W Dress Muslin #2: The Making

Warning: long wordy post.

I felt that my first wedding dress muslin was such a success that I took a month-long break from the wedding dress project. Last Saturday, I started working on Wedding Dress Muslin #2.

Last week, I saw a nice silk cotton sateen in Tessuti. It looked and behaved like 100% silk satin but only cost a third of 100% silk. I wanted to work on my dress last weekend to figure out how much fabric I needed (plus extra if I make mistakes) so I could buy the sateen before it ran out.

I've run out of muslin fabric, so I decided to use the gingham I bought for making a basic fitting shell (I never got past the pattern fitting stage). Instead of ripping apart muslin #2 and using the muslin pieces as pattern to cut muslin #2, I used my paper pattern pieces with 5/8 inch seam allowance. I lost my front strap piece so I had to re-draft it. Then, after cutting all the pieces including the full skirt version, I realised I have to redraft both front and back straps as I wanted them wider at the shoulders.

I made a few other pattern adjustments before cutting the gingham:
- moved the shoulder seam forward by half an inch
- raised the waistline by a quarter of an inch (hopefully to fix the horizontal wrinkles)
- moved the back straps a bit closer to the centre to cover the bra straps I plan to wear
- taking 3 inches off from the hem

But I took a lot of shortcuts:
- not using muslin fabric (gingham seems to have some stretch)
- using paper pattern, instead of muslin #1 as pattern
- using 5/8 inch seam allowance instead of couture 1.5 inch seam allowance
- traced the seam lines, but did not stitch-mark them

When I finally sat down to sew, I had to redo the princess seams on the bodice twice, as it was hard to align the traced seam lines and bust seemed a little to point for me. I didn’t know if I just needed to press it or it was my fabric choice, because I managed to make muslin #1 less pointy.

Then, I got bogged down with questions (from myself) about how I would construct the actual dress, when I would need to apply the lace, how do I keep the organza from fraying under the lace, etc. The gingham also felt quite flimsy and I didn’t think it would work as fitting tool unless I underline it. Then I had to ask myself how I would attach the lining.

I got so worked up with these questions that I only managed to sew the front of the bodice, before I lost my momentum and stuffed them all the wedding stuff in a drawer.

I spent most of Sunday wasting my time checking out sewing stuff online. But I did email EM Greenfield fabrics for a quote on their duchess silk satin, silk organza and silk habutae. I also added fuchsia silk jersey and purple silk cotton. (It's ridiculous but I still imagine sewing dresses for my bridesmaids and flower girl.)

I got the quote yesterday and it's much cheaper than retail. I would like to see and feel the fabrics in person so I only need to find the time to visit their shop which is only open on weekday business hours.

Today at lunch time, we visited a bridal fabric shop in the CBD which is owned by FH's boxercise buddy's sister. I loved the lace that she showed me. But even discounted it was very pricey (pricier than a Brother NV900 sewing/embroidery machine.)

I visited patternreview's sewing forum on Bridal/Formal Wear, and I freaked out. What if I had to cut a new piece of the expensive lace? Do I need a foundation? What is a foundation? Is a corset a foundation? Should I be making a corset first, even though my pattern doesn't demand it? I'd really rather not wear a corset. Or maybe I could just wear that waist corset thingie.

[taking a break from my panic attack]

Ok, freak out over, back to excitement.

I have a new action plan. Instead of sewing a whole new muslin #2, I will:
- re-read Bridal Couture book
- remove the straps and the skirt from muslin #1
- sew re-drafted straps into muslin #1
- sew longer skirt into muslin #1
- sew in a zipper
- add some boning
- press every step of the way
- press dress into submission

The goal of muslin #2 is to finalise the straps and the skirt design.

Note to self: Shop for foundation garment and wear it during fittings.


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