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Silk Wedding Dress: Days 2 and 3

I spent most of Day 2 finishing the front and back draping. I don't have a pic of the back draping since the dress doesn't zip up on my model, so here's a pic of the outside of the dress with both front sides completed:

 

 

Day 3 was more interesting since I spent most of it working on the corselet. For the corselet, I used seven pieces of boning instead of the usual eleven. I placed one down the front and then a piece at each seam (front seams, side seams, back seams). The boning doesn't show through the silk shantung except at the front and along the back seams, so I also covered those areas with flannel. I decided not to line the entire corselet with flannel since the silk is already quite warm and we're having an outdoor June wedding. No need to be sweating all over the place! Here's a pic of the corselet with the front flannel patch:

I decided to have the finished seams face outwards on the corselet (i.e., the “right” side faces the “wrong” side of the silk shantung dress). That minimizes the amount the seam allowances will rub against each other. The boning is on the “wrong” side of the corselet and the flannel patches are on the right side. I'm not sure if that's the right way to do it–Susan Khalje's book Bridal Couture just says “stitch the channels to the underlining nearest the body.” Clearly the channels go on the corselet, but I'm not sure if that means they go on the outside or the inside. At any rate, it seemed like it would minimize the amount they show through to place them on the wrong side of the corselet, which is what I ended up doing.

I also finished all the seams on the corselet and simply zig-zag stitched them in place. If I were really doing this right, I would have catch-stitched them all by hand, but I'm lazy and hate hand-sewing (of which there is already more than enough in this dress!). Besides, I'm going to hand catch-stitch all the dress seam allowances, so I'm saving up my patience for that.

I noticed that the dress was still crumpling a bit at the knees where the skirt will be attached, so I decided to minimize that as much as possible. I played around with having a few small pieces of boning there, but who wants boning banging on your knees all the time? And besides, even with the flannel patches, the boning was visible (at least to me). So ripped that out of the corselet and instead added a large rectangle of silk organza on the right side of the corselet. Problem solved. It adds just enough extra stability to smooth out the problem, is super light-weight so it doesn't drag down the dress (as the boning would) and is invisible since there are no ridges or bums. Bam.

Last bit for the corselet was the waist stay:

I made this out of grosgrain ribbon cut to fit tightly around my natural waist and then tacked onto the vertical seams at the waist of the corselet. I could have simply sewn on a hook and eye, but I wanted this to be really secure so I bought at bra extender at Joann's for a few bucks, cut off the elastic and sewed on the padded hook and eye sections. This adds a little bit of bulk (not noticeable when I'm wearing the dress), but is extremely secure. The waist stay made a huge difference–this dress has no slippage when I'm wearing it! It's not so tight at the bust that I can't move around or that it feels uncomfortable, but the waist stay is so secure that I also don't have to hoik the dress up all the time, either. Word to the wise, though–I originally placed the waist stay too high and the dress still slipped down. I shifted it down about an inch and it was perfect.

Coming up, Day 4: the lining!

 

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