There’s a cynical view of the stages of project management that goes something like this:
Stage 1: Enthusiasm
Stage 2: Disillusionment
Stage 3: Panic and hysteria
Stage 4: Daily status meetings
Stage 5: Search for the guilty
Stage 6: Punishment of the innocent
Stage 7: Praise and honour for the non-participants.
Despite my lack of updates the wedding dress has been taking shape and I can’t help but feel that it has embodied most of the above stages at least once.
After last Friday when I put the bodice and under-bodice together I experienced a great deal of enthusiasm. It was all going so well. It was all going so much quicker than expected. I brazenly anticipated finishing the dress on Tuesday (yes, two days ago Tuesday).
On Monday my enthusiasm continued I did the armholes and contrary to my fear of the bias strips it went well and turned out great. I had been nervous about joining the ends of the bias strips as I found the pattern directions ‘Turn ends back, as shown’ and accompanying photo not so helpful.
Instead I used the technique from the Hawthorn Sew Along – it seemed to work just fine. But I can’t help but feel I should have a few lessons in using bias strips for concealing seams.
But the weather was so glorious I decided not to proceed directly onto the skirt, but instead head to the lake. I rearranged my sewing date with S for today (Thursday) so I could go to the beach again on Tuesday and polish off the skirt on Wednesday. I was, so obviously with the benefits of hindsight, in the throes of a great disillusionment – stage 2.
See I hadn’t quite thought through ALL the seams the skirt required. The main skirt, the under skirt and the lining – all of which are done with a French seam ie twice the work. In total requiring 14 seams and an estimated 21 meters of sewing. At some point I discovered some marks on the centre front of the skirt – literally smack dab in the middle. I very quickly in my mind jumped to stage 5 – search for the guilty – however G. had no not been allowed in the living room or anywhere near the fabric in several days, and besides which it wasn’t really something caused by a human. More linking some mark from production? After a moment’s hysteria I quickly realised that it was a very faint mark and would be easily hidden in the front gathers.
A skirt of that much fabric is a lot of work not just because of all the sewing. But because it weights a ton. Trying to get it to stay put on the ironing board is a nightmare – I ended up draping half over a chair while ironing the other half and utilising the Oxford dictionary again to keep what was on the ironing board still! Then at last I was attaching the skirt to the bodice. It’s all good – the notches and seams line up perfectly. I sewed it in place, turn it right way round for a look and uh-oh. The seams are NOT lined up. What the f*ck? Then I realised with three layers, when attaching with rights sides together I was inadvertently matching the lining seams to the skirt seams. And that the lining seams didn’t exactly line up with the bodice seams. So I unpicked the waist, adjusted and re-sewed.
This time the side seams mercifully did line up. But the centre gathers did not line up with the gathered insert. It was too far to one side. Stage 3 – panic and hysteria – did overwhelm at this stage and unfortunately for him, this was the moment G. decided to come home from work. He quickly went out again. Instead of unpicking the whole thing again however, I decided to just unpick the centre front and readjust it slightly, then sew it back together. It worked but my nerves were shot!
By this stage and you probably could tell from the radio silence, I had suspended stage 4 – daily progress meetings – and was feeling like there would never again be another one because there would never again be progress. Oh woe is me – I am a drama queen.
Because I wanted to do another fitting to be on the safe side, I had held off on putting the back skirt seams in because I wanted them to line up with the zipper. Putting them in at this later stage was certainly more challenging and I would definitely not advice it! I spent most of the morning doing this today before at last moving onto the zipper. I fitted it, I pinned it, I basted it and then I sewed the zipper in place. Twisted. At this point if S. had not been working away diligently in the kitchen I may have been overwhelmed by my desire to slam a door and stomp my foot. Instead I unpicked one side of the zipper. I think it’s amazing how my general state of upset dissipates as soon as it’s unpicked. I guess cause then all there is to do it redo it, while when it’s still sewn incorrectly you are just staring at your failure. 2nd time round it worked a charm the gathers at the back lined up perfectly and most importantly it fit just right. Pheeeww.
A lot of slip stitching later and I finally got to the fun part of tacking invisibly between the folds of the neck drape. All of a sudden it really came together. S. was getting excited as was I. Drape tacked in place we fitted the lace around the neckline and pinned it. Here’s a sneaky but blurry look. I have reverted back to stage 1 – enthusiasm.
All that’s left is to sew the lace in and hem it. Although I am under no illusions that this will be a snap job but I’m approaching it with excitement again to see it finished.