Sunday, 21 August 2011

Full Circle

Well. Well well well.

Sometimes, when you're in the middle of something, you feel like it's never going to end. It's impossible to see the finish line from the centre of things. All you can see is horizon. And you can't imagine having everything done.

Last week was a bit like that. We thought we had come so far, and only had a tiny bit of work to do. Then.... as seems to have happened at most junctures... then, on the Saturday, we pressed all the edges of the lovely bodice we made the week before. And everything got a little bent out of shape.

The thing about delicate fabrics like dupion is that, put the steam droplets from an iron into them and they will fu-reeeeek out. Rather than the tough, shaped, paper-like consistency they previously displayed, they'll go all charmingly soft. Which is cool, unless you, like us, need a structure to keep your design in place. SIIIIIIGH.

So last Saturday, there may have been a small amount of tantrum. Even a few tears. And certainly a feeling of "let's just pack it in".

But no! We shall not fall at the last hurdle, we decided. What do you do when your top won't cooperate? You whack an inch off it at the neckline. So we did. And, thank the lord, it worked a bloomin' treat. And in fact, dare we say it, looked better.

Disaster averted, we pressed on (without actually pressing on the dress, to avoid similar results). An lo. She took form and was completed(eth).

Zip in, on it went and finally, there was the dress which had been shying away from us all along.

All that remained was the hem.

Don't mind the monkey, he's just helping me out a little. As an aside - a few years ago I got my first fancy hat (as possibly mentioned before, I have quite the thing for hats and fascinators).

However, being that it was from H&M said hat had been crushed in a pile of other hats in one of those big box things they're so fond of in H&M. So the veil was waaaayyyy out of whack. I solved this sartorial dilemma by pinning the veil down across Monkey's face so that it sorted itself into a more face-like shape. Voila!

My own dear sparkly heart had a similar problem - the lovely veil was flying up up and away and not draping dramatically as it should. So here it is being pulled out courtesy of helpful Monkey. Cheers mate.

Anyway, let us stop digressing and go back to the task at hand. With mum taking a well-deserved break in Spain, I had 10m of hem to tackle this weekend, between the lining and the skirt itself.

Check it out - that's a whole lotta hem laid out there.

So it began with pinning. More pinning. And just a little bit more pinning.

The skirt had to come up by an inch all the way round, so the plan was to overlock it to just below where the inch was and turn it up from that.

In this instance, the overlocker (NEHHHHRRRRRRRRR THUDTHUDTHUD NHREEEERRRRRRRR) has been quite the saviour. Trying to cut with a steady hand round ten metres is no mean feat - no matter how many pins you use. With the overlocker, it just gets whacked off as you go which saved a tremendous amount of time.

So round and round I went. I took the lining as a practice run. Slowly round it went, chopping off the excess and coming out all neat and pretty.

Happy that I had given myself quite enough training, I moved on to the skirt itself.

I thought I'd be quite terrified, so I put a bit of Sex and the City on in the background to keep my ears entertained. It was the first season where it's a bit rough and they still continually break the fourth wall.

But then, finally, it was done. And just in the nick of time - as you can see from this pic << the second 'looper' thread was mere seconds away from running out. That is NOT what you want to happen, trust me.

So now that it's all overlocked I guess you think I could relax. No. Because it's then back to pinning, pinning, pinning - all round the 10m again.

I managed to remember that my mum had told me to pin the lining the opposite way from the fabric. I managed to get it in a relatively straight line. I managed to even put the pins in the right direction (if you don't sew, you won't get that - but trust me, it makes a huuuuuge difference). And of course I had Carrie and Co to keep me going through all the pinning.

It was time to run it through the machine and hope for the best. Luckily, I managed not to randomly stick up the skirt, or sew and extra bits together, or catch the hem so that it was "all bumfly" in Mum terminology.

Thus - tada! tralala! Hemageddon had passed (we've been using -ageddon a lot as a suffix of late. Love it).

Actually, this pic is a cheat. It's the dress before hemming. But I only took pics of myself wearing it and - just in case, just in case of the slightest, most unlikely chance of C coming across this, I don't want to risk it.

So there we have it. Full Circle (it actually is, I laid it out on the bed like a big circle and it looked really funny).

I have to say, putting it on, that I'm so glad we did it.

For all the extra stress, and the effort, and the worry, it is worth it to have *exactly* the dress you want. One no-one else can have. And one which means something. At this stage, I couldn't care less if everyone else hates it. I'm just glad to have it.

The only thing left, you may notice, is the belt. Having had yet more thoughts on this subject, we've decided to do a wee beady thing. That's all to come. But it's done. It's done!!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Pins, pins, and more pins.

To say we've had a busy weekend would be a bit of an under-exaggeration.

There were pins, so many pins. And so many attempts.

See, last week, I think we were quite pleased last week, thinking we'd got far ahead and today wouldn't be too bad.


In the end up, there was rather a lot to do, because nothing was *quite* right. There's that little bit, here and there. Half a centimeter here; quarter of an inch there. As little as it might seem, every piece makes a difference. Especially when you finally have the right underwear on, which I did thanks to some truly fabulous pieces from What Katie Did.

Everything went one step forward and two steps back, all weekend.

Anyway, we tried one bit. We cut out another bit. The front was wrong.

We fixed the front. The back was too small. We cut out new backs.

The sides were squinty. We cut out new fronts. The sides were still squinty. We repinned them. They were just about right.

We weren't sure. We cut out the new front in silk. We pinned it up.

It was definitely a bit of a slog.

Then, finally... it all came together. We tested out the top in the silk, fitting it perfectly - and then sewed the sides up to see how it would look. When that was done, we held the silk for the skirt around the bottom and, for the first time, we could see how it will actually look when it's finished.

Next week is deadline... we've figured out, however, that we have 10m of hem to sew. Yeah, really. That'll be something!

Also this week I've sorted out a couple of other things - in that, after a trail round Glasgow's vintage emporiums, I finally got my gloves. Trying quite a few stores, it was surprisingly difficult to get white or ivory gloves which weren't stained or ripped in some way. I was beginning to despair when I stopped by Retro in Kelvinbridge.

Downstairs was an accessory-lovers' dream; a huge, glass-fronted cabinet, with drawers stuffed full of gloves, scarves, ties, etc. Gloves were, obviously, the point so I tried not to get distracted by the other bits. There were three drawers with a selection of white, ivory and cream gloves in a huge range of styles and sizes. Heaven. I ended up buying a creamy ivory pair (which was not, as I feared, too creamy against the fabric) and a back-up red pair. Much love to Retro.

Anyway, I realised the only item which I might possibly need, but don't have (and am not yet sure I want) is a garter. I remember seeing my mum's garter when I was wee but I'm assuming that, like the dress itself, that's long gone. So I had a quick look tonight.

And indeed, while I'm not looking for anything big, and certainly don't want to spend too much cash on something so random, this lot are A-Mazing. Who knew such work could go into a small bit of elastic for round your leg?

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

This is just awesome. I'm not the biggest batman fan in the world, and while C does like, he's more of a superman/Clark Kent type. But still, respect must be paid. Check it out here.

Lacey McLaceington

This one is really pretty, I thought. My concern might be, how does it stay up properly with a tie at the back? I could be the bride who breaks something by tripping over her own garter. No
ta. But for prettiness, yes. Here it is.

"He had it coming."

This one actually made me laugh out loud, which was unfortunate as C was sitting right there. He asked what I was laughing at and then when I said I couldn't tell him, he went in a wee huff. Oops. Anyway.

The King

Hail to the king, baby.
There's something very appealing about getting some Elvis involved. The only thing is, it's a bit insulting to the groom to have another man's visage on your thigh.


I did a little search for cameo
garters because the engagement ring is a cameo. All in, they're a little too "bar girl" and for some reason cameo also seems to include feathers. Aside from the feather, I do like this one.


It's unlikely I'd be believed, but I honestly just came across this without searching. But.

Ruby. Slippers.


You'll notice there are two, this comes from what I think is an American thing where you have a "tossing" garter to throw to the bachelors in the group, and an "heirloom" garter to keep. I really just need the one, I don't think I'll be throwing it around. But with cost and P&P bringing this baby up to £40, I'm thinking I can find another quite happily.

There is, of course, the other option. To add it to the DIY pile. To be honest, I had a look for some guides; I'd seen this one on Rock'n'Roll Bride a while ago, and found this one which I think is a bit more my style. It's not complicated. But at this stage, it's like... really? Another thing to make? Probably not...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The time is now.

This weekend just gone was a busy weekend. First off, we finished off the last bridesmaid dress. Well, kinda. There is a little bit of handsewing left over, after we've double-checked that it definitely fits just right. Because unpicking that shiz just ain't worth it.

Another good point was that my mum finished her dress all by herself and it looks fabulous. It's a beautiful, vibrant blue and she's even taken the time to add a beading pattern on the front, which looks mega-professional. Colour me impressed - also pretty excited as it looks even better than the bridesmaid ones. Which means that we can only be improving as we go along.

So having gone through every possible delay, we found ourselves at the precipice - with nothing left to do but The Dress.

Mum was in rather a panic as she didn't quite remember how much we'd already done. In fact, we had already cut out and fitted the lining, checked the length, and all that jazz. So it's mainly a case of just getting on with it.

Taking a deep breath, I smoothed out the silk on the table and started to cut... krruuuupt.
There's something very calming about that stage of the process, where you just relax and concentrate on cutting along the lines. It's quite soothing and helps you think about how all the sections will come together.

Every piece is now cut out and all that remains is to piece it all together nicely. We've given ourselves a two-week deadline. We shall see.