have navy blue fleece wraps made from some fabric I have in my stash.

Here are the cut fur pieces ready to sew up another day. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hiding the dress away for a while

A small pic to show some progress. I've sewn almost all the lace motifs onto the bottom layer and rethought my skirt design slightly. 
On the bottom layer - small 'spikes' of motifs will run up each seam and the centre back seam will have a lot more lace 'cascading down' the full length of the skirt and train.
For the two voile layers - the only lace will be at the centre back and some along the very bottom. The motifs will be scattered around the layers to give a little more depth.

I've done all the seams apart from two (leaving open for better fitting) and all the 'spikes' of lace motifs on the seams bar 2, plus the two seams that aren't yet sewn. The dress now has to go away as my fiancé has returned home.

After positioning and laying out all the layers nicely I've positioned a pink fabric at the bottom. I've told my fiancé that my dress is a pale pink colour which would really not suit my skin tone. He believes me so I'm continuing the pretence. Theres obviously nothing wrong with pink wedding dresses but it is not 'us'!

Heres the dress with the big parachute like cover so he can't see anything (apart from a tiny bit of pink poking out the bottom)!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Underskirt Part 3

For attaching the hoops I made four 'sleeves' for them - here they are before being turned inside out.

...And after flipping and ironing. NB My jubilee nails!

I threaded the hoops through the sleeves and rejoined the circles with the plastic sleeves that were used with the original underskirt.

I pinned and sewed my hoops in the wrong place and had to reposition them. The lilac shows where I repositioned them to. You should have the skirt wrong way out before positioning and sewing. Where you have the hoops and at what angle will dictate the shape of the dress. I wanted mine reasonably Teardrop A-Line shaped but with the train trailing further out. If you want to be more A-Line without a train position the hoops horizontally. For Princess you position the smaller loop higher up! After positioning its worth flipping the skirt right side out to see where the hoop holds the fabric away from the body.

Next I ironed all the netting which took ages!

And made sure that the gathers were either still in place or regathered and sewn.

There are three layers of netting - one at the top which is only around the back half of the dress.

And two more further down that go all the way around. They are more gathered at the back for volume where you want it. 

I ended up repositioning my bottom two netting layers further down and in more of a 'V' so that the bottom layer is almost horizontal and laying on the floor - I'm hoping this will help the train stay out and looking good.

I found sewing the netting onto the skirt was easiest by hand - the stitches aren't exactly tiny and neat but I don't think it'll look any tidier by machine! I'm considering sewing lace edging to the bottom layer of net so that any bits that peek out from underneath the dress will still look nice!