Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The importance of boning a bodice ...

I've just finished uploading information for making the boned bodice that was used for the black wedding dress. It's more detailed than the information originally completed - mainly because I didn't have time! This has now been included on one of the pages at Stitchery-doing (click if you want to follow the link & find out more).

I've also uploaded more images & processes involved for making the entire dress (& have still some more to go) & these can be found here at CiCiDesigns.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wedding dress information ...


Above is the completed Black wedding dress being worn by the bride.

There are specific design details about the style of garment & the fabrics used as well as more explicit sewing & making-up instructions - if you want to read them, just click here or if you would like me to make something for you, then please visit my website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wedding dress : IMAGES ...

Finally the images of the dress in its final stages:

Dress linings
Above are the individual linings: left - inner satin lining (stage 5 - first layers of nets are shown on the inside); centre - inner satin lining to outside (stage 6 - cream & black net layers); right - boned bodice (stage 4) with final tulle layer (stage 6).

Finished dress: front & back views
If you want to read more about the dress & how it was made, please click CiCi-Designs

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 7 - Main dress completed ...

NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress
& each of its various parts can now be found here sequentially altogether:

 please click Black wedding dress ...

... only basic general details are outlined below

The dress was finally completed last Friday & delivered to the bride on Saturday ready for her Halloween wedding next week.

The final stage was finishing the main dress & adequate stability for the hemline necessary for the finishing to be attached.




Monday, October 27, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 6 - 2nd set of nets added & 2 dresses stitched together ! ...

NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress
& each of its various parts are sequentially altogether
by clicking Black wedding dress ...

... only basic general details are outlined below


The final nets were added (tulle below stitched to interlining) & the underlinings hand-stitched together.






Friday, October 17, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 5 - 1st nets stitched & good use of safety pins !...

NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress
& each of its various parts can now be found here sequentially altogether:

 please click Black wedding dress ...

... only basic general details are outlined below


2 individual layers of nylon net have been designed to support & enhance the layers above them (image shows them from inside).


The use of safety pins became more invaluable as each layer was added & proved to be a better option than pins (see why in the detailed description above at Black wedding dress).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 4 - finishing the boned bodice, lining & net preparation ...

Binding bodice seams
Another fitting of the wedding dress took place last week & the initial fitting was perfect - meaning  the boned bodice is now ready for the next phase ie. placement of the net layers. (These have been made ready to pin into place for the next fitting.)



To continue finishing the bodice, a satin bias binding is to cover the seam to add further stability & (as an option), maybe add additional boning. (Note: The inner seams were completed before the side seams were stitched together - it's easier!)

After clipping the seam allowances (irregularly to prevent rolling), the first part of bodice completion was to add the satin bias binding to the seams (above image shows the 3 stages):
                                       - pin bias centrally over the seam (above left)
ensuring you only stitch to the seam allowance & leaving pins in place
                                       - machine stitch along one edge (above centre)
                                       - machine stitch along other edge (above right)


The seam allowances have then been overlocked to neaten - at the next stitching stage, the lining will be partially attached to the bodice.

Lining preparation
An inner lining for the dress is in satin - primarily used to support the main net layers; the boned bodice will support the upper layers. With the same overall basic shape as the bodice, it was stitched together for the first fitting to obtain a finished 'walking length'.

At last week's fitting, the basic net layer positions were marked on the satin lining & these 'lines' will be re-inforced (below left). Using off-cuts of the tulle edging, they are stitched into position enabling the stitching of the gathered net layers (2 rows shown below right).


It's essential that the hem is finished before adding the net layers as it's a lot easier for stitching purposes. The dress has been designed to drape onto the ground but mainly only for the visible upper layers. The lining must easily clear the bride's shoes & allow her to easily walk, ensuring the net is kept away from her heels/toes. To assist in this, a strip of bias netting (below left) has been stitched to the edge of the hem - on the dress section & not on the allowance & additionally the edge of the hem has been machine-stitch eased into place. Folding the hem over the net, it is then machined into place.


The satin has a slight stretch & as the hem has been stitched, the curved hemling has been slightly pulled to create a further curve - this will ensure the hemline 'splays' outwards.

Net layers
There are several layers of net for the dress - the first 2 at the hemline have been stitched to the lining ready for the next fitting. The other layers have been gathered to their overall shapes & ready to pin into position at the next fitting. (Their finished placement & overall 'look' is a crucial part of the completed dress & for this reason, at this stage, cannot be stitched into final position. In the event any monir adjustment is necessary to the dress, it's easier to work on it minus the net layers).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wicker "Moses Basket" Crib Cover Patterns ...


In between making the wedding dress, I've been making up a basic pattern for the Wicker "Moses Basket" Crib Covers (original instructions to be found here). I've been asked for them many times & now finally I've finished it!

The basic set of 3 patterns (base, sides, cover) are suitable for a wicker crib (as above) with the following appx. measurements:


            Inner base sizes:          27" (68.5cm) x 13" (33cm)
            Height from base:        Sides - 11.25" (28.5cm)
                                                Raised head end - 16.5" (42cm)
                                                Lower foot end - 12.5" (31.7cm)

The patterns can be scaled up to full size using 1"/2.5cm grid paper & are available as a PDF document from my projects link, then clicking the Crib/Moses Basket: Basic Patterns. Here you will find it as: Crib Patterns.pdf.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 3 - making the boned bodice & interlining ...


NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress & each of its various parts can now be found here & sequentially altogether:

 please click Black wedding dress ...

... only basic general details are outlined below

After the demi-toile (stage 2) was finally fitted & a stiffened torso-bodice had been made, it was decided to integrate the 2 items into one garment as an interlining since this will help in keeping the nets layers separate & their movement somewhat independent.

The most important aspect of this dress was its boned under-structure & to find out more about this, please click the link to Stitcherydoing - its the stitching of it that's the crucial part !

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 2 - making demi-toile ...


NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress & each of its various parts can now be found here & sequentially altogether:

 please click Black wedding dress ...



... the following ones are just a brief outline:

The initial bodice toile was been taken apart to create a pattern (shown above - cut in canvas) for cutting all the dress as well as being used to make a boned bodice for the dress.

Initially with the shapes longer & cut in poly-cotton, they created a floor length dress that I have termed a ‘demi-toile'. This became a ‘multi-purpose’ garment used as a full-length 'sample' to obtain general & final finished lengths & was able to confirm how the dress would be assembled & made. As the bride’s body measurements were changing, I had to ensure the garment’s size remains ‘current’ at each fitting stage whilst making & stitching as much as possible early on, leaving only minor changes & finishings til the last moment.

After this, the demi-toile will become an interlining for the final dress & be used as a support layer for a boned bodice & more visible net layers.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wedding dress: stage 1 - making 1st bodice toile ...

Left: back pinned            Right: seam allowances added
Stage 1 - Bodice toile
The first stage of the dress is preparing a toile for the upper bodice to ensure shapings are their best in the fitting for this particular dress. From this, a longer underbodice toile is to made which will probably become part of the actual dress.

A fine polycotton has been used along with a sew-in lightweight interfacing for its backing. The panels are then stitched together to form a simple bodice for its first fitting stage, after which any changes &/or alterations will be made for the next steps.

NOTE: Full details for making the entire dress & each of its various parts can now be found here & sequentially altogether:
 please click Black wedding dress

Update 1/9/14: The toile has been fitted & provided an overall good initial fit with a good basic pattern to use next. After discussion with the bride-to-be she has opted to have this ultimately form an intergral part of the dress rather than have it separate. Stage 2 will now commence & involve making a demi-toile (my name for it): a full-length dress that will become a underlining.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

October wedding ...



PLEASE NOTE: The description of the dress that follows is a generalised one since the bride naturally wants to keep her dress a secret until after her wedding.

Client brief
An order for a wedding dress was received over a month ago for an October wedding but on a diet (like many brides) & with time constraints (for making the dress), the dress is now only being started. As with many brides, weight loss can occur right up until the day before the wedding yet any dress must ensure a perfect fit especially if it's being made. For this reason, it is intended that final fittings & any minor alterations will occur as late as possible & all major stitching completed as early as can be. 

The bride-to-be wants a sleeveless fitted full-length dress with asymmetrical hemline showing an underskirt of net. To take into account her overall design as well as likely variations in measurements throughout the fittings, a princess/panelled dress was chosen as the basic dress shape which will have an attached full-length lining/net underskirt. Main fabrics are to be man-made ones (customer’s preference) & have been purchased locally: the upper dress layer is a stretch suiting, underlining a slight stretch satin & there are 2 mesh variations of netting. A built in boned underbodice (polycotton) will also be made & stitched to the dress to help its structure & ensure all fabrics are well-supported - a waist stay may also be necessary. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting around to it! ...


I've just had a tidy-out (many months overdue!) of some of my mail-order suppliers list & come across some VERY USEFUL companies I'd like to recommend for specific jobs as I've found them to be very reliable - here they are:

for covering buttons, belts & other trims:

for pleating of fabric:

for dyeing individual items of clothing or furnishings:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kaffe Fassett @ American Museum ...

Last Friday I visited the gloriously colourful Kaffe Fassett exhibition. Apart from all his work, here's some of my favourite pix I took:

Fabric & thread @ entrance tree
Woollen flags by doorway
Entering the display gallery
Mirrored entrance
The entire entrance area to Kaffe's work was a superb welcoming - ready to next see his work. Too many things to itemise, I've just tried to capture it all with this one shot below!

A taste of what's on view !
I personally would have liked to have seen a lot more of his work on show & was somewhat disappointed but on venturing into the main museum, was told that there were more pieces amongst the other museum exhibits. Here's one of my favourites I came across:
1964 ink sketches

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cotton cups !! ...

Dolls beachwear c.1950
handmade by me !
I've had a couple of customers recently enquire about bras, predominantly for me to make or alter them. One customer in particular has several problems regarding 'buying off the shelf' & a "joking suggestion to use up some of her fabric scraps & make her one to match the blouse" may now be a reality! More on this next week when I meet with the customer for a further discussion.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 7 - Sew on Hooks ...

Stitch across upper edge of each pleat as previous instruction - this stitching holds the upper edge in place but allows the lower 'roll' to open/fan out.


When complete, sew on individual hooks, ensuring stitching does not show from the right side. The hook should be positioned as closely as possible to the vertical pleat seam line.


Before hanging, ensure all pleat 'rolls' are open then hang curtains. (At this stage, the hems are finished).

When finally complete, fold each roll & pleat into position across the curtain. "Dress the window"ensuring each pleat/fold lines run evenly & vertically perfect, tying or clipping into position. Leave for several days before removing ties.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 6 - Prepare pleats ...

Remove all tacking & turn to right side. Create slight roll with pleat.


Push central section of pleat-roll inwards to form 2 smaller pleats.


Ensure these pleats are sitting in the centre of the roll & fold down.


Using a wide zig-zag machine stitch (stitch length 0 ie. sewing on the 'spot'), stitch through all pleat layers close to the upper edge to hold the pleat in place.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 5 - Slip stitch facing ...

Slip stitching the facing to the lining
Turn the curtain to lining facing you.


The facing will next be stitched to ONLY the lining section of the curtain. Using a fine needle, pick up a few threads of the lining & insert the needle into the folded edge of the facing, sliding it along the fold to emerge appx. 0.5"/1.2cm from where it was inserted. 



Pick up a few threads of the lining & repeat this process across the width of the curtain. The ends of the facing should also be slip-stitching down. Remove all tacking.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 4 - Stitching pleats ...


Stitching pleats in position
With right side of curtain facing, match first & second pair of pins to create a 'pleat', pin/tack into position. Stitch from upper edge to just below the buckram depth, through all fabric layers. Repeat the process across the width of the curtain - the image above shows the first 2 pleats stitched to hold them in place.

Do not press yet but fold the pleat back to form a soft roll (see image below).

















Stitch facing to hold in place
With lining fabric facing, slip stitch the facing lower edge to the lining & side edges to the side seams.






Sunday, June 1, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 3 - Marking the Pleats ...

Fold the facing over the buckram & pin into position. Fold the excess fabric (along the unfinished lower edge) over the buckram to encase it. Fold under the outer side edges & tack into place (see image below).


Euro pleat marking
For spacing of the Euro pleats, the curtain panels & rod were measured to determine the pleat & space allowances (excess fabric is made into the pleats & a space between is left plain).

In this example (see below), 6"/15cm was allowed for each of the 6 pleats; 5"/12.7cm allowed for the space between each pleat; 2.75"/7cm allowed at the side edge. The image below (left to right) shows the first pleat & first space. These measurements are marked across the width of the panel using pins placed vertically.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels: Step 2 - Facing the upper edge ...

NOTE: 2 sets of curtains were made (both full length) & self-lined with one of their other fine cotton curtains. Wanting only simple curtains, minimum width & the ability to easily launder them. For this reason I opted to have individual curtain panels rather then seam them together, thereby having 2 separate panels per individual curtain. To begin, all the curtains were unpicked & for the main tree/bird fabric, the patterns were matched across the entire 8 panels. One panel & one lining were used together & treated as one panel; sides seams were double folded & machine stitched; lower hems were allowed but finally stitched when upper edge had been completed.



(Ideally, the upper edge should have just been folded to encase the buckram but because the main fabric's pattern was showing through on the right side, I opted for stitching a separate facing using the lining fabric.)

To make the heading facing
Cut the lining fabric into a 8"/20cm wide strip & stitch this across the upper edge of the panel - as per image above.

The seam & facing were then pressed away from the main fabric.

Working on a flat surface & with lining/wrong side of curtain facing, lay the buckram on the curtain butting against the seam line (as per black arrow below). Pin in position across entire width of curtain (ensuring buckram lays perfectly flat) & tack into position if required.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Making Waves ...


At the beginning of the year I MADE some WAVES !

Curtains actually (above) - adapted from pre-made ones with tape heading. If you want to see these details in full, they can be found here:


NOTE: Since making these, I've found that www.curtaingenius.co.uk also sell a wide range of eyelets.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Euro Pleats for Ikea Curtain Panels (Step 1 - contd from May 2013!) ...

Finally the lounge is finished & the Ikea Bird curtains (EIVOR left) are to be made up. I decided against eyelets in preference to Euro pleats as I wanted to have more fabric hanging like the trees printed on it! Also, I planned to have integrated linings - the Ikea plain cotton (VIVAN) are ideal & allow the curtains to retain their lightweight feel. Over the recent months, the curtains were all unpicked & patterns matched. A total of 8 curtains (for 2 areas: a patio & large window space) were to be made - each one was to be separate so that laundering would be easier. After next cutting the curtains to size (maximum length was needed for 4 curtains & only a hem was allowed - the heading fabric would be added later when a buckram was found & pleating decided). The side hems included the lining fabric (folded twice to provide weight as well as durability) & were finished by machine straight stitch. Being a relatively fine cotton fabric, this finish would be more practical.
A Euro pleat heading would be an ideal finish but because of the 'fine' fabric weight, a woven buckram would be too heavy. After much internet surfing, I finally came across some polyester buckram (see left) available in the UK for this pleating technique on the headings. Available in a wide range of widths - I opted for the 120mm / 4.75" version from an excellent mail-order company thoroughly recommeded (They are:  www.curtaingenius.co.uk & besides this item, also sell many other wonderful curtain-related other items.) The sew-on brass curtain hooks (see also left) were obtained from eBay.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

'Cell self-portrait' (stage 4) ...

A few more stitches to hold the various 'meshes' in place now has the piece looking like this. Previous embroidered stitches are beginning to disappear & become "trapped" underneath transparent sections. 


Looking at the piece so far (especially viewed on-line), it is becoming almost 3D & more cellular than as seen in "the flesh" ......  I'm very pleased about this. Also, when held up to the light, parts of it appear & disappear ... very pleased on this aspect too!

Friday, May 9, 2014

'Cell self-portrait' (stage 3) ...

For the next stage, I'm adding some "cellular' shapes in organza & plastic. These are loosely tacked into position to hold in place - stitches are small & worked using ordinary sewing thread.

Pink 'heat set" organza
Strips of fine plastic added


Monday, May 5, 2014

Mesh or MESS !!! (stage 3) ...

Continuing, the sample is getting more 'crinkly' as 2 stages of black thread are completed. Currently I'm not certain what the next stage is but I'm considering paint or wax.
stitched in black
stitched more in black
While the sample section has been stitched, the piece has been 'turned' to work it. This ensures stitching remains in spread 'centrally'  rather than getting placed just in one area - consequently photos have been taken in a variety of positions too. Close-up, the colours are merging better than anticipated although at a distance, the fabric colours still remain isolated (this is an aspect of my work I'm currently investigating &/or enhancing).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mesh or MESS !!! (stage 2) ...

More stitching on the mesh sample in pink & green - by now the sample is begining to get stiff. However, the 'holes' between the strips (only with machine stitching) are keeping the sample supple.
stitched in pink
stitched in dark green