Carolyn’s dress: the first toile

After, many, many toiles of the bodice, I was ready to do the first toile of the full dress for Carolyn’s wedding dress.

Of course, it was at this point that I discovered that all of the discardable toile fabrics that I could fine in my stash were in weird patterned colours, which is fine for my own mock ups, but not ideal for bridal mock ups as I want the brides to be able to get an idea of what the final dress will look like.

So I did something rather stupid.  I used one of my ugly patterned fabrics, and then I flat over-lined it in very thin white sheeting (too thin for a proper toile on its own)

The toile exterior, with draft lines for the skirt drawn on the outside

I do not recommend this for toiles!  It was tricky to work with, and made fitting difficult.

Weird, patterned interior fabric

Of course, immediately after going to all the trouble to cut out every pattern piece twice, and flat line them, and sew them all together, and having sent the toile off to Carolyn, I discovered an entire box with metres and metres of white and cream toile fabric.

Still, for all the ridiculous trouble, and the unsuitability of the fabric, the toile didn’t look too bad.

I like that you can see me, and my view, reflected in the window

The mermaid shape falls a bit flat as I didn’t flat line the bottom portion of the skirt, and the fabric was simply too limp to have any body of its own.

More lovely reflection, and a lovely train

You can see the potential skirt markings curving around the hips and then dipping down to a point above the train in the above picture.

Side view

I wasn’t happy with the bodice side seam – it leaned toward the back, so I made markings to adjust it on the side, which also meant that I had to re-draw the back pieces.

Re-adjusted seams

I do love the way the bodice makes a heart shape at the front:

Pretty heart (but, boy, do I need to work on that waist!)

Based on this first toile, I extended the train, made the skirt a lot slimmer to the flare, a lot flatter in front, and a bit huggy-er in back.  The bodice fit perfectly.  Not too bad.

Friday Review: Edoras/Mt Sunday

Mt Sunday, Mt. Potts Station, near Lake Clearwater, South Island, NZ

What it is:

In case you were living under a rock for all of the first 5 years of this millennium, the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in NZ.  Consequently, the NZ landscape is littered with picturesque filming locations, and the picturesque filming locations are littered with tourists clutching film stills and comparing them to the scenery.

One of the more popular of these locations is Mt Sunday, where the Rohanian city of Edoras was filmed.

Film still of Edoras

Mt Sunday

The Good:

Mt Sunday actually looks like the film set, unlike most other locations.  It’s relatively accessible, and the scenery is stunning enough to be worth seeing, even if you aren’t a LotR fan.  Oh, and it’s a lovely little hike.

Lovely scenery and just enough of an incline to get the blood pumping

The Bad:

The roads aren’t the best.  We watched a tour group in a 4 wheel drive get stuck in a mudhole.  We had (wisely) parked much further back and decided to hike the rest of the way.  I’m afraid we were rather smug and gleeful in watching the 4 wheel drive struggle to free itself – we could see it almost the entire time as we climbed up the hill, and 3 hours later, when we had finished our very leisurely hike, it was still in the same mudhole.  I do feel rather bad for the tourists who paid for their tour, but we had offered to let them hike with us (some of the rivers that needed to be forded were pretty dangerous, so fording as a group was a good idea), and they were too lazy to walk a bit.

Heh. ah...ahem...Poor things

Like I said, there are streams to be forded, and they are cold.  Most are pretty easy, one is a bit scary.  Not recommended in bad weather or the winter.

This was a very easy, and not very cold, stream

The Fabulous:

It’s a great place to take photographs, especially if you happen to have an authentic, trademarked, Fellowship cloak to pose in.

Hobbits have bare feet

The view from the top is pretty spectacular too

Look at those mountains and hills!

The stranded vehicle is the little black dot at the bottom of the big gravel stream

That is the scary stream we had to ford

Tips and tricks:

Park at the little parking lot, and walk.  It’s not a hard hike, the scenery is beautiful, and you are less likely to get stuck.

Walking along the road track

Walk along the road to get there, coming up the right flank of the hill.  Then you can make a circle back through the cow pastures and swamps along the marked walking track, and get to see the hill from every angle.

The road up the right flank

Coming down the left flank

You are less likely to get lost coming back along the walking track, then trying to follow it from the start.  And the

The view coming down the left flank

Our fellowship, coming down the left flank

Be nice to the cows as you go through the paddocks.  Don’t get between mothers and calves, etc, etc.


Following the markers

Enjoying the last bit of view

And most of all, stop and smell the roses

Wild mountain roses

And yeah, this was really just an excuse to show off some lovely pictures from our South Island road trip!

One of those days

This was supposed to be an elaborate tutorial on making a petticoat to go over a hoopskirt, but yesterday was one of those days.

You know those days…

Mine started the day before – at 2 I got a frantic phone call from the Naiad.  She was heading away for a 4 day self sufficiency festival, and her ride had suddenly switched from the next morning to 4 that evening.  So I rushed across town, abandoning my plans to have a swim, a tidy, and do some baking, and instead took her to all the most hideous chain stores in Wellington in pursuit of all the supplies she needed.

And then at 4 the ride didn’t show up, and at 5 we had a call that it was moved back to the next morning.

So then I headed back across town, in rush hour traffic, picked up Mr D on the way, and collapsed into bed with a raging, sun/driving/chain store induced headache.

Only to remember that I had a study group that evening.

So I dragged myself out of bed, tried to find my study book (no luck), remembered that I hadn’t done the baking I was going to take as snacks, staggered out the door, drove to my study group, only to find it had been cancelled.

Back home, tried to sleep, tried a shower, tried to eat, all to no avail in the quest for pain-relief.

Alas, no charming children brought me miracle headache cures

A terrible night of tossing and turning later, I had to wake up ridiculously early to drop the car off at an appointment at the garage so that the mechanic could do a bunch of work I didn’t care about and charge us enough money for me to go visit my parents for the privilege of doing it.

And I had to wait around in town while they worked on the car, as there wasn’t quite enough time for it to make it worth my while to go home.

And I still had the raging headache.

Finally got to go home, house was a disaster, but I collapsed into bed anyway.

Woke up ridiculously late, but finally feeling better.  Hoped that my run of that day was over.

No such luck.  I had just put on clothes (at least I had put on clothes, the one mercy in that day!) when the rental agent showed up to do the inspection that I had completely forgotten we were due for.

And the house was a tip.  As much of a tip as it has ever been.  Piles of dishes in the sink, laundry everywhere (clean, but she couldn’t have known that), bed unmade, fabric for three projects cut out and scattered everywhere.  I hadn’t even cleaned the litter box yet.

A flattering impression of my house

She was very nice about it, but still….

Anyway, that is why you have a long, whinging, poor me post to read today instead of a lovely helpful tutorial.  Sorry.

Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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