Paula’s wedding dress part 3: first fitting

We’ve had our first fitting on the wedding dress, and it went pretty well :) Although the toile was only a rough outline of how the dress will actually be, it did show the important ideas and the fit actually wasn’t too bad!

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I didn’t make the under skirt for this one because I feel like I need a fairly accurate pattern for the outer to base it on. But seeing as we had loads of great mash laying around we stuffed it under the calico just for kicks. The effect is a bit more Queen Victoria than Ellie Saab, but it kept us amused for a bit.

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So I pinned in the toile as needed. The waist seem needed to come up a few cm, but the length on the skirt was actually ok. I took quite a bit of width off the bodice and shaped dart more closely over the bust.

The sleeve needed to be slimmer and the shoulders had to come in a lot.

The double mesh on the sleeve was a winner, so much so that Paula’s decided to have it on the bodice too. It’ll be quite a bit more stretchy than the calico so I’ll need to bear that in mind on my next pattern, I can probably afford to shave a little more off the seams and straighten up some of the more finickity shapings.

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I marked up the toile where it had been pinned and cut along to make my new pieces. I have joined the dart up into the armhole to make a princess seam, which I think will give us the best possible shaping for Paula’s boobs and will mean that we can have more control over the grain line, and therefore the stretch, in the side section.

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Where I cut the new armhole a large chuck of calico remained on the sleeve:

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I need to add this on to the sleevehead to keep the length over and around the shoulder joint, but re-arranging this extra volume to make a flat sleeve piece will require a little juggling. I have slashed into the edge to release the tension. When I trace this piece out I will reshape the sleevehead to match the armhole on the body side and slim down the width, so we can keep the length and use the stretch in the mesh. That may not make a lot of sense! But in my head  I’m sure I can see a way to re-draft this mish-mash of a piece into a nice fitted sleeve.

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For the skirt the volume at the hem was nice but the pleats were not: I’m going to take those away and make the skirt in 7 plain panels instead. I’ve pinned out the pleats and pressed the skirt pieces flat. I’ve drawn on new seam lines to split the pieces into more panels and cut along. When I trace these pieces out onto paper I will smooth out the waist edges and add a new grain line on the side panels.

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Next I need to trace all of these pieces onto pattern paper, checking that everything still adds up and will fit back together again! I need to add notches and seam allowance and generally turn this into a real pattern. I also need to use this skirt pattern to make an under skirt pattern. Because the top part is now entirely in soft and stretchy mesh it won’t be stable enough to hold up the full, heavy skirt. I’m planning to solve this with a facing for the skirt which is sturdy and well-fitting, possibly even with a bit of boning in it, to anchor the skirt on the hips. This will mean that skirt is entirely self-supporting, with the top part attached at the waist seam giving the look of a normal dress.

And from this facing the panels of lining and mesh will come down to reach the floor. I’m sort of winging it on the volume here! But I think and educated guess will be fine and we can take out/add in as required in the second fitting.

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Total hours worked: 14

4 thoughts on “Paula’s wedding dress part 3: first fitting

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