I have been given the honor of making a wedding dress for my dear friend, Adele. I am going to be sharing some of the process here. The dress is going to be a tea length vintage inspired lace dress. We ended up going with the pattern on the left (a vintage 1950’s pattern found on Ebay) with some alterations. I am eliminating the sleeve seam to make a short kimono sleeve and creating a low V-neck in the back. We are also adding a belt for some interesting detail, so I am taking out the V-shaped seam in the back bodice. The length is going to be somewhere in between View 1/2 and 3.
After several fittings and muslins, I am finally ready to start working with the actual fabric. Adele liked some lace I already had (more on that later), so I needed to get an underlining fabric to match. I got a nice silk satin blend from mood. It’s got a nice heavy weight to it and a very nice cool undertone to it that I think will offset the lace well.
Silk is a very delicate, finely woven fabric and has to be treated with care. No matter how thin a pin you use, it can leave a tiny, visible hole in the material, so when pinning silk, you can only place pins within the seam allowances where they will not be seen. For other areas I may ordinarily place pins, I use a clothes pin instead. When sewing with silk, you need to use a very fine, sharp needle to prevent pulls and snags. Although it seems to makes sense to use silk thread on silk, cotton is better because it’s much stronger.
I debated whether or not to use a lining in addition to the silk underlining and ended up deciding against it. We are going to add a separate crinoline and I don’t think a lining will be needed. Therefore, I need to make sure the inner seams of the silk underlining are finished properly so they will be strong and attractive looking. I used a French Seam, which encases the seam allowance (extra fabric beyond the stitch line) within a two-step seam. It’s great for straight seams like these and relatively quick and easy. Now that I have all the seams done on the underskirt, it’s time for the far more difficult task of seaming the lace.