11 March 2015

I'm back


Well, that was a long break. Who'dda thunk that having a baby would be an all absorbing, world changing thing to happen to a person? It's been 6 months of highs and lows and having the time of my life with this little monster.

I am back at work full time so my ability to fit sewing and knitting in is vastly decreased, but I am managing to get snippets of it done. The biggest thing I have made, by far, was a lace dress for my brothers wedding. As I had around 10kgs of baby weight left to go, I had no idea what size I would end up when planning my outfit for the wedding so opted to make it myself, allowing for final fit as close to the wedding as possible. It was a black tie dress code so not just any old dress would do. I chose the Anna dress from ByHandLondon and made it out of a navy lace, with a pale pink satin slip to wear underneath. I had already made the Anna dress before, so was familiar with the pattern, and I really wanted a long lace dress. I knew the simplicity of the Anna pattern would work well with the lace.

I was quite nervous about sewing with the lace as I had never done it before, but I didn't let that stop me. This lace was from Centrepoint Fabrics and once I saw it, I couldn't get it out of my head, it NEEDED to be made into my dream dress. It is very 'holey' though, which in hindsight was possibly not the best option to test my lace sewing skills...

I searched trusty Google for hints on how to work with this tricky fabric and here's how I accomplised making this dress with relatively little issues.

1. I made THREE freaking muslins to get the fit right. I am still getting used to my post-baby body and needed way more adjustments than my usual FBA and lengthen the bodice to get this to fit right.
2nd muslin, still not quite right

2. Cut out the pattern pieces following the outline of the solid parts of the pattern in the lace

Back bodice pieces

3. Zig-zagged most of the seams by overlapping the lace. I did this by sewing around the pattern in the lace, and trimmed away the excess for an 'invisible' finish. To know how much to overlap by, I machine basted the seam line on all lace pieces in a contrasting thread to be able to match up the seam lines. This was very time consuming sewing such squiggly seams, and used up a LOT of thread, but I'm happy I put in the effort as the seams truly came out invisible.

Can you see that shoulder seam???
Spot the seam stitching

3. Tissue paper is your frenemy. Friend: it makes sewing the 'holey' lace a hell of a lot easier as it provides traction for the presser foot. Enemy: picking teensy weensy bits of tissue out of metres and metres of zig-zagged seams is not an enjoyable way to spend your time. Especially while looking after a baby. A baby that can drag herself around the lounge floor collecting all the dust and crap (including the tissue paper dandruff) that lands there. And extra especially a baby who enjoys eating tissue paper....
Basting of seam lines and pleats with tissue paper
Pleats sewn together
Lining up 2 skirt pieces
Constructed in the middle of baby's play area...
4. Went with a lapped, normal zip, rather than the invisible zip the pattern calls for, for ease of insertion. I also used bias tape to strengthen the zip.
Almost done!

5. I changed order of construction slightly to leave the sides seams until last. This allowed me to get the most accurate fit, which was a good thing as over the 2 months spent constructing this dress I dropped almost 3 dress sizes!

This dress is definitely the hardest thing I've sewn to date, but only because of the care needed to handle sewing the lace, but it is the garment that I am most proud of. I felt amazing wearing it and best of all, I got to tick off one of my goals as being a Mum: wear matching outfits with my mini-me! My monster's dress was made by my good friend, Mallory Xavier (aint no way in hell I could've made both our dresses in time for the wedding).

I'm so glad to back in a place where I can spend (minimal) time sewing again :)