Is it done yet?? That seems to be the question I keep getting over and over. Why did I tell so many people that I was making my own wedding gown!! It’s so easy for me to talk with clients and help them create something that is just special for them! Now my self talk has begun . . . it’s time to start on some simple garments and work with my boobs and broad shoulders so that I can make a pattern for my gown. Once I get a few items completed, I’ll be much more comfortable drafting a muslin mock for myself of the actual gown bodice, that by-the-way, was supposed to be done weeks ago. Truth be told, I’m not feeling that far behind or stressed, so that’s all good.
Two months Five weeks is plenty of time! [Update – I wrote most of this post weeks ago. I’m happy to say the toile and pattern for my gown is complete!]
From my pattern stash I pulled out a few and carefully studied how they were made in the bust. I wanted one that had some similar lines to the bodice of my gown, and I wanted something that I could wear to work, church, or a dinner function. I decided on an ‘Amazing Fit’ by Simplicity # 1277. I’ve used parts of the Amazing Fit line with good luck with my customers, so I was hoping for the same for me. They include pieces based on your cup size (up to DD) and have a wide range of sizes going up to a Womens 28.
I also chose this pattern because I had enough fabric . . . as I mentioned in my last post, I had a motivation picture that I’d posted to Instagram. It was a jacket and pants that I’d designed for a Simon Mall competition a few years ago. The fabric I’d used to line that jacket was a lovely weight paisley polyester blend ‘silky’ from Jo Ann’s, called ‘Ocean.’ After my competition, I’d gone back to get more of it for a dress for me, I liked it that much! It’s navy blue background with various shades of teal running through it, these colors are really good for me and they do remind me of the ocean. Ironically, I knew I was falling in love with Carl at the ocean and that’s where we’re going for our honeymoon. But we’ll save those stories for another time . . . and another blog post!
I’d actually forgotten about the fabric until last year, when in a panic for one of my fashion shows I needed to come up with something, and I needed it quick. I was going to add a cold shoulder sleeve to a vest I’d already made and shown in a previous show, giving it a different and new look. My Ocean fabric was in the right color family and since I was only going to be tacking these sleeves on for one show, they’d be usable after for my dress – if and when I got around to it!
I pulled all my pattern pieces out, comparing them against my own measurements and determined I’d need to cut the largest size for my body but a different, smaller size for the neck and shoulders. Patterns run so differently than off the rack, it’s hard to not be discouraged when you see the number, but it’s just a number that really means nothing . . . Or so I’m trying to convince myself!
The measuring, altering patterns, pinning, rechecking measurements, and cutting always seems to take the most amount of time, this is when you know whether your garment will fit or not. Once cut, you can’t easily make larger, especially if it is something in the length and my torso is long and wide. I tend to always go with the larger size and take in as needed and this pattern has a generous 1″ side seam allowance. Since my tummy area has no defined waist, I wanted to give the illusion with a contrast for the inset pieces. I had some teal lightweight wool left over from the pants, and I already knew it matched! The only thing I did when cutting out my dress was straighten the side seam. I’d rather nip it in a bit for my own curves than have it too tight to start with.
I was so happy with the fit on the base of this dress that I left it behind to move on to making my bodice toile for my gown (watch for that blog post!!) And then, thanks to my friend Rebecca and her blog post, I was inspired to complete this dress for the TGIFF Party. I’d already inserted a muslin sleeve and knew the adjustments I needed to make to the sleeve that had been tacked on to the vest.
Sleeve inserted, hems and hand stitching done . . . and I’m off to work!! And it’s completed by Friday! I think I might shorten it a bit, making it more flattering. And I wish I wasn’t such a big girl, but I do feel great in my me made!! I also love the bell sleeve with the elastic gathering at the elbow. I know I’ll feel just as awesome in my wedding gown too!
PRO TIP: When you’re trying to match a waist seam while inserting an invisible zipper, stitch the right side. Zip it up. Place a pin with a colorful head, or use a chalk pencil, where the seam is. Unzip, being careful not to lose the pin! Place that pin at the waist, pin on both sides and stitch it up. Voilà, it matches perfectly!!