Comment from: Laura Visitor
That looks awesome. Love the center back motif.
Here we are, two months till show time. Yeah, starting to panic a bit. But the dress is coming along nicely. Still have plenty of time. I need to step back a bit from my Halloween Haunted House this year, and let others to most of the work, so I can keep going with the wedding stuff. That is a challenge, cause I have some great ideas for this year, just not sure about time to make it all happen. Anyway, back to the dress...
I needed to add another layer to the hem; this one a gold silk ruffle. The idea is leave about 3/4" of the dark blue showing, and then about 1" of the gold ruffle. I wanted it to look a bit different than the dark blue, so chose to do a spaced inverted double box pleat. Box pleats tend to get out of place and rowdy in a hurry, so they really need to be pressed and spaced apart a bit to tame them into submission. I made this ruffle a bit wider, 4" top to hem, so it is still folded double, no actual hem. Strips of fabric were cut at 8" wide. The spacing of the pleats means that I will need less than 3:1 for fabric. I didn't work it out exactly, but I think I just cut 10 strips of the gold and went from there. (3:1 for the blue ruffle was 12 strips)
I made a new "fork" tool for the pleating, this one 5/8" wide. It worked very well. To make a box pleats, I folded 2 pleats side-by-side rolling the "fork" over the top, then 2 pleats side-by-side rolling the fork under the bottom. I then made a space the width of the sewing plate, placing the edge of the fork at the edge of the plate to make the next roll over the top. You can see my video of the process bellow. And below that, you can see the finished ruffle.
I pressed the ruffle lightly, and being silk, it flattened out waaaay flat. But it seems to have loosened up a bit over time. And it keeps it's shape nicely, so I'm not going to worry about tacking it down.
Here is how it looks one the skirt. Funny note here: While pressing the pleats i found a section where I added and extra fold under by accident. I have no idea where it ended up on the dress, but somewhere is a triple pleat. No way to fix it without redoing ALL of the pleats, and I wasn't going to do that.
That marks the end of the hem treatments. Now it's time for the main event, my beautiful lace. The plan: I have 16 yard of edge (8 yards of lace, double edged) But I need to keep some in reserve for the bodice. And more importantly, it looks terrible over the dark blue so it needs to have the light blue under it to keep it looking light and fresh. And lastly, I have very limited amounts of the light blue. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to go with a 1.5:1 ruffle, with the blue silk flat-lined to the lace. A lean ruffle is good here, as the lace looks best when mostly flat, rather than a heavy gather. I thought about going totally flat, but worried that might look skimpy.
The blue needs to be 12.5" tall, finished with a 1.5" hem allowance: so the cut strips need to be 14" tall. Length of placement is 270" total, for the lower front section and then the upper section that goes around the whole skirt. Times 1.5 means I need 405" total trim, at 53" wide fabric, comes to 8 strips of 14" tall or 3.2 yards of the light blue. Not bad. And this is just under 12 yards of my edging. So far so good. Lots left over to play with later. It took a lot of time to start cutting the lace; panic while I stare at my expensive lace. It needed to be 11" tall, but with a scalloped hem, is that 11" at the top of the scallop or the bottom. I ended up cutting it a bit wider, and then chose the exact placement over the blue afterwards. I cut all the edging off. This leaves me with 8 yards of center medallion-type bits of lace that I can use for many years to come. No way can use it all on this dress.
Again, I sew all the strips of silk together first. For the hem on the blue silk, I went with the Blind Hem stitch on the sewing machine. I love blind hems. I guess it's been a while since I did one, and the silk was fighting me a bit, for some reason. But in the end I got the hem in. I always end up changing the settings from the manufacturers recommended settings. I always narrow down the stitch width, so that it takes a smaller bite for the catch stitch. Also, make sure that you adjust the blind hem foot carefully, so that the catch stitch takes only a few threads of the fold. I forgot to take photos or video of this stage, sorry about that. But here is a close up of the lace placement over the hem so you can see how that came out. And sorry about the quality of the overall lace/blue silk photo below that.
But, before I added the lace over the silk, I had to stitch the two 8 yard pieces of lace together to get one long strip. The issue now, was the two sides are mirror images of each other, so half the lace goes one way, and the other half goes the other way. The challenge, how to sew the two ends together so it doesn't look like they are sewn together. I laid the ends out on the table, and cut around motifs, lapping the sides over the other left-over-right for this motiff and then right-over left for that motif. I then hand stitched the pieces together. It came out AMAZING!!!!. It looked so good, I decided to use this part as the center front of the upper ruffle. The pic below was taken after sewing the ruffle to the skirt. I guess I was on a roll, and kept forgetting to take photos.
Sewing the lace onto the silk was a issue, due to the beads and sequins. The lace kept catching on the presser foot and I broke a needle about 12" in. Solution: Free Hand Embroidery Foot for the win! It took a bit of practice as the weight of the skirt kept pulling the skirt out of place when I changed grip. But I eventually got a rhythm down.
Now comes the time to attach the ruffle to skirt. I measured out a place in the motifs in the lace where I can take a 1" wide pleat, spaced every 4". I guess that means this lace has a 6" repeat. Perfect for an easy 1.5:1 exactly. I pin in the pleats, and then pin the whole thing to the skirt following my basting lines. This was a pain to do, due to the weight of the beaded lace and the hugeness of the skirt. But the basting REALLY helped. I did the lower ruffle first. I started at the one side, and just cut off the ruffle when I got to the other side.
Of course, that used up some of one side of the trim. After carefully measuring, I realized I got super lucky! I had used up just about 4 yard, and with the 4 yards of lace on the other end that I wasn't going to need for this ruffle, the piecing I had done to the center front left me very close to the same amount for both right and left sides of the skirt. I could piece the center back and have the two sides of the skirt mirrored and not have to worry about the swap in direction being in a weird place on one side. OMG, I don't think I could have planned that any better if I tried. Piecing together the center back was a bit more difficult, as the motifs didn't mesh as well. But I made it work.
I started pinning the ruffle on at the center front, and worked my way around to the center back. I ended up with about 6" extra at the center back, after matching the center of the ruffle to the center of the skirt. I added a 1" pleat at the center back, and then adjusted the pleats a bit larger going forwards again, to take up the extra. It took 3 wider pleats to make it fit. Pinned the other side, and it worked out close to the same. I think I ended up with 4 wide pleats. But the splice wasn't exactly in the middle, as I had to work around the motif rather than an explicit length, so really, it came out very close.
Today, here we are. Next up, shell ruching to cover the top edge of the lace. After that, it will just be a matter of sewing the skirt to the waistband, and it's done.
Created by • Last edit by on Sep 29, 2018
That looks awesome. Love the center back motif.
Absolutely exquisite. Wonderful work, thanks for sharing
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