Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Penelope Red Black and Lace Winter Dress: Making of

I wanted to share with you the making of my Penelope Red Black and Lace Winter Dress. I wore this dress to the Tessuti Awards, and I was so proud of it! It is an amazing feeling to be able to wear something that you have hand-crafted yourself!

I love sewing, and sometimes it is nice to make something that is just for me! It means I can be as creative and spontaneous as I want, and I only have to satisfy myself!

I bought the fabric from the Tessuti fabrics store in Surry Hills. The plain black fabric is a 100% wool crepe. The cream and black fabric is 100% wool too, so I made sure I steamed both fabrics, to prevent shrinkage.

Next, I carefully cut out each piece. I had only just enough of the black and cream fabric, so I was very lucky. I always like to use a rotary cutter and cutting mats. It means a much more accurate cut, and it is actually much easier on your hands. The brand I would recommend is Olfa. They last a lot longer than the rest.

In my more expensive and exclusive garments I like to use interfacing, rather than fusing. It is a more time consuming process, but worth it in the end. So I cut out the interfacing separately, then apply each piece to the back of the main fabric, fastening it with stitching.

After the seams have been stitched, it is important to trim your layers of seams to reduce bulk. So I always trim the interfacing seams away as much as possible. I clip and notch wherever it is needed, then press. Every seam is treated this way.

This dress is relatively easy enough to sew, it just has a few tricky areas. The hardest is the centre front peak under the bust. It has to be 100% centred and even on both sides. I find the best way to do this is to place a line of stitching on both pieces of fabric, to outline exactly where the stitching needs to go.

Above is the inside of the centre front, and you can see all of the clips and notches!

The dress is completely lined with black silk lining, encasing all seams in between the layers.

Once I had the dress constructed, I hand appliqu├ęd the lace around the neck line. I first of all pinned the lace in place (above), and then hand stitched with a needle and thread around each medallion. I watched "Pride and Prejudice", (the BBC version of course!) while sewing the lace by hand. I next clipped off any excess threads and pieces of lace.

So my dress was done! I am so happy with it.

I found some really cute black and white vintage buttons, to add just a little finishing touch to the sleeves, and at the top of the back neck. I then placed a little piece of the lace to the sleeve, right next to the button.

The lace was also purchased from Tessuti fabrics, in their Surry Hills store, and it really is just simply stunning! It came on a big roll, like any normal fabric, and I just bought 10cm worth (so I got one long line of flowers).

There is nothing like a nice new dress to revitalise and freshen up your day! I can't wait to wear it again!

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