I’m sure some of you were wondering if I was every going to get to this point on Shell’s dress.
Yes! It’s here! It’s done! After an afternoon in Mrs C’s sewing room and another in mine all the ruching on has been draped on Shell’s bodice, and here is how I did it.
First I sewed on the blue silk taffeta bindings from the back, but didn’t sew them down in front. Then I basted on my first draping panel, and stood back to admire how beautifully it draped:
Then I told Shell that she wasn’t going to be able to sit down, eat, or use the loo for the next four hours while I did the ruching on her bodice:
With the bride under control, I began controlling the fabric, carefully pinning a pleat at the bodice centre, tacking it as it curved across the bust, and then pinning it at the side seam.
It’s very time consuming and detailed work: getting all your pins in the right place (as opposed to the bride, or your fingers!), having three or four needles going at once to baste all the ruching down, and making sure that the fabric tension was even.
It was exhausting, for me and the bride. Every 20 minutes or so I would take a break to stretch my fingers, and Shell would get to sit down for a bit.
She would take the opportunity to let the world know the current status of her wedding dress.
After an hour and a half of draping, we needed more than just a rest, so I popped down to the dairy (corner store) for high-calorie reinforcements: crisps and candy bars. Crisps (potato chips) are not the best wedding dress food: all that grease won’t come out of silk! So Mrs C came to the rescue with an apron and tongs.
Refreshed, we pressed on, and I got almost all of the front draping done that afternoon.
I was pretty knackered by this point, as was Shell, so we called it a day, I took the dress home, turned some of my basting into proper stitching,a nd we attached the dress again the next day in my lounge.
I learned something interesting doing the back draping. My left hand is so much weaker than my right that draping from left to right on the left side of the bodice back took almost twice as long as the right, and was much harder to get right. I didn’t notice it doing the front of the bodice, because it isn’t symmetrical.
It all looks a bit wonky in the photo below because the skirt side seams aren’t sewn together, so pull apart, and the bodice is pinned very loosely, but it really is almost done!