Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Scaasi Dress, Construction part 1

Carolyn asked in an entry she wrote this week about how many steps you take to make a garment.
I won't go through all the steps here, but rather sort of document my process,
in part so that I can remember WHY these dresses take a week to make. ;)

1. I had this pattern in a size 18 - 22, so the first thing I needed to do was grade the pattern down. That size range may work for me on the bottom, but I need a pattern size 14 - 16 through the neck, shoulders and upper bodice. while doing this I moved the shoulder seam fwd by 3/8".
2. Make a full muslin. In this case, I used muslin for the bodice which will be constructed of lace too - the muslin is stiffer and more tightly woven, but I needed to see how the pattern was drafted. I was THRILLED with the fit, first time out on this muslin. Not a change to be made, except one fix at the underarm where my grading fell a bit short of perfection and the seams didn't match. I still consider this an essential step in both figuring out fit and style appropriateness.
3. Lay out lace, place pattern single layer, taking care for placement of embellishments. I chose to use the scallop edge for the back. A lace like this has no grainline but there is a definite directional aspect to the design. (see post from yesterday for picture of whole lace, the directional aspect is evident). My pieces are small enough that the whole of the pattern is lost, but I was still cognizant of it while laying out the pattern. Fortunately this pattern made good use of the piece I had, so there is very little lace leftover.
4. Cut out illusion (fine soft nylon netting typically sold for bridal veils). I'm using illusion to underlay the lace. Pictured here on black, so that it'll show. I'm having the hardest time working with this only because I can barely see it up against the lace.

5. Clean up seam allowances by taking the embellishments off the lace. Below is one of the back pieces after cleaning up.

The sequins were first stitched together along a cable - each one individual on another ply of the yarn, then the whole was attached as a line. It made it easy to remove whole elements however made it challenging to remove individual sequins along lines that terminated in a seam. Even cutting into a sequin and removing it from the line was a challenge.
6. Mount the lace bodice sections to the net illusion, Then individually tack the flower sections to the illusion.

6. Steam the silk 4ply to be used for the skirt.
4 ply, as well as any crepe will shrink due to the weave structure. Steaming it is a process.
7. Cut the silk skirt, the machine washed and dried silk organza for underlining the skirt, then the charmeuse for lining. Cut bias strips for finishing the seam allowances.
If I'd had silk crepe de chine on hand I would have preferred that for underlining the 4ply. However, I didn't have any, and I was really determined to make this all from stash. So I draped the 4ply over some machine washed silk organza and I was happy with the resulting fabric, so decided to use it.
8. Mark the underlining for the darts and match points, then mount the underlining to the 4ply.

OK....this process took all of 2 days plus some more of the 3rd, and I hadn't even started sewing anything yet.

More to come.

17 comments:

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Okay, I admit it I'm impatient...can we see a picture of you in the dress first and then read about the construction?! Ummmmm, please!

Birgitte said...

Excellent documentation of the process so far. Carolyn admits being impatient so I might just admit I'm patient. Not always a good thing, but for couture it is. The sequins bit... I know what you're talking about. It looks so beautiful it will be well worth every bit of needle threading, 'ouch' moment and (possibly?) some bad words. Enjoy :-)) Looking forward to the updates. And you're right; washed silk organza has a wonderful, de-stiffened feel and drape, just used it on the jacket.

luckylibbet said...

I guess I'm patient, too. I love watching all the meticulous steps you take, such an inspiration. This is going to be one gorgeous dress and possibly the finest you've ever made.

Sigrid said...

Thank you for documenting this so meticulously, it's wonderful to see it coming to life in steps. But I do agree with Carolyn, I'm anxious to see the final result.

Carrie K said...

Preparation is part of sewing! A big part it looks like. For your beautiful finished results.

Lindsay T said...

Wow. I really enjoy reading posts about the process, even if I don't see myself working at this level anytime soon. Thanks!

Catherine said...

Thank you for this post. For a novice like myself it is great to read about these couture methods. Good luck with the rest of this.

Cennetta said...

I love your thorough documentation of your process. It is so helpful and inspire creativity. I know it going to be over the top beautiful.

BeeBee said...

Whew! Lotta work! Really pretty, but I'm reminded of why I shop. I just have no patience for this kind of detail. But it's REALLY gorgeous.

LauraLo said...

It definitely took lots of time but I think it's more than worth it. That lace is so gorgeous I can hardly describe how much I like it. This is going to be one stunning dress and as impatient as I am, I will sit here and watch you create another masterpiece!

paco peralta said...

who delight of clothing. elegant, elegant. Best wishes, Paco

Nancy K said...

Glad that you are documenting your process. Can't wait to see the finished dress.

Marjorie said...

Thanks for all the details. I have a box of lace that I inherited from my mother and grandmother, and I've been too timid to even think about cutting it. It is still not really high on my list of stash fabrics to work with, but now I can dream.

Suzanne said...

I enjoy your detailed descriptions...especially that you make a muslin example first. My mom was a sweater designer and always made a muslin prototype first.

tommy said...

Oh my, with all the delicate detail, I can only imagine this would take longer than the week you are giving yourself. The lace is so dainty and delicate, I cannot wait to see the finished project.

Summerset said...

A lot of work, but so worth it. I mounted the lace for my wedding gown on illusion, too. It gave support yet was practically invisible. The only down side was transferring all the markings by thread tracing/tailor's tacks. I remember using a different colored thread for each symbol and having a list of what color went with each symbol.

Vashawn said...

Question!!! I am making my niece a prom dress inspired by the sheer Marchesa dresses. Well i have a polyester sheer mesh net, but it's very drapy and it stretches. Could i use Illusion net underneath so it works like a woven? Also, does this stuff itch?Lol HELP!!!