Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Second First Communion Dress - DONE!

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It's done, and I'm very pleased.

Julia asked about the pattern I used for the first dress. I'll go into more details of both dresses (patterns, materials, etc.) after the dust settles from this weekend. In a nutshell, my daughter's dress is Princess Charming from Australian Smocking & Embroidery (AS&E) #58--minus the tulle overskirt.

A large chunk of time yesterday was spent on creating the cummerbund. I've never made fabric roses before, and the instructions provided were very detailed and easy to follow. That's what I love about AS&E!

First, I created 3 leaves:


Then 3 roses.....


And, to be honest, I was quite surprised at how well it came together:

Here's the dress from the front and the back. Once again, I cheated and opted for a machine hem with a tuck. I tried a sample with a hand-stitched hem, and I just didn't care for it. On this dupioni, I could see every stitch, even picking up only a single thread.The sash is extra wide which makes for a big bow. The dupioni holds the shape beautifully!

I do feel there is a slight problem with this dress. I left a little too much space between the last row of smocking and the waist stay. Had I realized this, I would have made the cummerbund a little bit wider. Ideally, I'd like the cummerbund to sit directly under that last row of smocking.

I'm really very pleased with the roses on the cummerbund...did I mention that? One more thing to finish up....the veil. I'm off to take care of that now!

I may not get to another post until after the weekend, but I promise pictures of my little princess from her special day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Safety Glasses for Smocking?

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Yes, safety glasses! Read on to see where they come in....

Here's the status of my daughter's First Communion dress (from a few days ago).

I blocked the bodice and traced around the bodice template (this dress has a full smocked bodice). It's a little hard to see the purple marker line in the second picture:

I then stitched on the markings--first with a straight stitch and next with a tiny zig-zag:

Here's where the safety glasses come in. Some of the pearls fall within the seam allowance. The directions say to outline the bodice before you start smocking and avoid applying beads in the seam allowance. I figured it was easier to just smocking the whole thing with beads and remove them later! I have a dedicated pair of needle nose pliers that I keep by my sewing machine. I used those to crush the glass seed beads that I wanted to remove. I actually felt pieces of bead hit the glasses a few times, so I was glad I opted for the safe route!

So the outline stitching is done and the extra beads are removed....now it's time to cut into it! This is often the hardest part for me because you cut up part of your work. Very carefully, cut just outside the stitching:

And you're left with this!


The last two photos show the waist stay attached on the inside on the bottom row of gathering stitches. A separate cummerbund with sashes will go over this on the outside.

OK--now I have to get to work! I have the day off work, and I told my daughter her dress would be done when she gets home from school. All I have left are the armhole bindings, hem, buttons and cummerbund/sash. Oh, and the veil....we have to make some type of headpiece yet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Down, One To Go

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The dress is finally done for DGD! She picked it up last night. I ended up doing a machine hem with a tuck because I knew a hand hem would be too time consuming. After all the hand work on the smocking, it seems wrong to hem by machine, but I like how it turned out...it gives some body to the bottom of the skirt. Here's the full length view:
Some close ups of the smocking and back:

And one happy little girl (she had to stand on my bed in order to get a good look in the mirror):
Now on to the next dress! It's already pleated and tied off (pic below of how I do that) and I started the smocking tonight. Tick tock....