Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sara's New Project - Regency Gown - Progress

Well, it has taken a little longer than I was expecting to get to the point I am at with my dress, but I am feeling very confident that it will be completed tomorrow as there is not much left to do (except for some finishing touches that will be done before the Jane Austen Evening 2009).

I took a couple of days off last week from sewing after spending two full days on the weekend sewing the mock-up. I was a little burned out and felt like I needed a little recovery time before getting right back into it.

Things went decently smoothly for the most part, but I did end up taking out and redoing more seams than I would have liked but I'm sure it was less than if I hadn't done the mock-up initially.

I opted not to do a mock-up of the sleeves and then later wished I had. Mainly because I changed the design of the sleeves once I decided to add trim to the dress. I wasn't originally going to add any trim but thought that some would be nice. So I was going to add it to the waist and the sleeves.

It took a bit of thinking as to how to add it to the sleeves. Should I add multiple lines of trim (like my other Regency dress)? Should I make a "V" shape with the trim? Just one line? What is too much and what is too little?

Well, after much thought, I opted for the one line of the 3 trims with the bottom part of the sleeve pleated inward towards the trim and covering the bottom of it. (It looks very similar to the dress I am modeling this after). One of the finishing touches I will be adding later will be a button on either side of the trim on the sleeve like the model dress.

The bodice took a decent amount of tweaking to get it to lay correctly and to not be able to notice the front opening line. Even thought it's not perfect, I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Last Friday night, the motor on my sewing machine decided to quit so I was a little stranded. I wasn't planning on spending much time this weekend sewing as my brother-in-law was in town from Guam (he's a JAG Office in the Navy and stationed over there, was in Rhode Island for some training and on his way back home but was able to schedule a 2-day lay-over to come home for a bit - we surprised my in-laws with his return and it was very fun) and we wanted to spend time with him.

I was debating buying a new machine or going to get it fixed. Well, I told my mother-in-law what happened and she was kind enough to let me borrow her machine. It's a White and from the 80s. It's all metal too, unlike my machine which is practically all plastic. My machine was given to me and I was very happy to receive it as I wasn't doing much sewing at the time so I didn't want to invest a lot of money into one when I needed one.

I started using the new machine and boy what a difference that machine is from mine. It's wonderful. It's very quiet, unlike mine, and the fabric feeds into it so smoothly and effortlessly. I don't think I've ever used such a good machine before. It also didn't make my fabric pucker on the long side seams of the skirt which my machine had a tendency to do (I ended up ripping out the seams and re-sewing the majority of them so they would lie smoother).

Honestly, I never knew that it was the machine that had to do with this puckering. I always thought that type of fabric just had a tendency to do it, which always made me weary to sew with it because I thought that made the outfit look cheaply made. But once I saw how this machine handled the fabric I realized what the real issue was.

So with the new machine, I was ready to get back to work on Sunday night. I have spent every last spare minute I have working on this dress and trying to finish it as soon as possible so that I'm not stressing the day before or the day of the event (which is this Saturday), especially as there are many other last minute party details to be thinking of.

Today I finished hand sewing all the closures on the bodice and the skirt. It was a bit tedious and I'm very thankful it is over. I used two hooks and bars and many snaps. I had intended to use more hooks and eyes, but after sewing on one and seeing that the fabric didn't lay like I wanted to, I resorted to all snaps and I am very happy with them now.

Now, all I have left to finish is the hem and tacking on the trim to the waist.

Like I said, the dress is not perfect, but I have learned through the process of making it and I am not as intimidated to look at a dress and try to figure out how to mimic it. Overall, I am very pleased with the dress and look forward to debuting it at my sister's birthday party this Saturday.

Here are some pictures of the mock-up and almost finished product:


Dixie Redmond said...

I just gave a machine almost exactly like that to a friend of mine. :-) It is a good one! I love old sewing machines.

Sara said...

I'm beginning to really love old machines too! I just hope I can keep borrowing it long-term from my mother-in-law so I don't have to break down and spend money on an inferior one (luckily, she doesn't sew very often anymore, so I don't think it will be an issue for now). BTW - Welcome to our Blog!