Oh my goodness. Did you ever think this day would come? This is the last of the Wedding Dress sewing posts! I do have some other wedding sewing and DIYs to share with you (an army of dressing gowns, Jon’s clothes, my flower crown, the painted signs) but this…. This is the last of the dress posts.
Before we get too far into the fun, here’s an answer to a question. Sarah asked for clarification on the piece of boning I called the ‘power bar’ in my corselet-building post, and I didn’t have a photo at a better angle, so I’ve made a diagram. Hopefully this explains the boning placement a bit better, Sarah!
The black drawn-on lines represent boning - all the seams are boned (the front is cut on the fold, and there’s no boning in the CB because of the zipper) - but you’ll notice the extra line on the side-front piece - it gently curves from the bottom front to the armhole, and it’s this piece that acts as a power bar to push the bust forward. Depending on your shape you may need to relocate the bone slightly, but something like this will work with a variety of shapes!
Now. The hem!
My final steps were leveling and sewing the hem (with a little help from my friends) and finishing up that little section of the back that wasn’t quite sitting right. Here we go!
After the zipper was in, my friend Jay helped me level off the skirt. On the bias sections of the gauze, the hem had dropped up to 17 inches!! We started with the lowest satin layer - I stood on a chair while she cut off length, first a rough pass leaving things about 2” longer than required, and then a leveling pass to set the final hem length (plus the 3/8” that the rolled hem needed). I tested moving around in the skirt, and then we did the same for the second layer of skirt.
I hemmed these two layers by machine - they needed to be hemmed but they didn’t need to be up-close visibly perfect, so the machine rolled hem was fine. There are definitely a few spots that aren’t the prettiest in all the land, but the hem is even, enclosed, and most importantly - hidden under the top layer of skirt. You have to pick your battles, and hand rolling all three skirts was just never going to happen. Hemming by machine creates quite a dense hem as well, which is nice because the stiffness helps the hem stand away from my feet just a little bit more.
The top layer was a different story. Jay helped me level it, same as the others, but this time the hem treatment was a bit different. hemming the gauze was an exercise in creating a finish as unobtrusive as possible - I wanted the dress to look like it just ended. no visible stitching, no change in behaviour. It’s a tough ask from such a delicate fabric. I chose a hand rolled hem, and decided that for the penultimate task in the creation of my wedding dress, I wanted to spend it with all of my friends: I wanted a hem party.
(I feel like it’s not an amazing pun if I have to explain it, but I’m doing it anyways - get it? It’s like a hen party, except it’s a Hem! Because sewing! insert clip of me, giggling maniacally)
Sorry. So I invited a group of lovely local sewing ladies over (Jon’s mom Gill was kind enough to let us borrow her backyard and parlour - parlour for sewing and backyard for snacks and hangouts) and all together, everyone took turns with a section of hem and we got it knocked out in under an hour and a half! All 12 metres of circle skirt hand rolled! After that, I had a ceremonial try-on of the dress, we popped a bottle of champagne, and hung out and chatted and snacked! It was incredible.
I’m so thankful to have met so many amazing sewists here in Auckland - a place I haven’t really lived all that long, and that they’ve absolutely accepted me as one of their own. I love that we all got to come together to make this happen, and it was also awesome to show the dress, in person, to a bunch of sewing people who understood the nerdy little bits of it - just the way you all do!
Jay, bless her, also commandeered my phone for the duration of the party which was delightful because otherwise I’d have exactly zero photos of the entire thing.
So. Hemmed, my last task was that little bit at the back. A few times I’ve mentioned that the bodice of the dress has negative ease, which is how it’s able to be supportive but also have such a low back. You’ll also remember that the embroidery uses the exact shapes of the bodice pieces, so that they all line up exactly on the bodice. Now, the tulle sits nicely on that negative eased bodice which is great because I get all squeezed up in there when the zipper is closed up, but the sheer overlay section at the back doesn’t have the structured bodice underneath it to continue the squeeze. I can’t put the same type of tension on just the tulle, without the bodice underneath, or the fabric would pull apart, and the result is that the sheer overlay section ends up with a gap.
I had kind of anticipated this would happen, but I’d put it in the list of things to sort out when they actually became a problem. I wasn’t sure it was going to be a problem until I’d sewn the embroidery to the dress (in last week’s post) and here it was, so time to fix.
I got Jay to measure the gaps while the dress was on - at the top and at the bottom of the overlay section, so that I knew what shaped panel I needed to create to fill the void. I created my small pattern piece, bound some leftover pieces of tulle along one edge to create a center back opening, and used leftover beads to embroider extensions of the design. Then, I appliquéd the extensions on to the existing overlay edges. I added faux pearl bridal buttons down the left side edge, and added a top hook and a series of snaps so that it would close up above the zipper. The final touch was a little satin tab I added which would protect my skin from the zipper head when the dress was zipped up.
Last step? a little customised wedding label - there’s one of these in every garment I made for the wedding - with our date and our names and the little airplane heart which was an available clipart choice from Dutch Label Shop and very fitting for our relationship.
Just like that - after nearly two years of planning and a year of sewing - the dress was done. I finished with eight days to spare, which - I think - is a perfectly respectable number of days (especially given that I was still sewing my prom dress on the day of prom…)
Next week, I’ve got a few more finished-dress closeups and photos for you, but in case you missed it, this post is the story of our wedding day complete with photos, and it’s next up chronologically speaking even though I posted it before I finished telling you about the dress! I’m excited to start telling you about all the other things I’ve been making post-wedding, but I do have a few other wedding makes to share as well. I think I’m going to mix them up a little bit and share some new projects soon, otherwise I’m going to end up with a HUGE backlog of things to tell you about all over again! It’s only April and 2019 already seems to have some pretty awesome things in store for me - I have so much to tell you!