Not that much to say this week except that I’m more than halfway through my dress. It’s self-drafted, which makes muslining all the more important. I decided to keep my gown simple, elegant, and in a style that doesn’t scream “wedding dress.” This helped me keep the fabric costs to $70 (for silk charmeuse and chiffon), and I’ll be able to wear it again, especially if I dye it. (Though it’s in a style that works well for a white evening gown, in my opinion.)
If your heart isn’t set on a big, poofy skirt and corset, I suggest you do the same — it’s much cheaper and easier. Though easier didn’t figure into my calculations, I’m glad I went that route; I could definitely make a dramatic WOW-factor gown with a lace-encrusted bodice and miles of skirt, but not very well, considering we started planning pretty recently AND I’ve never made a self-supporting bodice or worked with boning (actually, silk, either) before. I’d rather have something beautiful and made/fit to the best of my abilities. Ultimately, I’d like to make $70 worth of fabric look like a $500 dress, not $500 worth of fabric look like a $250 dress. We’ll see how that goes.
One disclaimer: I committed a major no-no by buying just enough fabric to make my dress, sight unseen, over THE INTERNET. I honestly should have bought $100 of fabric, just in case, or at least ordered swatches so I was sure of the color and texture! I have never worked with chiffon or charmeuse before, so I didn’t even know how it would handle, though I could guess from experience with other fabric. I lucked out majorly. It was exactly the ivory-white I wanted, and handles just like I thought it would, only better. (Of course, I forgot about my platinum hair when ordering… my dress and hair are going to pretty much match. Haven’t decided how I feel about this. Is it some kind of ultra faux pax, matching your hair to your gown?)
Point is, spend the money to get enough fabric. Especially if you haven’t made a zillion dresses for yourself. I know I can make a maxi dress out of one yard of fabric. And I still waited for over a week to cut in to my fabric, because I was so afraid.
For the muslin, I just cut out shapes that were similar to what I knew I wanted, pinned them on my dress form to fit the way I wanted, basted the pieces together along those lines, made extra sure it fit with seams and added overlays of a sheer poly curtain to approximate chiffon (not well, mind you, but it’s what I had). Then, I took a pencil and colored over all the seams before trimming the excess fabric away from the seam lines, taking the whole thing apart, and using it as a pattern.
This worked really well for me because it’s a simple dress without need for a zipper or anything. Which is good, because that was one of the few things I really, really wanted. Smooth fit that flows like water, without a zipper, even an invisible zip if possible, ruining the lines. Of course, this meant I had to remove the dress from the form early (and with much grunting), since the dress that fits me like a glove is too small for the stiff shoulders of the dress form. I still wanted to sew the seams while they were hanging, however, (I don’t trust myself to machine-sew this baby!), so I hung the dress from a hanger with clothes pins at the bodice, making sure it’s well supported, and am sewing that way. I don’t have a serger, so I’m French-seaming everything, which is taking forever.
Muslin pic. Attractive, no? And well worth it, obviously, to check the fit and practice a little of the draping.