Sunday, September 14, 2014

The end is in sight

You may ask ... what on earth is taking The Sewing Lawyer so long to finish her volcano and sari-inspired version of Vogue 1353?

A family visit to Alberta intervened.  Snow was experienced.  {{{{{Shudder}}}}}  Too soon!

But this summery dress confection must continue apace, because it is to be worn at a wedding in October, in the wilds of Nevada.  Well, Las Vegas.  I hope it will be quite warm enough there in October for this dress (reassure me in the comments).  I'll bring a wrap.  Just in case.

Anyhow, progress.  As you already know, the bodice was pretty much done before we left.  I underlined the very flimsy sari fabric with silk organza which stabilized all those pleats but did not threaten to make the bodice too stiff-looking.  At right, admire again how nicely the pleats gathered the curve of the sari border into the neckline. After this, I finished the neck and arm opening edges with the lining (firm poly-cotton fabric).  So far so good.

I cut out the skirt out before I left, because I was on a roll and I find having to make decisions immediately upon resuming a project after a hiatus is a recipe for disaster. So I decided on the finished length for the skirt by trying on the bodice/lining combo, and scientifically dangling a tape measure from the waist seam to where I wanted the skirt to end (knee length, longer than the pattern).  Since I am using a border print, I wouldn't have the luxury of cutting it too long and turning it up to the right length.

I also decided to cut a shorter second layer of the skirt as an overlay, since (a) my fabric is very sheer and flimsy, so a second layer would beef it up and (b) without doubling up the border visually, there would be too much boring beige in the skirt.  The length of the over layer was dictated by the fact that I had to cut it along the same border of the original sari as the under skirt.  This was dictated in turn by the fact that the printing of the opposite border was really bad - it is printed very off grain.  VERY luckily, the length of the sari was *just* enough to permit me to cut an over skirt.

Finally, before I left I marked the pleat lines on the under skirt and neatly folded all my pieces on my cutting board to await my return.

On my return from our trip, and after the post-travel jaggedness wore off, I was pleased today to be able to execute decisions that had already been  made by a previous version of The Sewing Lawyer.  However I was pretty irritated at her lack of precision in cutting.

(Seriously, this fabric is so soft and shifty that precision is impossible.  Luckily, it is so soft and shifty that precision also doesn't matter.)

I sewed the side seams in the under skirt using French seams (first pass a narrow 3 thread serger seam, a technique I'm loving), laid the shorter overskirt on top, and basted the pleats through all layers.  Then I threw caution to the winds and attached the skirt to the bodice.

It actually worked, and it's the right length! Clearly it will need a belt (and a zipper, my next challenge).  But it'll be fine if nobody looks too close at it.

Luckily, since I'm just attending somebody else's wedding, this is practically guaranteed.

Here's another gratuitous Icelandic eruption photo.  My dress pales in comparison.


  1. Beautiful dress and I am almost certain the temps will work for you to wear this. Really gorgeous fabric!!!

  2. Fear not. Las Vegas climatology is on your side.

    High desert weather typically includes low humidity and night-time cooling. I don't know whether the wedding is in the day or night, indoors or out, early or late Oct. But, with a shawl, the dress should adapt to anything within a standard deviation or two of average.

  3. If it's in the daytime, temps will be very warm. I think the weather will be fine.

    Now, the dress. Oh, my goodness! Truly, it's gorgeous. I love your blog, as you create some stunning garments, but this just speaks to me. The creative use of the fabric is wonderful, as well as the perfect pattern/fabric combination. Stunning dress! Be prepared for tons of compliments! Have a great time at the wedding, too.

  4. Dress is gorgeous and it actually gives the volcano a run for it's money I think. The double border looks really great.

  5. Your dress is beautiful! Gorgeous colors. Gorgeous.

  6. Love this, especially as I have 3 saris I need to turn into dresses, but I really enjoy the puzzling part so that you get maximum usage out of all the borders and panels and over 5 yards of fabric!

  7. What an exciting fabric! This is a wonderful dress.

  8. Oh wow. The colors are simply divine! What a beautiful dress this will be!

  9. Stunning. I love the way you've placed the colors on the dress. I agree, a belt will help it not seem so choppy. Will you use self same fabric or will you make one in contrast? I keep seeing a wide brown or black belt for some reason. An odd choice, but it might pull bodice and skirt together perfectly.

  10. It's a beauty. I am curious to see what the belt will look like.

  11. How funny, I'm heading to a wedding in Las Vegas in October myself. I agree, you'll be fine - Las Vegas is beastly hot in summer and pretty warm all the rest of the year! Bring a wrap, though - they like to over-air-condition at all times. The dress is looking lovely.

  12. The belt ho la la !! What will you be choosing ?? You not the type to wear a wide gold belt ;-) I am looking forward seeing the final outfit.

  13. I really like that pattern, I've made it a couple of times. Your fabric is stunning. I really like how you've got the colour around the neckline that is beautiful.

  14. Hello. What a super blog. I have read it all whilst a them with a head cold, and am now looking forward to getting back to my machine!
    This dress is another great success and look forward to seeing it complete with belt, shoes, bag etc.
    I have a question for you regarding the alteration you do to raise the armseye. Once raised, do you make any amendment to the sleeve/sleeve head? I ask because I have a very similar figure, albeit 2 sizes larger, and am often unsatisfied with restricted movement and much prefer a closer fit in that area.
    Thank you.

  15. I live in Las Vegas and it will be in the low 90s all week and dry. October can be a strange month with it being in the 80s, 90s and sometimes it goes up to the low 100s for a day or two. Definitely bring a sweater or wrap as it cools down significantly at night. Right now it is in the mid-60s at night.