As the date is drawing closer (7 weeks to go!) I’m beginning to feel a tiny bit more pressure. I’m trying not to get worried yet, I’m having so much fun already with this project and I don’t want to spoil it. It feels amazing to have a real sewing challenge again, I guess it’s been a while. Since many people have apparently bought this pattern, I’m going to keep a journal of my alterations and findings as I’m working on it. This is where I’m at so far.
I have bought fabric for both the muslin and the final dress. For the muslin I bought this charmeuse. The pattern lists charmeuse as a recommended fabric choice. This is of course poly charmeuse, I didn’t want to spend too much on something I’ll never wear. And since I’m never going to wear it, I thought it’d be fun to go white. I have a feeling this fabric is going to give me more trouble with cutting and sewing than the real version, it’s so slippery.
For the final version, I’ve bought this fabric, listed as ‘bright flowing peace silk’. It’s Ahimsa silk, or peace silk, which means that the silk worms are not killed in the process of the silk production. They are allowed to hatch, after which the cocoons are used. I was so happy to find this fabric, it was exactly what I wanted. It has the right drape, it’s silk but no worms were killed for it, it has a lovely matte shine and a beautiful texture to it. It’s also very light and slightly transparent, but I hope dyeing it darker will help with that. The bodice is double layered anyway. And, a big plus, it was on sale when I bought it: £19 instead of £36. I would never have been able to justify such a purchase otherwise. Before I chose it I ordered several samples of what I thought good candidates, all from Offset Warehouse because the peace silk factor was important to me and they are specialised in eco fabrics. I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I don’t like the idea of animals being killed for such luxury products.
I’ve traced all 15 pattern pieces onto heavier pattern paper. I don’t want to cut into the original and I don’t like tissue paper. I’ve cut them out and made a few adjustments right away. I’m fortunate to know what my standard issues are by now, so I felt safe to make them right away. That way I’ll have less to do after the first muslin, and I don’t have time to make two muslins. There are four bodice pieces: a front and back under bodice, and a front and back over bodice. I compared them to my own sloper to know how much length I should add. It amounted to 1.5 cm (5/8″) for the front, and 0.5 cm (1/4″) for the back. If I would add this I’d have mismatching side seams, so I evened it out and lengthened both 1 cm (3/8″). I am curious to see if this works out. If not, I’ll make the hem curved so it would be 1 cm at the sides, 0.5 at the back and 1.5 at the front.
The other major adjustment I made was doing a Small Bust Adjustment. I want to be as comfortable as possible on my wedding day, so that means no bra with padding and underwires. The under bodice has a bust dart and waist dart. I did an SBA for 1 cm (3/5) (2 cm or 3/4″ total). I didn’t add the lost cm back in at the side seams, but instead made the waist dart 1 cm smaller. This worked very well for my Anna dress too. The over bodice has no darts, but a pleat at the shoulder. I assumed that’s where they’d rotated the dart to. I started with a 0.5 cm (1/4″) or 1 cm (3/5″) total SBA for a dartless bodice. I figured it wouldn’t need as much since it is has loose shape. The SBA eliminates a wedge at the side seam, so after that I cut it open and rotated the dart to the shoulder, adding the lost wedge back in at the side seam and eliminating width in the shoulder pleat. I realise now i would have been more logical to rotate the shoulder dart to the side seam first and then do the SBA. I’m not sure if it would have made a difference, maybe I’ll try that out too.
Other than these two I made no adjustments to the bodice. I first want to see what that evened out length addition does. I’ll maybe need a forward shoulder and sway back adjustment too, but that’s easier to determine in the muslin. For the skirt I lengthened the hems by 2.5 cm (1″), as indicated on the pattern.
First I’ll cut and sew the muslin! I can’t wait to start, it will be an interesting sew. I hope can make sense of the instructions, but from what I’ve seen it should be OK. Then I’ll also have to start my dye experiments. The final fabric is a creme color, and I plan on dyeing it. Probably the most scary part of it all, but I’m confident it’ll work out. I’ve ordered some extra fabric to play with. The dyes are on their way from Dharma Trading Company. I’ve based my palette both on the colours I already had (Coral Pink and Safari Grey) and the fact that I see a dark blue dress in my head, and that I love mint colours too and they all go very well together. I don’t know if I’ll use all of them, the experiments will have to decide that. I don’t want it to get so busy that you don’t see those beautiful lines anymore. If I don’t get the results I want, I can always leave it as is.