Monday, 18 April 2011

Click your heels together three times.

Saturday was a fairly successful day. The lining, which we cut out a few weeks ago, was provisionally stitched together by mum to do a final proper fitting.

Even though it's just satin lining, you can already see the form the dress is going to take, and it looks quite lovely even that way. Mainly the morning consisted of mum promising not to accidentally pin me but we got a good idea of how it's going to look.

We also called the overlocker into action for a practice session. Luckily, it came ready-threaded, so we haven't had to cross that bridge yet.

What we did do was practice a bit of serging. Now, I'm pretty used to my sewing machine by now, so the needle flying about doesn't really bother me. But when there are two needles, two "loopers" - needleish things at the bottom which shoot in and out - a knife flying about and some sort of strange spring going in and out, it starts to get a little scary again.

The results, though, make it all worth it. The neatness of the serged seams and the way the overlocked edges are fray-free, will give everything, as mum keeps repeating, "a more professional finish". We certainly hope so.

This week I also started cutting my first bridesmaid dresses. We went up to Mandors for a big fabric shop - one lot of navy blue fabric, one lot of royal blue, and one lot of "turtle" green. The fourth lot, which will be a kind of turquoisey bluey greeny is waiting til the bridesmaid in question can have a look and pick the colour herself.

Into this
rainbow will be my favourite fabric everrrrr... silk dupion in "Flower of Scotland" tartan print. I made a dress from this a couple of years ago for a friend's wedding and, if I didn't think it was mean to make them all dress like the Bay City Rollers, I'd probably have decked them all out in it.

Anyway, the colours fit together within the tartan, which we are going to turn into wraps (one side tartan, one side plain colour to match the dresses). Such is my plan. Mum has yet to be convinced of the genius of it... we shall see.

The thing which is causing some issues - in my head only - with the bridesmaids is the accessories. I think I've driven them half crazy with links to red shoes. Red shoes, you see, are the defining factor.

Why? Well it brings us back to the movies. Which is, of course, the Wizard of Oz.

Bridesmaid Louisa - officially my longest-serving friend, who I have known since she was born - says she remembers me telling her I would wear ruby slippers whenever I got married.

I had red shoes when I was little, but when I got to university I found the first pair which really could earn the ruby slippers title. They were flats from Office and they were loved so sincerely that I wore them thin, so badly that they let water in and started to fall apart. I still have them because I could not bear to put them in the bin.

Luckily, a few years later Marks and Spencer had a flash of shoe genius just before Christmas
and came out with these beauties. Not only with the sequins but with the high heels too. They are pretty much the perfect shoes. C duly bought them as my Christmas present that year (I knew he was a keeper).

Although I've worn them a couple of times, I have, rather oddly for me, kept them in good nick by not wearing them to death. And as soon as we got engaged, I boxed them away so that they'd be good on the day.

Don't worry - that's about as sentimental as I get.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Getting over The Fear

The Fear, as I'm sure you've experienced at one point or another, can grip you at any given moment of importance in life. In our case, The Fear arrived just as we were pinning the pattern to the Official Lining.

That's right - no more practice sessions. This was serious business.

We figured cutting the bodice in lining first, to get the fit just right, was the best plan. However mum now refuses to wield the scissors in case
something goes wrong. Eventually we had to have a reality check and remind ourselves that this is, when all is said and done, just a frock. Just a frock. Which is, mum said, exactly what she said to herself when making her own dress (41 years ago last Thursday!).

So with that ringing in my ears I got snipping. We cut out the bodice and skirt lining - with another jolt of The Fear as my mum pointed out we had, rather daftly, forgotten that we've adapted the pattern to put the zip at the back rather than side, so I had to very gingerly cut the skirt back in half. Phew.

After the trauma was over, we pinned it all together (the conversation went much like this: Mum: "So we'll pin it all together first." Me: "Boring! Let's just go for the stitch." Mum: "I'll stitch you in a minute.") and tried it on me for size.

There was a minor issue in the fit at the front, which means instead of the darts on the pattern we have developed a crazy-but-brilliant system of double-darting to make it actually fit to my shape. Also for reasons completely unexplained by the pattern, the back of the bodice came out a good half inch shorter than the front. Those problems sorted, we feel we can have a good run at the proper thing next time (at least in terms of cutting and fitting it... before we get brave enough to stitch it all together).

The other main development is that my mum has bought an overlocker. What is an overlocker, you ask? It is the thing which makes all of the seams and hems all pretty and neat - which, understandably, is somewhat desireable in a wedding dress.

The overlocker, however, is still in its box as we also have The Fear about using it. It's got a combination of knives and needles which is somewhat intimidating, to be honest. What has been removed, however, is the informational DVD which mum made me sit and watch. It shows you how to thread the FOUR (FOUR!) different parts of the machine, how to do a rolled hem (without, eh, showing you what it looks like when finished) and how to attach attractive sweatband-cuff-things to your clothes (unlikely to every be a feature which is used) but, unfortunately, doesn't go in to how not to slice your fingers off with the big fat knife inside.

I'm sure we'll figure it out without disaster. If not, at least it'll make a good story for the speech: "Yes, originally the dress was going to be white, but after The Incident we thought dyeing it would be the best option."