I seem to have a new hobby

Julia Temisevä
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Since I last blogged, I seem to have acquired two things: a shiny ring and a new hobby in the form of dressmaking. And yes, these two things are related since I’ve decided to not only design and knit my wedding shawl, but to also make my wedding dress. Or at least half of it.

So, this is the plan: buy the “base” of the dress, alter it a bit if need be and then make another dress out of just lace to go over the base. I’ve already purchased the base and I’m pretty sure I’m going to try to convert it from a halter neck to a strapless version. A few weeks ago I went to Brussels and found the lace I wanted to use from Maison Dorée. They also had so many pretty trims that I’m sure I’ll be going back there the next time I visit my sister. Sidenote: Lace can be ridiculously expensive. In the shops in Soho it was over £100/m, while most of the lace in Brussels was over 50€/m.

But because my sewing skills aren’t as good as I’d like them to be, I’ve decided to make a practice dress or two. The last time I used my sewing machine was about two years ago when Lucy and I decided to make advent calendars. And before that? Who knows? Probably when another friend of mine asked to borrow it which has to be about eight years ago (we made costumes for a play she was in, I think). What can I say, knitting kind of took over my life and sewing’s always been something I wanted to do but didn’t have the inclination to actually practice. Until now.

The first practice dress is almost done now. Before I went to Brussels, I went on a day trip to Bath. There I found a pattern I wanted to try out (princess seams in the bodice, full skirt, zip up the back) and got some green gingham to go with it. The pattern does say it’s lined and gives all the instructions needed to do that, but I figured since I won’t actually be lining the lace dress, I’d better not try it with this one either since I need to see what it would look like without the lining.

Practice dress 1

I woke up at 6:30am today (on a Saturday, why???) and since O was asleep, I figured I’d make the most of having the living room all to myself. Before today, I’d already sewn up the bodice and the skirt pieces and pinned the skirt to the bodice. By the time O came into the living room a few hours later, it was actually looking like a dress. The skirt has been sewn to the bodice, the zipper has been put in, the hem has been turned, the neckline (a major pain the in the neck!) is done. The only thing left to do is add in the sleeves. I haven’t cut those out yet actually, because I still haven’t decided what kinds of sleeves I want to try out. Honestly, if I didn’t have to practice making the sleeves, I’d leave this as a sleeveless summer dress.

It still needs a few tweaks in the bodice, but I think it fits pretty well considering it’s the first actual piece of clothing I’ve made in 17 years (made a few items of clothing back in school when I was 13 years old). No, wait, second. I made an A-line skirt back in January (again, practising). But this is the first dress I’ve ever made. Yay!