Monday, October 28, 2013

Finishing Touches

True to form, I was stitching hook & eyes on just hours before the event!  Why is it never possible to finish things like this ahead of schedule?

I managed to get through most of the hand sewing on this piece (which was rather extensive) without doing too much damage to my finger tips.  But this past week, I got myself good.  The eye end of a needle punched through the pad of one of my fingers, and the spot was really hard to avoid re-puncturing.  (I really must learn how to use a thimble.) A pair of beading pliers really came in handy to avoid aggravating the injury.

The skirt zips up the front, and obviously, the bodice buttons up the front.  What I did not initially realize from looking at the cover illustration is that the garment is one-piece.

The back bodice and skirt are attached at the waist seam. 

The skirt edges are finished with a length of grosgrain ribbon.

The ribbon is stitched to the seam allowance and after pressing it down, hand-stitched to the skirt lining.

The ribbon is left free for a few inches at the center front

The peplums are attached to the bodice pieces, which are are finished, top and bottom, and get zipped and buttoned after hook and eyes secure the skirt at the waist.

Actually, the directions are rather iffy on this part.  I was lucky enough to wear a fantastic Victorian ball gown costume in high school that was two pieces - large hook & eyes were used to secure bodice to skirt, so my memory of that piece is where I started.

After that I just kept adding snaps and hook & eyes to keep everything in place.  (In the end, the closures are probably more Edwardian than mid-century/1950s with all of that folding and hooking and snapping, but it works!)

The hem was marked with a contrasting thread, and to ensure that the silk organza underlining did not shift, I stitched just inside the fold (those stitches stay in permanently).

One of my favorite things about this garment is how easy it is to get on and off.  I can also step into it, which means hair and makeup can be done prior to getting dressed.

I have a ton of pictures to go through, but I promise that I will have a finished dress to show you very soon!  Here is what it looks like without buttons, hip pads, shoulder pads, the belt, or a hem. 

[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October. I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months.]


  1. Oh wow! This is exactly what I aspire to make, and the beading is divine! I write in my own blog, but you would notice I haven't quite made it to a gown like this yet. It reminds me of the gowns and techniques I have spent some time poring over in Claire Schaeffer's books. I have a beautiful length of fabric I recently purchased and I am debating with myself what to make with it. However, I figure (with three small kiddies and never getting out to big events right now) my time and money would still be best spent on creating a gorgeous day outfit I could wear every day...cost per wear and all that ;-). I can't wait to see your gown on!

  2. Overheard sound effect #1:

    [spitting nails, with soft pinging as they hit the floor]

  3. oh it's pretty! I have no wonder you were finishing it up to the end - it clearly has a huge amount of work in it!

  4. this is absolutely stunning, I can't wait to see photos of you wearing it!

  5. It's nothing short of breathtaking. You have truly created a timelessly beautiful masterpiece here, honey.

    ♥ Jessica

  6. My mind is blown! It's just an incredible amount of work! And has been amazing to watch you make it! You are so skilled! Can't wait to see it on you!


  7. Oh my word! I couldn't imagine doing all that just hours before the event! I would need plenty of time to wrap my head around all the details, etc. I have never attempted a partially separate skirt waistband before, but I suppose I must someday... Glad to know that there is someone out there who I can ask questions to if I need help. ;)
    You have done an amazing job, and I can't wait to see the final dress!

    The Middle Sister and Singer

  8. WOW!! Cannot wait for the big reveal!

  9. Yes this dress is gorgeous ....