Monday, May 31, 2010

The Command Center

Every couple needs a wedding command center the week before they get married. I had set the table up in preparation for the brunch we're hosting the day after the wedding. No. I'm really NOT crazy. I think they were working on the programs, and getting the escort cards ready to clip to the great board they made last week.

Some time after that top picture was taken, they moved the table diagram into the command center. Their wedding planner is very impressed with this to scale diagram.

The board is a thin piece of MDF covered with purple satin fabric. They glued 1/2" wide satin ribbon at the top and the bottom, and then made a frame. I'm not too sure exactly how this was made, but it took a couple of days, and a bit of angst to get it just right. I think it looks fabulous!

The idea is to clip each escort card with mini binder clips in alphabetical order, so it's easy for guests to find their assigned table. In the up close of the cards, you can see the name, the table name (named for cities that are significant to Laura and Thomas), and a little symbol with their dinner choice.
 We have 4 more full days of work before Saturday, and finished items to be taken to the wedding are being boxed up and moved to the dining room. It's all coming together!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Wedding Craftiness

Laura's been at it again, and more craftiness has occurred in preparation for the big day, now less than a week away! Upon entering the gardens where the wedding will take place, there is a huge, wrought iron gate. She plans to hang her and Thomas' initials, for the initial "welcome" to the wedding. She made these:

by first ordering unpainted letters from Craft Cuts. She spray painted them silver, and once the paint was dry, she simply used a hot glue gun to attach petal sections cut off hydrangea blooms that she bought at Michaels. The final touch was using a staple gun to attach the wide ribbon and the letters are ready to go!

We also decided that our flower girl, Zoey, would need something for her hair, and decided to make little floral clips. I made this craft by buying Goody snap clips, and 2 little floral sprays from Michaels. I first cut the flowers from their stems, leaving about 1/2" of stem or less. I put a line of Beacon's 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue, and glued 4 flowers to each clip. I made 4 clips total, and we'll have her mom position them on the top of her head, kind of like a headband. Laura has modeled them for me so you can see the look we're aiming for. So easy. I think it took me less than 5 minutes to make all 4 clips.
 She only has 3 in her hair in this picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rowenta Iron Giveaway

Hey Friends! I'm beat after a 3 hour meeting with the wedding planner, but wanted to share this Rowenta iron giveaway I found over at Hop on over there, and comment. The drawing is on June 1!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Make Your Own Wedding Garter

Making a garter is another easy project for the sewing beginner, and I wanted to share with you how I made one for Laura. There are lots of variations on how to make a garter, and I used this technique because my elastic was the same width as my ribbon. What you'll need:

2 lengths of lace cut 1-1/2 times longer than your thigh measurement
1 length of ribbon (I used 1/2 inch wide) cut the same length as the lace
1 piece of elastic (1/4 to 1/2 inch wide) cut the length of your thigh measurement
1 strip of silk organza (or bias tape) cut 2-1/2 inches wide by the length of your lace (to be used as a casing for your elastic)

Fold your organza strip in half lengthwise and stitch using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You will not need to turn this, but simply fold your stitched seam allowance over onto the wider part and press:
Set this aside, and get your ribbon and lace ready with all right sides facing up:
You'll stitch the lace to the ribbon, with the ribbon on top. I stitched down the middle of that lace edging, lining it up with the edge of the ribbon. Wrong sides up looks like this:
Right side up, it looks like this:
Next, you'll attach the casing to the wrong side, sewing closely to each edge of the casing. Center your casing over the ribbon, but don't worry if it's extending onto the lace. Using thread that matches your lace, you will not be able to see the stitching at all. The seam allowance of the casing is facing the ribbon.

Now you're ready to insert the elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end, and slide it on through. When the end is even with the end of the ribbon, stitch across to secure it.
Here's where it becomes a matter of comfort. Even though the elastic was the length of Laura's thigh measurement, the whole thing looked loose when I got the elastic all the way through. I ended up pulling it further, and cut off about 3 or 4 inches of the elastic, making the gathers of the garter tighter, and then stitched through the elastic at that open end. Try it on before you stitch. It's ok to leave your edges raw, because they will be hidden by your decoration.
And finally, add the decoration. I added a little "bow" and a heart shaped button that matched the one in the ring bearer pillow, right over the seam. Oh, yep, sewed those on by hand in one step.

Note to Cinquefoil: When I made the ruffled clutch, it was entirely from scratch. I made the base fabric from taffeta cut into the front and back shape for the clutch (no seam on the bottom), and attached the pleated strips which were "tubes" of silk shantung that I pleated, sewed on before sewing the side seams of the base fabric, leaving the ends free. I hand sewed the ends over the side seams once it was complete.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wedding Crafts

If you have a sewing machine, then there are lots more things you can sew for a wedding besides the outfits. Some projects are easy enough for beginners, too, which is great if you are on a budget (and even if you aren't). And of course, the world wide web is chock full of tutorials written by those who have done just that.

Today, I'll show you 2 that Laura and I recently made. After scouring Etsy for a suitable ring bearer vessel, Laura decided to make her own. I say vessel, because these days, a ring bearer can carry any number of things. One of my favorites is this sweet felted bowl made by my friend, Sue of Maddy and Me:

Laura wanted a more traditional pillow though, and had found a tutorial online. I let her do all the work, with just a quick lesson on using the machine, and how to turn corners neatly. Her efforts really paid off, as it turned out really cute:

Besides a dress, we all need a great bag to carry our tissues and lipstick, and my mom had found one she loved, but was a bit price-y. I made this one for her that is based on the design:

More crafts coming tomorrow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

MOB Dress Construction Notes

It's all done! I just wanted to share a few things about the way I made this dress, which is Butterick 5176 by the way. First up, fitting. I showed you the muslin here, but I did not end up taking care of the gaping by pulling down, but by taking 2 small tucks in the neckline. I also did a slash and spread of the midriff pieces in order to accommodate a wider waist. Here's what my pattern pieces looked like:

The next thing I want to note, is that while I debated over doing a handpicked zipper vs. an invisible zipper, I ended up doing a lapped zipper after reading this post by Gertie. I didn't do it according to her instructions, but kind of a hybrid from the zipper package and my Singer Sewing Book. Because the lining was already attached to the bodice pieces, I had to do a little fudging, but no one can tell from the outside. I did not make a placket, like Gertie advised because the whole dress is lined. How about some photos:
This fist one shows how I trimmed away the seam allowance on the midriff piece (interfaced with silk organza) to reduce bulk. (The skirt is underlined with the silk organza.) Next up, ready to machine sew the right side which will be under the lap.
Finally, you can machine sew the other side, but I chose to hand pick for a couture look. The zipper ready for hand sewing:
And... the finished zipper:

Big note: The pattern has ties which I have chosen to omit. This will totally affect your choice of zipper installation.

As I mentioned, the skirt is underlined with the silk organza, and I enclosed all the seams for the gores except the actual side seams of the dress. This silk shantung frays like nobody's business, so I did a kind of Hong Kong finish using stay tape inside of bias tape, just on these exposed side seams. I did not finish the seams of the lining as the dreamy fabric I used hardly frayed at all. For the hem, I attached horsehair braid, folded it up, and hand sewed, attaching it to the organza for an invisible hem from the outside. Bride Laura helped me measure the hem marking from the floor so it's as perpendicular as possible.

Finally, I attached the bling to the midriff band. I know. I know. I didn't like that look on the flat dress on the floor, but once it became 3D on my body, the flowers got lost on the skirt, and looked better on the midriff. I evenly spaced them around the entire dress, attaching them before I slipstitched the midriff lining to the skirt lining.

And... what you've all been waiting for!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MOB Dress Preview

I'm home again, and between dashes up the stairs to the laundry room (college boy had LOTS of dirty laundry), I've been sewing. The MOB dress is definitely progressing and I thought y'all might like a preview.
As you can see, shoulder seams, hemming, and the zipper are the main things left to do, plus all the handsewing of the lining once the zipper is in. And a wee bit of decorating. I bought some beaded flower embellishments from my friend, Fen, of Bead Flora Jewels on Etsy. This morning I tried various placements, and I'm strongly leaning toward only on the skirt. The options are pretty open, but here are a few I like:
Of course, they'll look different with the skirt hanging as it will with the folds, so I'll take that into consideration, and while I didn't like them all the way across the midriff area, I wouldn't object to 1 or 2 there. What do you think? Do you like the swoop, randomly placed, or off to one side? Or something else entirely?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We Interrupt...

...your regularly scheduled Sewing Life for another episode of "It's a Mom's Life" where we find your heroine about to enter the dorm of a college sophomore and pack up all its contents, the good, the bad and the extremely disgusting.

Right now, we're lounging in the hotel's Executive Lounge, waiting for said college boy to finish an exam, so that we can get into said dorm room. Enjoy the view from our hotel room's balcony:

Yes, you can see that not all of Nashville is under water. No signs of the flood in this area, though the hotel is asking us to Reserve Water. Um, we'll take 3 gallons of flat, and 2 of bubbly. Oh... wait, I think their flyer should have read CONserve water. Spell check was not their friend. At the restaurant last night we were served on paper plates and with plastic cups, unless you ordered a glass of wine or something kind of wet like my risotto. Hubby had to eat his chicken off a paper plate.

From here we head northeast to witness the graduation of our future son-in-law from the University of Kentucky.

We will return to "Sewing Life" on Monday.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Vogue 8630 for the Rehearsal Dinner

Finally, as promised, photos of the dress in the cheap, polyester, Joann's fabric. I actually kind of love this dress in spite of the fabric though. On the plus side, it cost me about $30 to make including lining, zipper, thread and pattern (which I got on sale), it's 100% machine washable AND dryable, and wrinkle free. I'm wearing it to Laura and Thomas' rehearsal dinner. Negatives are that it's, well, 100% polyester and will be totally non-breathable, and the weave is fairly loose and might be subject to some wear. The good thing about the non-breathable is that when the air conditioning is too cold, I'll stay warm, because that collar will make it hard to wear a sweater. Always a silver lining!

 The embarrassing thing about this picture is that my new fake tan pretty much matches the bricks of my house. Not really the look I was going for, but oh well. I love the wide belt (Nine West) with it, and I love my shoes (on the clearance rack at Ann Taylor), but seeing them in pictures makes me notice that my legs do look shorter with that strap. Here's an alternate look:
I had to go inside because it started raining. Now it looks like I might have just gotten back from the Bahamas. Better. I'm not loving the skinny belt as much because I do have a bit of a boxy shape. The wider belt helps with that. These shoes look better I think. Best combination: wide belt, regular pumps. Agree or disagree?

Observations about the pattern:
  • very easy, very Vogue as advertised!
  • Fits well. I made some adjustments to the pattern. Cut out a 14, tapered to a 16 at the waist and a 16 for the skirt. Eliminated the back darts. Ended up needing about a 1" seam allowance after my pinfitting. I think next time I'll cut out a straight 14 all the way. I did a sway back adjustment to the bodice, and I think I could do just a smidge more. I didn't change the pattern length at all (amazing!).
  • It's a great basic sheath pattern. Next time I plan to leave off the collar and do a neckline treatment I saw on a dress at Talbots. The neckline is a teeny bit wide which you can't tell with the collar, so I'll have to fix that.
  • I used an invisible zipper, so the construction order was altered to allow for that.
  • The instructions for understitching the lining at the collar are a bit confusing (or would be for a beginner). I'm not sure if this picture helps any, but it might: 
You just have to separate the dress and lining (dress to the left, lining to the right), slide the lining over the arm of your machine, and have the neckline seam right there in the center. I stuck my hand in through the armholes and zipper opening to push and keep the seam allowance under the lining, where it's caught by the stitching.

Happy May Day!


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