Friday, 12 July 2013

The Wedding Dress Question

Specifically, what to do with my wedding dress now?

I know it's only been a few months since we got hitched, but my wedding dress is starting to get on my nerves. It's hanging in our already over-stuffed wardrobe, taking up room, and I'm not really sure why. I know some people have their dress carefully stored away, but I can't really see the point in that, to be honest. I don't have any daughters who might want it, and I wouldn't like anyone to feel pressured into wearing my dress rather than choosing their own anyway. So what to do?

My first thought was to have it dyed so I could wear it again. It is knee length after all. But where am I realistically going to wear a satin dress, of any colour? We don't exactly have invites to cocktail parties coming in thick and fast (or at all) and I'm not sure I'll fit into it in the future. So that's out.

I could donate it, but I got a pretty big stain on the top half when I spilled a drink down myself, and I haven't had it cleaned, so I don't think it's the best idea. Besides, I kinda want to keep it, in some way. I've heard of some people turning their dress into a quilt, and I think I like that idea, although I haven't tried quilting and I'm not sure what I would do with it. It might make a nice gift for the first grandchild. I signed up for a how to class on making an heirloom quilt on The Amazings website, so I could, in theory, do it. It was made with vintage fabrics in the first place, and I love the golden yellow brocade, so it would be nice to give them another lease of life. I could frame it in some way, or part of it, at least, but I'm not sure it's interesting enough for that!

If anyone out there has been married, what did you do with your dress? Anyone have any super creative ideas? Ideally, I'd like it to be some kind of keepsake, to remind us of the big day, but I'm also pretty keen on everything having a purpose and decorative pillows etc aren't really up my street. I'm fine with cutting into it (or I will be fine, eventually!) so all ideas are welcome!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Origami Crane Violet

I've gotten back to garment sewing in the last two weeks. It seems I do better at churning out tons of clothes if I have a deadline, however tenuous. This month, said deadline is jury duty next week, and our summer holiday at the end of the month. The weatherman has been promising sunshine, so I've been hard at work on skirts, dresses, and the odd blouse or two.

First up is my very first Colette Violet. The day after my wedding, I went fabric shopping. That's right, not even being freshly married can keep me from browsing for more stash! And I thought it was fate when I stumbled across this beautiful chiffon with an origami crane print, considering how many I had folded for the wedding decor. I dunno, maybe it's just me. Maybe you have to want to see the cranes. But to me, it looks like cranes, so I bought two metres at some ridiculously reasonable price, like £3 or £4 per metre. I remember it was under a fiver anyway.

Anywho, I had planned to make another Mathilde blouse, with sheer sleeves, but despite having the fabric, and the pattern, I just couldn't get started. I think the thought of putting tucks into the slippery fabric was just too daunting, and without the tucks, the Mathilde just isn't as special, in my opinion. After a few weeks, I decided I wanted to make something with short sleeves, and buttons down the front, and so the Violet blouse was the obvious choice.

Another dark picture! I blame the gloomy summer we're having :)

I was determined for this blouse to be as close to perfect as I could manage, as the fabric was pretty special to me. But boy, did it put up a fight! I lined the bodice with white cotton lawn, which I think brightened up the grey of the fabric quite a bit. I decided to baste the layers together, and treat them as if they were one, which was easier said than done, especially when it came to sewing the darts. I also decided to French all my seams, for maximum longevity, but forgot to do the very first one! In my defence, it was the back yoke seam, and I forgot because I put in a pretty lace strip there :)

I did however manage to keep my wits about me and French all the other seams, including the arm holes! The lace I used was the same lace I wore in my hair at the wedding. I had wanted something simple, and was being relatively frugal, so I had simply sewn two strips of lace to white ribbon at the ends to tie like a headband, and I was super pleased with it! I had some lace left over, which I used for the back, and cut the actual lace from the headband to trim the sleeves, which I had left sheer.

Speaking of sleeves, my bad sleeve karma is well and truly in full swing. The first sleeve went in fine but on the second, I got a little bit confused, and ended up putting it in at a weird angle. Don't ask me how. But only after I had finished the lovely neat french seams did I notice the problem. I was totally gutted about it, as I hate unpicking, and this seemed like a particularly tricky task. But after sleeping on it, I got it sorted in no time the next morning. It may not be perfect, but it's a huge improvement and I'm happy with it.

I also bought the buttons at the same time as the fabric. They seem to be some kind of metal, I think, as they're cold to the touch, and I think they work beautifully with the blouse. The lady I bought them from only had 7 left, and this scuppered my plan to make the blouse longer, as I wouldn't have had enough buttons. This was also one of the reasons I didn't turn this fabric into the Mathilde, as I definitely need to add length to my next one, and need more than 7 buttons for that too.

I think it ended up being long enough, and I plan to tuck it into high waisted skirts, so it wasn't a big deal. I cut a size 14 at the chest and graded from a 14 at the waist to an 18 at the hips, which is pretty usual for me, what with the difference between my waist and hips being so large. I also feel like the darts are too low in this blouse, but the loose fit means I can get away with it.

Overall, I'm really happy with it. Sure, it could be neater on the inside, but I love it all the same, and I'm hoping that I'll get plenty of wear out it. I had always intended for it to be a kind of wedding keepsake, and it'll definitely be a reminder every time I wear it.

So, to the math!

Pattern: £12.50
Fabric: I really can't remember, so let's say £10
Lining: £6.50
Buttons: £2.80
Thread, lace and interfacing: stash
Total: £31.80 (or £19.30 without the pattern cost.)

Considering I've already cut another Violet, I think it's safe to say this was bargain! And being able to make myself such a special blouse? Well, you can't put a price on that, can you :D