There is hardly a morning in Nicosia without the sun. Weekend breakfasts take place on the terrace among blossoming bougainvilleas, jasmine, gardenias, or even roses, and it is difficult to comprehend that the winter is almost here. In summer, the island looks mostly like a desert. Now, in November, when the first rains start watering the thirsty soil, nature wakes up and spreads it's green cover across the valleys and hills, followed by rivers - virtually dried up in summer, but gaining strength now, conquerring their riverbeds again. Even birds suddenly reappear after a long summer break
Only when the dusk starts falling, and the temperatures rapidly drop, we pull on warmer clothes, cocooning in wool, making fire and heating houses that soak up all the warmth they can get. This is when you wish you made some progress with your coat dress during the day...
...Oh well, back to business. On my facebook page, I promised you some dress planning notes and so, here they are.
First of all, when I start working on a complex project that is based on a commercial pattern, I like to read instructions and note the steps, the techniques that may be different than in the pattern instructions, or where I am not yet sure how to proceed. If the project is not based on a commercial pattern I would write up a brief order of sewing, which helps organize the project better. Maybe I am a control freak but I like to know where I am with the project.
As I go, I write what (couture) techniques I am going to use for every step, or what extra steps are needed to improve the quality of the garment. Let's take Burda instructions for this dress, for example.
"Clip allowances of fronts and back into corners. Then stitch each sleeve to armhole edge, from corner to corner... "
These inward corners absolutely need to be stabilized, and this is not part of the instructions! I guess Burdastyle designers assume we know it. So, it is really up to you to figure out what techniques you will use - making the planning process even more important.
But let's rewind a little and cover the fabrics and the steps that precede sleeves.
FABRIC, LINING, UNDERLINING
I got my fabrics, here, the raspberry colored wool, in a slightly darker and warmer hue, to give you an idea. (The blue wool is for a skirt)
It is an easy decision with this style and the wool. I will pick organza underlining and silk crepe-de-chine or charmeuse/satin for lining. That's enough layers to be able to wear the dress over a light turtleneck sweater for a more casual occasion. In addition, silk organza will protect the wool from wrinkling - perfect for travel and packing.
All fabrics will need to be pre-treated before I baste the underlining to the main fabric - I will try to put together a post with some tips.
I will also line sleeves ( I don't know why Burda doesn't), so I will have to adjust the sleeve pattern for lining and include it in my lining fabric calculation.
Darts on wool can be bulky and, unless you balance them on both sides of the stitching line, one side will just look bulgy and unsightly. In addition, I would like to topstitch them, as in the original dress, and this makes it even more important that the fabric is distributed evenly on both sides.
|Topstitching on the Gucci dress. Source: Gucci.com|
I won't be talking much about stabilizing seam allowances by catch stitching them to underlining and similar steps. You will see as I go.
"Press sleeve hem allowances to inside and sew in place by hand"The hem allowance will be catch-stitched to the organza underlining - noone will detect a single stitch from the right side of the fabric. Perfect example of why it is good to underline.
But what's more important here is the use of a faced hem. A strip of fabric (organza or something heavier) is placed on the hem crease line, making the crease softer and rounder.
Burdastyle recommends using hook-and-eye tape and snaps. The Gucci dress has a hidden button closure - easier to close and more reliable. I think this one is up to you. I am not sure yet what option to choose, but I like the idea of a hook-and-eye tape with a contrasting placket to prevent hook-and-eyes from digging into skin.
That's it for today. My notes are longer, and I will have to continue tomorrow or on Monday. Things are busy around here these two months and I will have to balance quite a few projects (most sewing) at the same time, but there are some good news on the way which I will share with you, of course!
By the way, if you want to see other sewers progress with their Christmas dresses, here is the link to the German Me Made Mittwoch blog. It is a great blog, for every Wednesday, all German- and non-German speaking bloggers upload images of their Me-Made projects. I love this format more than the original me-made-(month), because it is only once a week and more or less stress-free. And now, the lovely seamstresses behind the blog are hosting this dress sew-along, which I was too keen to participate in.
Back to the dress - please do comment, ask questions, make suggestions - I love it all!