Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wedding Dress: Muslin Stages

When I posted last, we had ripped apart the original dress into its various pieces. From there we pillaged even more. We broke down each piece and lace trim was seized from cuffs and the neckline for possible further use. We know for sure that we will not use the original front bodice pieces since they are too short, even with tweaking. Rather than be sorry later, we are still holding on to everything until it is all done...just in case.

First we tossed around a couple of patterns to possibly use for the dress as something to help us along. I have not drafted a sweetheart neckline before, and this was not the time to start from scratch. We settled on Butterick 5731, which is the commercial pattern for Kate Middleton's dress. This seems like what we are trying to achieve anyway. Sweetheart neckline with lace overlay. Perfect.
Our skirt will be full lace overlay and we will have a waist sash, but otherwise this was our jumping off pattern. The bride's mother made the first muslin of the inner bodice (the sweetheart non-lace) and after some tweaking, I took it home and created the second muslin.

The second (inner or under) bodice muslin was more of dress-rehearsal than just the first muslin, which was only muslin. I used a similar fabric as the final dress fabric and went all out. I added the underlining (which had to be hand basted on, due to he slippery-ness of the fabrics), the lining and the boning. I wanted to see how all the layers went together and how tricky or easy this process would be. I will say this was the most informative move so far.

the evil lining of doom

Lots of questions we had were answered in this second muslin. First, we had talked about what to use for underlining and lining. For the second muslin I used what I had in my stash: some poly lining for the underlining, and a bemberg rayon for the lining. When put together with the satin, it was all very shifty and difficult to sew. A complete pain. So, cotton, either lawn or voile (or even shirting or light muslin), is going to be used for the underling and even perhaps for the lining. Also, I had purchased some crappy boning at Joann's, since that is what is available to me, and realized that spiral steel boning will be worth it in the end.

The final realization was about pressing the fabric, which has unfortunately brought to light new questions/concerns. The test fabric, a satin polyester, was a huge pain to press. I was very concerned about melting the fabric, so I tried not to go too crazy. The end result still seemed puffy, even after pressing as best as I could. Any tips would be appreciated.

The fit, when finally on, was less than satisfactory. But, this is why we make muslins :) We need to raise side seams, taper the back seam and remove some fullness from the top of the princess seams. I also realized that the sweetheart neckline needs more stability.

I did end up signing up for Gertie's Bombshell Dress course over on Craftsy, and most of these things are covered in the class. I think it will be thirty bucks well spent.

I will post soon about the progress of that as well. I will also try to do it within the month :)


  1. Welcome back Maggie. Wow, what a project!! A lot of work - looking forward to seeing the progress.

  2. The Gertie course will take you through sweetheart necklines, and boning, it's really worth the money, trust. Also bust padding, you may need it to hold everything in place.