Fall Wedding

Photo: Robert Gaona

In September of 2015, K contacted me about making her wedding dress. She had found a picture online of a dress that she loved but couldn't find anything like it in the shops. I poked around and finally figured out that the original dress was custom made by a woman named Penelope Perkins in Salt Lake City.

Photo: Alixann Loosle Photography

K loved the layered look of the skirt but wanted some changes. I did a few rough sketches until we were both on the same page about what she wanted.  Then came swatches and fabric choices and finding a base pattern. I decided to use Kwik Sew 3929 because the neckline was close to what she wanted.

This was a very different experience from my first wedding dress, as almost everything I needed to do I had already done before. I didn't have the same nail-biting moments where I "knew" what I had to do (but I only knew it because I had read about it in a book or watched a video online) but wasn't entirely confident I could pull it off. So this time around I had much more confidence and much less terror.

The muslin revealed some fitting issues and I made the following adjustments to the pattern:
  • Sway back adjustment of about 3/8"
  • Take in princess seams here and there
  • Lower center front section by 1 inch
  • Lower armsyche by 1/2"
  • Adjust front shoulder slope - not sure what to call this, but I had to slash and spread a little dart (you can see this in the photo below)

Blue lines are new stitch lines

Construction details:
  • The bodice and skirt were underlined with white cotton batiste
  • I used poly charmeuse for the base layer for both bodice and skirt, and the bodice has a lace overlay
  • I used the same poly charmeuse for the lining, and underlined the bodice lining with muslin
  • The bodice has boning at center, side fronts, side seams,  side backs and just outside back zipper for a total of nine spiral steel bones (I later shortened the center bone by about 3 inches)
  • The skirt handkerchief overlays are alternating chiffon and lace - once I knew how long I wanted the points to be for each layer, I got to review high school geometry to figure out the size of each square
  • I cut the waist of the skirt overlays large so that I could add volume with pleats (you can see these in the picture below where K's mom is zipping up the dress) 
  • I did not hem the lace overlay and I sewed a tiny rolled hem for the chiffon layers - about 13 yards worth of hemming
  • Neckline lightly eased to shorter twill tape to help it curve inwards
  • Waist stay added to help distribute the weight of the skirt
  • Wedding dress strength invisible zipper
  • Lining hand stitched to outer layer
  • Fabric was purchased from Fabric.com 

K's mom came to almost every fitting and her joy and excitement for her daughter was palpable.

Photo: Robert Gaona

Photo: Robert Gaona

K works for our local park district and she and her husband were married in one of the local parks. We've had a mild fall in the midwest, and their day was sunny and bright, warm in the sun and slightly crisp in the shade.

Photo: Robert Gaona

I love these kinds of projects: fun, challenging sewing on something that really matters to the client. I am so grateful for this work. Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers - may you all find projects that will you with gratitude for the gift of sewing!

Photo: Robert Gaona


My Latest

Hey! How are you all? It's been awhile since I posted here (not apologizing, just observing). I post a little more frequently over on Instagram, but I'm a bit downpour or drought when it comes to social media.

I've been working on some fun projects this year and I'll do my best to post about them at some point. Or not. We'll see! My latest is a partnership of two of my favorite Indie pattern companies: Jalie and StyleArc.

I found the inspiration for the trousers in a Sundance catalog that made it to the pile of reading material in the bathroom. When I saw them they reminded me of the Style Arc Lola pants, if you could imagine a few tweaks (which I could and did). I should show you a picture of the inspiration pants now, but they are no longer on the Sundance website and if I get up to go take a picture of the ripped out page, I'll likely get distracted and then this post will join the rest of the imagined posts in my mind. So instead, I'll just ask you to trust me. They looked like Lola pants with front patch pockets and a center seam down each leg.

Casual elastic waist pant with pockets & back hem detail
Style Arc Lola Pants

So I made a muslin of the Lola pants. The only alteration I had to do was to add a 1/4 to each side seam from about hip level down. Now that I've made up the pants in a linen-rayon blend, I kinda want to take that 1/4" back out, but I'll see what happens after I wash them. Oh, and I also added about an inch to the length.

Design changes were to add the center front seam to each leg using the grainline as a reference point, changing out the pockets for patch pockets, widening the front flat waistband so that it lined up with the new center seams. I also ditched the elastic in the back hem, but I might try that if I make a version of these with a heavier weight fabric.

And it looks about like what I wanted.

I bought some of the same linen-rayon fabric (from Fabric.com) in a dark teal and I might make a few more tweaks before I sew up a second pair in my more favorite fabric.

The top is the Jalie Haut Twist top without the front ruffle. I love this pattern and the red version is the fifth one I've made since March. And I have an idea for a sixth using two different fabrics. You can see the whole parade of them in my Instagram feed. The fabric for this one plus all but one of the other four came from GorgeousFabrics.com. My changes to the pattern were to add an inch in length, omit the back tie, and finish the neck the arms with clear elastic (I didn't like how the fold under method in the instructions turned out).

So there you go, another two items off my summer list. Because I am trying to follow a list this summer so that I can stay focused. So far I've crossed eight items off my personal list so it just might be working!

What about you? What are you sewing and how do you stay focused?


Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

It's here, a New Year. I'm getting back into routine after a lazy, lounge-y holiday with the family. I enjoy the break from regular routine and then I'm hungry to get back to it again, too.

I managed to get a little holiday sewing completed after I finished up the biker jacket for K. No fancy holiday dresses for me, but my handmade presents were well-received and fun to create.

Jalie 3244 Footed Pjs

Jalie 3460 Bella Fit and Flare birthday dress for Mooper

Butterick 5822 Coat for my MIL

She picked out this pop of color for the lining - I like it!

My sewing goals for the year are to make more jeans and outerwear. I'm sure I'll sew up a few jersey tops and dresses for myself in between the challenging projects, but I also want to stretch my skills. Yesterday afternoon I cut out a new pair of Angel Wolf Angel Bootcut jeans and a muslin for the Kenneth King Carefree Fly Front Coat Craftsy course I'm working through, so I'm off to a good start! I've also got some fun client projects lined up for January and February and I'll do my best to share those on this blog. Come find me on Instagram for more regular updates.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!


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