The Pregnant Wedding Guest

July 28th, 2015 - 

My friends are getting married in October just a month before my due date. I expect to be very large and possibly uncomfortable at that point but I still want to look cute at a wedding, if I can.

It’s hard enough trying to find DIY maternity clothes, but finding something interesting to wear to a wedding is a real challenge.

Here’s what I’m looking at so far:

1. The Tent Dress

INSPIRATION:

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PATTERN:

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Simplicity 1105 is the only pattern I’ve found that comes close to what I’m imagining. I love the illusion neckline swing dress I found online and would like to do something like that. *Maybe* even with embroidery(!?) plus a little petticoat underneath to help keep its shape. I think this could be really amazing. A lot of work — because I’d really need to adjust this pattern (change the back, add sleeves, create the illusion neckline) — but I’ve got three months so there’s time.

I realize this is the no-no shape that pregnant women shouldn’t ever wear because it makes you look EVEN BIGGER, but I think I might be into that. Especially with a fabric that’s slightly flowy and a hemline that hits above the knee.

There’s some precedent for people wearing this shape while pregnant…

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I’m not alone!

2. The Gown

(NO INSPIRATION)

PATTERN:

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Simplicity 1102 and Burda Style 7106 are appealing because of their cut-outs around the shoulders. I like that it’s mostly covering the body, except for that one detail.

3. The Crop Top and Long Dress

INSPIRATION:

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PATTERN:

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Burda Cap Sleeve Cropped Top 02/2015 #127 +McCall’s 6608 could work for this. I might even just make this to wear to work.

4. The Kardashian

INSPIRATION:

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PATTERN:

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I am so very into this dress. I think it’s amazing. I think I could achieve something similar using McCall’s 7122 (basic shape in a stretch fabric) and Vogue 2273 (fishtail/train). Wouldn’t want to do the built-in gloves, but I just think this whole idea for a dress is stunning and amazing and I love it. It’s so out there.

Leaning towards the tent dress right now and hoping to pick up that Simplicity pattern at an upcoming sale at Hancock Fabric. Wish me luck!

Wedding Dress Recap

November 15th, 2013 - 

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Having zero experience and moderate confidence, I believed I could sew my own wedding gown and I did.

A year ago, I had only sewn quilts and unfinished or misshapen garments. Knowing this, my then-boyfriend-now-husband still assumed I could make him a Western shirt. I like him, so I tried.

After completing the first Western shirt, I was utterly impressed by own achievement. So much so, I figured I could probably make more garments. Even a wedding dress. I was relieved by the thought.

I was already sick from looking at wedding dresses online, never finding the right one, and being totally put off by the price or quality of each one. I figured it was time to commit to making my own, cobbling together the best parts of the dresses I’d seen, and inventing something unique just for me.

I knew that this project was out of my experience level, so I approached it very gradually.

I found the “looks” I wanted in both the Burda Princess Dress 11/2012 #121 pleated skirt and the top from this Simplicity 4070 cocktail dress.

My hemline was inspired by this Embellished High-Low Gown by Oscar de la Renta:

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Oscar de la Renta can do no wrong.

The tone of our wedding was inspired by the prom scene in Back to the Future and I wanted something that fit our evening but also met my criteria:

  • Suitable for dancing all night
  • Something I wouldn’t trip over
  • A neckline I wouldn’t fall out of
  • Not white
  • Sweetheart neckline
  • Pockets
  • Tea length hemline
  • Could still be identified as a wedding dress

tada-happy

I feel very happy that I have achieved most of my goals.

The bodice has boning in its underlining, for structure and support. This was a challenge for me. I spent a lot of time agonizing over how to properly insert boning. I read a ton of books about corsets and undergarment construction but never really found the “how to” guide I wanted, which would use exhaustive details and pictures to describe the process of creating a beautiful boning channel. You would be surprised how many books have words in them, guys. What I needed was photojournalism.

In the end, I realized that what’s in this dress isn’t visible — it’s not a sexy corset or anything like that, it’s just a support structure — so I cut corners. Considering I would only wear the dress once, it didn’t matter much to me if the boning was slightly distorted by the end of the night.

Therefore, I used Dritz Featherlight Twill Boning — a kind of plastic boning with a stiff cotton channel — and I didn’t bother ordering the spiral steel boning that more professional corset makers and sewers seem to use.

The invisible zipper in the back gave me some anxiety. When I started the project, I still had my old Kenmore Mini Ultra and I couldn’t figure out if there was a zipper foot available for that machine. While waiting for zippers to make sense and accessories to appear from thin air, I sewed more, grew more confident, and decided to buy a nicer machine with many presser foot options to avoid the headache of inserting a zip without the right supplies.

Buying my Janome Sewist 500 was definitely the right choice. I’ve never been happier sewing than I have been the past few months with a decent machine. To call the purchase life-changing is probably an understatement.

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I don’t mind saying that I did an incredible job inserting my first invisible zipper. I also found an innovative way of attaching the full zip down the bodice and into the skirt of the dress, hiding it in the folds of the pleated skirt. Bringing that concept together felt amazing.

The skirt had extra fabric in back, along the zipper, and the zipper extends about half-way down my rear. This allowed me to get into the dress more easily because with the flap and zipper open, I had a lot more room in the waist and bodice. Of course, that flap of fabric needed to be attached back to the skirt once I was zipped in, which I achieved through four “hidden snaps” in the bustle area.

The additional fabric also meant more fullness in the “train,” which is what I wanted. I really agonized over how to do this, but once I just bared down and pushed forward the answers luckily fell into place.

I’m so grateful that I spent time during this project to take breaks and work on other things. It improved my skill level tremendously and helped me build confidence for eventually returning to this project that was, at first, out of my ability and, at every moment, very important to me.

I did agonize and think on every little bit of this garment before making my decisions final in the cloth. I hope the end result is something, though, that looks effortless!

Elvis sang me down the aisle and married us, it was very special

I tried to build volume within the dress by lining the top pink and under magenta color with organza, but wasn’t convinced it did enough to achieve the full look I wanted in the skirt, so a few days before the wedding I bought a petticoat for more volume.

horsehairhem

There is horsehair in both layers of the dress hem. It was a real process involving a lot of hand-sewing and I didn’t document the process but it was pre-tty cool, guys. Pre-tty cool.

I covered a headband with my dress material so that explains the matching. My dad asked for a tie made of my dress material too, a few weeks out from our wedding day, but I was unable to deliver on the request.

tables

I actually sewed all of the gold table covers (20) in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I might go over this process in another post. It’s not mind-blowing, just interesting. Anyway, that project took up a lot of time at the last minute and I’m still sad I never got to make my dad’s tie.

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Not that he “needed” it. He changed into jeans as soon as he could after the ceremony. Classic Dad.

It’s good that I finished my dress early so I could accept a few additional projects like my headband and tablecloths that came up near the wedding date.

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BUT ALSO. Having our outfits ready a month ahead allowed us to get this photo stand made, which our guests clearly enjoyed at the party. Much love to Jacie of Moss Love Terrariums for taking the photograph of us that we used in the stand!

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Adam’s coworker made this Airstream cake. In lieu of gifts, we asked guests for money to help fix up our 1978 31′ Airstream Sovereign

Well, I had a lot of fun making this dress. I somehow paced the work just fine. I didn’t get too stressed or screw up anything or have to buy my gown. I did spill a lot of champagne on it that night, but I’m sure that’s just the hallmark of a good time.

Someday I would like to make another fancy dress. And I should. Because I still have 7 yards of this fabric.

How To: Covered Headband

October 22nd, 2013 - 

I’m getting married on Saturday!

I’ve made my own dress, so I’ll post about that later.

When I bought the fabric at SR Harris I was brand new to sewing, so I had no idea how much to buy for a full-length gown. I was also concerned I would fail and have to re-make large portions — so I got 10 yards!! Still cheaper than buying a new dress, and more personal, but that’s a lot of fabric I have now to deal with.

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Which is why, when thinking about the kind of hair piece I wanted, I decided to cover a headband with my dress fabric and go all matchy-matchy. Here’s how I went about it:

  1. I found a hard plastic headband that was already covered. I wanted to see how “the professionals” did it. What I found was that most of the fabric had been glued in place. I decided I would sew mine instead.
  2. It was important that the headband not have teeth, it needed to be flat and smooth. The teeth wouldn’t do any good covered up by a silky fabric — it would have just been too bulky.
  3. I traced the headband on some paper (laid it flat and traced both sides while I rolled and stretched it along) and added .25″ seam allowance.
  4. I made a muslin and it was too small — .25″ seam allowance was not enough to account for the surface area along the edge of the headband.
  5. I cut one piece with a .25″ seam allowance (the underside) and one piece with a .375″ seam allowance (the top side) on the grainline (not on the bias).
  6. I matched the edges on one side and both ear pieces and machine stitched those areas with right sides facing using a .25″ seam allownace
  7. I trimmed down the seam allowance and snipped along the ear pieces, then turned it out, slipped the ear pieces of the headband into their holes — a nice tight fit!
  8. I stretched the top fabric around the headband to its underside, folded over the bottom fabric (trimmed it a bit first, maybe .25″ — due to stretch) and hand stitched it along the seam, using this method, making sure that the seam line fed along the bottom of the headband (not along the edge of the headband), and was hidden.
    photo 1
  9. DONE! The “pretty” machine stitching will go in the front and the hand stitching in the back. An enamel flower tie clip (I think that’s what it is) will finish the look.
    photo 3

Going in for my hair trial tonight!

UPDATE:
hairtrial