For a wide range of reasons (including the fact that I'm waiting on the arrival of a load of fabric before I can start sewing up bunting and picnic blankets) I've started working on the toile (muslin, for the Americans) of the dress (well, the inner corselette which will form the underpinning of the bodice of the dress).
Seriously, I had no idea how much work, how many layers and how much darn fabric went into a 'proper' couture dress (which is the best way to think of wedding dresses - the modern woman's chance to wear a couture garment, with all the fitting and foundations that that entails).
Luckily, one of my two local sewing stores had a load of polycotton interlining fabric for £1 a metre (it's a sensible weight, reasonably crisp and very neutral), so at least sewing the toile hasn't cost me very much.
And my gosh, am I ever learning fast. Thanks to the great British library system I've been able to get a copy of Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture (£135 for a copy!! There was no way I was buying one. £4 to borrow it from another county's library), which, as far as I can make out, is simply the best book for structuring bridal/evening wear that there is. And it is rather brilliant, I must say. The dresses themselves are looking a shade dated, but the book is full of basic principles for couture sewing. And, given my somewhat sketchy dressmaking experience, I am in need of basic principles. Fortunately, copyright for the book has now reverted to Susan and she is selling the book in CD form from her website. She is lovely (I emailed her about shipping to the UK, which she happily does) and if you're even slightly contemplating making some kind of structured dress, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I need to do a lot more work matching my dummy (christened Daphne. Teddy is a little bit in love with her, and kisses her night night on the way to bed) to my actual shape, as there's still a fair amount of difference, even with the bust, waist and hip measurements corrected. I gather that this is the usual state of affairs when using a dress form, and that really (unless you make your dress form a perfectly fitted cover, aka Gertie's. Incidentally her blog is my new best friend) a dress form is more for draping and finalising design details than actual fitting, except in emergency cases.
I'm off to London to buy actual dress fabric tomorrow (not because I'm in a desperate rush to buy it, but because we happen to be going to London, so I thought I'd save myself another trip. Plus I can't keep changing my mind once I've bought the fabric), and hopefully do a little more work on the toile next week.
I am getting seriously into this garment sewing lark. I know this blog has been a little sparse on quilts and the like recently (something I'm hoping to correct as I slowly but surely make my way through handsewing the back of the sunshine quilt), for which I apologise, but this has always been a blog designed to document what I'm up to at the moment, and mainly what I seem to be up to at the moment is looking after Teddy (full time now, since taking him out of childcare last month), wedding planning and sewing garments of one form or another. I hope it's not too boring for you and that if you're only here for the quilts that you stick around a while - there's going to be some serious quilt turnover in these parts once the fabric for the wedding picnic blankets arrives!