Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Birthday Gala Dress - Constructing the Dress

There were two things that were invaluable to me in getting the dress shell constructed.

1.  Lulu - even without legs and just sitting on a chair, she was invaluable to seeing how to put the top of the dress together because I couldn't work out the order on myself. 

2.  My silk organza pressing cloth - even with the sequins on the lace, I was able to use quite a bit of steam because of my silk organza pressing cloth.

First some stats:

My TNT dress pattern.  I used the pattern pieces from this dress but use the v-neckline in the back of the dress from V8666.

4 yards of 4 ply navy silk crepe
2 yards of poly lace with clear sequins

14" invisible navy zipper
1 hook and eye
5 yards of navy piping
3 yards of navy rayon bemberg lining

Construction Info:
After spreading the fabric out, I realized that I was describing my TNT dress just lengthened.  So I choose the empire waist version with the banded middle to use to make the dress.

After cutting out the front and back pieces from both the lace and the silk crepe, I hand basted the lace to the silk crepe.

A back view of the top basted on Lulu...

Then I basted the piping around the neckline.

The band was cut from the silk crepe and stitched together.  However, the lace was cut as one long piece, then hand basted to the band.  The piping was then machine basted to both sides of the band.

I pinned the band to the top and carefully stitched the two pieces together.  Then the seam was pressed to the center of the band and I stitched the piping flat by stitching in the ditch.

This was the most complicated and time consuming portion of making the dress.  To make sure that everything worked...I took my time, measured twice and sewed slowly.  I really wanted this to look as good as I could possibly make it. 

The skirt was very easy compared to the top of the dress...just had to make sure it was long enough!  After it was sewn to the top of the dress, the piping on the bottom of the band was stitched down using the same application as I used for the top of the band.

Next was the invisible insertion and let me tell you I was holding my breathe because even though I have managed to get the invisible zipper in on a band without making a horrible mistake lately, I really didn't want this one to end badly.  So I made sure to mark the zipper per Summerset's instructions and basted it in.  It's not perfect, the bottom piping is off just a smidge but it works and I'm going with it as is...

The lining and sleeves were next and I will discuss them in my next post! 

...as always, more later!


  1. The fabric on the bodice is stunning! This is going to be fantastic. Can't wait to see your next steps.

  2. really beautiful! love the subtle effect of the piping :)

  3. Beautiful dress. The fabric combination is stunning.

  4. This is looking beautiful. The piping accents it even more. Great detail choice.

  5. It's lovely. I am looking forward to seeing you in it.
    I've found that hand basting the 'easy' invisible zipper as well as marking it are the best ways to get it in without too much angst. Good job.

  6. So far, so good. I'm loving the lace fabric.

  7. Love it so far...cannot wait to see the rest and then pics of you all dolled up wearing it. I know you're going to look stunning..

  8. I like your sparkly top and simple skirt. You were this way and that about what to do concerning this dress, and look, it is coming along smashingly! :)

  9. Thanks for the details, it looks like a stunner! I also grit my teeth and cross my fingers when it comes to invisible zippers and matching band seamlines! You did an awesome job!

  10. That bodice is so gorgeous!

  11. This is really beautiful and I bet it is fun to wear as well.

  12. oh so gorgeous! Did not even notice the smidge difference on the zip insertion. Looks perfect!

  13. Your dress is coming along beautifully... elegantly simple... love it.

  14. I think you dress will be classic, elegant and perfect for the occasion.

  15. This is going to be absolutely gorgeous!

  16. Your dress is progressing beautifully - it's going to be lovely. I like the idea of measuring twice and sewing slowly - I must remember that!

  17. This is gonna be a gorgeous, stylish dress. Wonderful work! Can't wait to see you wearing it.

  18. Carolyn - the dress is absolutely stunning!!
    Marciae - SG

  19. Oh, it is so gorgeous! Very nicely done on your zip. The piping is elegant and really ties the bodice and skirt portions together.

  20. It's beautiful! You are so going to upstage the birthday girl.

  21. Looking really,really good. Can't wait to see it on you!!!

  22. Beautiful! You are making a truly elegant dress! Thanks for walking us through your construction techniques which are very helpful to us who are just learning!

  23. This is coming so beautifully, I can't wait to see the final project. It's going to be so gorgeous

  24. That is a completely gorgeous combination: the fabric, the lace, the piped edges. Beautiful construction too!


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