Monday, November 26, 2012

Satin Flower Dress Photos

As promised here are the photos of the satin flower dress which I showed you all how to create in my last few posts.

This dress is now available to buy in my Etsy shop here

Let me know what you think! All comments and questions welcome :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boning the Bodice and Beyond

I didn't get time to take many photos of this stage but here a a few pictures and descriptions of how I proceeded with the bodice...

I decided to add three strips of boning to each side to give extra support for the bust. I used plastic encased boning. I removed all the plastic and sewed each strip of boning to the bodice by sewing a straight stitch either side of the channel for the plastic.

TIP: To smooth the tips of the plastic melt both ends with a lighter or match to remove any rough bits.

Then I just put the plastic back through the channels of the casing and sewed both ends down to stop any boning sliding out. Here is the finished bodice with boning.

I have noticed with a lot of strapless design that they leave you very flat chested because of the tight fitted structure, so to try and combat this I added a piece of elastic as sort of under wire to the bottom of the bust area. My hope was that this would pull in this area giving a more shapely look - worth a try. I pulled the elastic so it had a bit of a stretch between each piece of boning but not too much for it to ruffle the muslin. I sewed it to the boning and will attach it later to the zip along the center back seam. 

Close up of the elastic 'underwire' sewed to the boning just below the padded bra

Now all that was left to do was cut out the linings and satin bodice and sew it all together! Simple right! I forgot to take any pictures until right at the end so sorry about that. Hope you get the general idea though of how it fits together.

I used two different linings one in china silk and the other a cotton blend. The china silk was for inbetween the satin and the underconstruction so nothing showed through and the cotton lining was to make a nice finish on the inside of the bodice. Sorry about the photo I was doing this at night so the light was rubbish.

From top layer to botton: Satin - china silk - underconstruction - cotton blend lining

I like to do things in stages so I sewed each the satin to its lining and then the underconstruction to its lining.

Underconstruction to lining
Then I just sewed both layers together to make the final bodice.

The final thing to do was to sew twill tape to the seam pulling it a little tighter than the length of the actual seam. This makes sure that the top of the bodice stays hugged in as much as possible. I trimmed all the seam allowances and understitched as far as possible to make sure the lining stayed in place.

Here is the finished bodice on the dress form.

And drum roll please........

the final dress is finished with the skirt sewed on. Phew that was a lot of work! I hope you all like it!

And thats it another item for my Etsy shop ready to go. I will be taking photos of the dress this week to put on my shop so stay tuned for that. Any thoughts or comments are very welcome.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Making a Bust Not Fall Flat!

Making a strapless bodice I think is one of the most difficult sewing challenges because of the amount of techniques and different aspects you need to bring together in one garment. The construction is quite complex as I found out and can be a little bit of a headache but I hope its worth it in the end!

From my last post I perfected the shape and fit of the bodice and now I am ready to cut it out for real and start building the bodice.

I decided that I would add some padding to the strapless bodice so that the bust area doesn't end up looking to flat as it sometimes can in a strapless bodice. So this is where I started.....

1. Cut out a pattern from the orignal bodice pattern for the bra cups. I approximated the length I wanted the cups to be by measuring on myself from the top of the cup to under my bust. Remember do the measurement with the bra you are intending to wear with the bodice or with no bra at all as in my case. Do not add any seam allowances as you will not be needing any - all will become clear later.

2. I used cotton batting for the padding which I bought from JoAnns. Its a lightweight material which is easy to work with. Here is a picture so you know what your looking for.

Cut out the pattern pieces out of the cotton batting and you have the basis of the bra - remember no seam seam allowances. 

3. Now to sew it together. To make a smooth cup I am not going to use a traditional seam. The pieces are actually butted up together and sewn using a zig zag stitch. For this you will need some twill tape or stay tape. Both work fine but for this case I used stay tape. Here is a picture so you know what I mean.

So what you need to do it cut a pieces of stay tape slightly longer than the length of the seam and pin to one side of the seam. Then pin to the stay tape to other side of the seam so the semas join in the middle. 

Sew down the center of the seam making sure you catch both edges and you will have something that looks like this. 

Wrong side with the stay tape visible

Right side of the cup where you can see the zig zag stitch

4. Use this method for all the seams and you will end up with super smooth bra cups.

5. Now this part is optional depending on whether you feel more comfortable with or without padding in the bra. If your planning on wearing a strapless bra with the dress then this won't be necessary however, if you are not then it is worth doing to add some shape to the bust area. I looked at the shape of the padding in the bras I like most to decide on where to put the padding and I came up with a rough shape. I used pins to mark out the shape on the cup.

5. Pin a piece of cotton batting to the cup keeping the shape with the pins. Then carefully cut around the shape to make a flat base for the padding.

6. Simply cut out smaller and smaller shapes from the original and pin together to form the padding. Do this for both sides so you don't look lopsided!

Then sew the around the edge of the smallest piece to hold all the bits together.

6. Next step is to fray the edges of the batting so it gives a smooth finish to the cup. Do this by gently tugging out the edges with your nail. In the picture you can see where I started to do this on the larger layers and where I haven't done any smoothing. I hope this makes sense! 

Finished padding with all edges smoothed into each other

7. Sew this padding into the bra cups making sure you have both sides as symmetrical as possible. I used a zig zag stitch to to this. And voila there you have a padded bra of sorts to stick into your bodice.

8. Final step is to sew the padded bra cups into the under construction layer. I made this layer from muslin as it has some good body and is easy to sew. Again I used a zig zag stitch. Make sure all the seams line up and that you leave a 1/2 seam allowance at the top of the muslin. 

Next stop boning! Stay tuned to see how I decide to do this... Feel free to comment and ask questions.

Happy sewing! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Case of the Pointy Bust!

I've been working away on the strapless bodice and have finally got the under-construction pretty much complete. I need my husband to come home from work (later as per) to help me fit then all should be done. So here is a quick demo/tutorial on how I went about making the bodice.

Following on from my last post here is the put together bodice made from muslin.

Surprisingly the fit actually was pretty good apart from the massive pointy bust area of course! Pretty good going for my first attempt. How to fix the problem...

1. I pinned the excess fabric along the princess seam so it gave a much better fit.

 2. Remove the bodice from the dress form and then mark with chalk along the line of the pins so when you take them out you can see how much material you want to lose.

3. Unpick the seam and cut away the excess fabric remembering to leave a seam allowance mine was 3/8".

Unpicked sides with chalk marks.
Cut away excess leaving 3/8" seam allowance

4. If your not planning on using your pattern again them you can skip this step. If you are then it is important to make the same the same adjustment you made on the muslin to the pattern so you won't have the same pointy bust problem the next time!

I cut away the same size piece as I did on the muslin
5. The fun part! Sew the bodice back together to see if it worked out! The adjustments I made worked out great. I was too lazy to iron the seams which would have made them smoother. Slap wrists for me!

One finished and fitted bodice! Starts to get a little more tricky from here and in the next few posts I will be going into details about how I make the structured bodice including boning, making padded cups and other such fun things!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful and as always all comments and questions are very welcome.

Happy sewing!

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