Sunday, November 17, 2013

Olivia's Gown, day 3 and 4

Day 3

This is a continuation of Olivia's 3.5 day dressmaking experience.  
Check here for the first half.

Here is an example of the small adjustments I make to perfect the fit.  You can see the original seam line and the pins are indicating the new one.  Looks like it is an adjustment of about an eighth of an inch.  Silly.  

After all of the adjustments are made, it is time to finalize the bodice. That means sew the seams with a small stitch instead of the basting stitch used initially.  I have used many layers and need to trim some of the seams quite closely.  This helps the seams lay better in the end.  I learned this from Susan Khalje.  Another life changing resource for the dressmaker.  I have taken two classes from her I will forever be grateful for the things I learned.    

 I hand stitched the channels for the spiral boning on the inside.  Also something Susan taught me.  You can see the effect in above photo.  

There would have been another fitting that I don't have pictures of.  Darn it.  

We would have placed the sleeves in the appropriate place at that time.  We also marked the hem, which I am always excited about.  It just cleans the look up so nicely.  I like to use horse hair for this.  It gives the hem a nice bit of personality in my opinion.  

 This is the last fitting of the day.  Olivia and her mom are here in the evening.  If all is well, this fitting is used to address the small details, check the fit, the hem, and finalize the jewels. 

The dress is due tomorrow.  I have a huge amount to do before they leave.  I expect to stay up extremely late on the last night of an out of town bride's dress.  The finish work always takes ten times as long as I think it should. 

I always hit a wall about midnight.  That is when the BBC news comes on.  It is depressing for a bit and then I get my second wind, thankfully.  

Day 3 for Olivia and her mom included a morning fitting, lunch in Park City, and a lift ride at Sundance Resort.  It is an enviable day in my opinion.  They then had the evening fitting pictured above then dinner at The Tortilla Bar in Orem.  That place is the ultimate when it comes to interesting and refreshing combinations of flavors.  I love the hanger steak tacos and the avocado tacos.  The melon salad is insane, in a good way.  

This photo features the lift ride at Sundance.  So relaxing.  


Day 4

This is the final moment.  Whew.  We place the jewels on the finished dress.  Olivia and her mom found a necklace with blue stones.  I took it apart and nestled one of the jewels on the neckline for that "something blue".  

They will go on an errand for an hour or so while I sew on the jeweled neckline and add the button detail.  I am pretty relaxed at this point.  Looks like the dress came together and we can send the dress off with the bride on her afternoon flight.  

Thanks for the great experience Olivia!  It was fun to work on your dress and get to know you and your mom.  I shouldn't say this, but I think Olivia's mom teared up a bit when they left.  

Now isn't that just the perfect ending?  

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Olivia Gown, Day 1 and 2

Day 1

 I always love to work with my out of town brides.  Olivia is no exception!  I thought you might enjoy seeing a day by day report of Olivia and her mother's time out here.  She lives in Chicago and her mom lives in Lewisville.  Since they don't live around each other, the trip turned out to be a "mother-daughter" bonding time.  It is great that I get to be part of something like that. The above picture is what it looks like to arrive for your first measure.  It must be so daunting to fly out without knowing what is in store.  Hopefully this post gives you an idea of the process.

The first meeting involves sketching up the dress and making sure fabric choices are perfect.  I send out fabric samples ahead of time, but seeing a smaller piece is so different than seeing yards and yards.  

I measured Olivia using the most amazing technique I learned from Mr. Kenneth King.  Kenneth learned how to do "The Moulage" from quite the teacher back in the day.  He has written up instructions in a very easy to follow book.  It has changed my life!  If you are a dressmaker, you need this book!

Off subject, I know.  

Day 2

Back to Olivia.  We met later in the day, so I didn't see Olivia for our second meeting until the next morning.  This is what the first fit looks like.  It is made of a muslin and if I am lucky, it is close to the intended dress shape.  Olivia is living well, so there were only minor adjustments.  

I have to take steps to get the neckline to lay correctly.  Especially when you consider the weight that will be attached here later.  The pleats, darts, and tucks are adjusted now so the dress will behave later.  I also draw the shape of the neckline at this point.   

Olivia and her mom are off the hook for half the day after this fitting.  This is when I take the muslin apart and make all of the adjustments.   

Then I lay the real fabrics out.  The linings, silk, and any other supportive fabrics that are needed.  They are cut out.  I then sew the boning casings on to the inner layer.  Once completed, I hand sew the layers together before sewing the dress together.  Probably not making sense at this point.  It isn't you, it is me.  I shouldn't be trying to explain myself this late at night.  

Because this is an "out of town bride" I need to be working on all aspects of the dress at once.  So if I have a break, I work on the jewels for the neckline.  It is important that I have things coming along in case I am wandering in the wrong direction creatively.  

Quite a few hours later, Olivia and her mom are back for a fitting with the real fabric.  This is when you can see the essence of the dress.  We also look at the neckline jewels and make sure I am on track.  

I am the one trying to bring in the sides of the dress while successfully avoiding being in the picture.  It just looks weird, I know.  

Between the two fittings,  Olivia and her mom went up to S.L.C. to do a bit of shopping and see the sights.  This is Olivia in the Tabernacle at Temple Square. 

Olivia did her homework before arriving.  She had a list of the best places to eat around here.  I do enjoy steering my brides towards places to eat.  Olivia's list of restaurants matched mine.  So I think they did Pizzeria 712 for dinner that night.  Dang, now I am craving their housemade sausage, caramelized onion, roasted fennel, tomato sauce, mozzarella pizza right now.  

I am getting pretty tuckered.  I don't know if it is because I am thinking of the intense 3.5 day wedding dress or because it is just getting late.  We will continue the story another day.  There are only 1.5 days left to complete the dress.  Will it get done?  Will there be a canine at the wedding party with a bow tie?  These questions will be answered at a later time.