Silk Wedding Dress: Day 4

Day 4 was all about the lining! This was actually the part I was most scared of working on since I've never sewn silk charmeuse before. Ugh. Slippery to sew with, puckers if you're not careful, slides around on the bias, and is terrible to cut. Miserable.

All of that, however, turned out to be not true at all. Ha! First of all, I cut the silk charmeuse between two pieces of paper:

I decided that I didn't want to try to iron out that huge piece of fabric and risk moving it around so much. Instead, I laid down a layer of paper on my cutting mat, then spread out the charmeuse, and then my pattern pieces. Instead of cutting the pieces out, I cut around the pieces (by about 3 inches on each side). I ironed those and then returned them to the cutting board. I put down a layer of paper, then the charmeuse, then another layer of paper and then my pattern piece. The second time around I cut the piece correctly. This was more work, but worth it since I didn't have to iron the entire swathe of charmeuse at once and was able to keep all the pieces on grain.

This is a waste, I grant you, but completely worth all the hassle. The silk behaved beautifully. It was just like cutting cotton. I left the pieces on the paper so that the edges could relax a little bit, but this turned out to be fairly unnecessary. I basted together all the pieces by hand and then sewed using a 2.5mm stitch instead of my usual 3mm. Worked perfectly–no puckering, no shifting. Just straight, beautiful seams. I used a basic white silk charmeuse from Dharma Trading Company (which is where I also got all my silk organza for the underlining). This is nice stuff–a little translucent, so I wouldn't make a dress out of it without an underlining–but just perfect for the lining of the wedding dress. It adds just enough opaqueness to the dress and is just lovely against my skin.

Time for a confession: I serged all the seam allowances. Ack! I know! I just don't have the patience to hand overlock all these seams (I mean, good grief, I still have to hand sew all the seam allowances on the dress, much less the lining) and this stuff frays like a mother. So, I just bit the bullet and serged them. Worked great. It took a while to get the tension right (since this stuff is so soft and slick), but they look fine and didn't pull at any of the seams. Plus, they stopped fraying immediately. I now have to decide how to tack them in place, though. I did try catch-stitching them, but it shows through on the “right” side and I don't like how it looks, even if I'm the only one who will see it. So, I'm thinking since the stitches will be visible no matter what, I might just catch-stitch them with a colored thread and turn it into a decorative feature. We'll see. I'm going to catch-stitch the seam allowances on the dress first and then see how much patience I have left for hand-sewing.

I did add in a few other features of the lining. I left opening in the back seams for the waist stay so that it can close separately from the back zipper:

These were very easy to do. I also added in some ribbon to hang the dress. I decided to use four ribbons instead of just two in order to distribute the weight a bit. I might change this, though, once the dress is finished, and instead add them at the sides so that the dress will hang more evenly from front to back. We'll see. Here's a pic of them, though:

I'm kind of wishing I'd done them in a fun color, like peach, but I was worried they might show through. Ah, well. I added these at the side seam and at the front bodice, which means the dress will mostly hang from the front (which is why I'm a bit worried).

Bonus pic–got my wedding shoes in today! From Ann Taylor:

The bridesmaids are all wearing shades of peach, blush, and coral, so these are perfect! Plus, not a high heel and fairly comfortable.



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