The longer I sew, the more I really am starting to appreciate taking more time on certain garments. More time as in, adding special touches no one is going to notice but me. For example, bias bound seams, hand sewing finishes, linings, etc. Taking the time to do the “unnecessary things.” When I first started sewing clothes, I was so excited I sewed one after the other in the fastest way possible, skipping the extra touches. Now that I have become much better at sewing, I am finding I want to take the time to add those touches. Enter Craftsy. Just take all my money Craftsy, you know you want to. I love learning and Craftsy has a vast amount of online classes. I have a huge wish list and every-time there is a sale, I snag one up. Recently I have been wanting to make a really nice church dress. A few couture sewing classes were on my wish list. I ended up buying Couture Dressmaking Techniques and The Essential Guide to Sewing With Lace both by Alison Smith. She is a great instructor and I would highly recommend both of those classes.
I went through both classes, picked out some fabric, and bought a pattern. One thing I love about sewing is I can come up with something totally unique to me. I ended up deciding to mash up a McCall’s pattern and a Vogue pattern. The McCall’s pattern was for a sweet heart bodice with a lace overlay, and a gathered bottom. The Vogue was a straight fitted dress. I used the top of the McCall’s and the bottom of the Vogue. It took some messing around with the pattern and moving some darts to get the bodice to match up with the skirt, but it ended up working out! I opted to skip the directions in the pattern and assembled it on my own using some techniques I learned in the Craftsy class.
In the class I learned how to create a separate lace overlay so there would not be a princess seam running all the way up. Basically it takes away most of the seams in the lace. I assembled the bodice and then cut out one big piece for the lace. The bodice consists of four pieces, I cut out one lace piece. The class showed me how to shape the lace so it doesn’t just hang, but doesn’t have a bunch of seams. The only seam it has is basically a dart coming from the waist. After sewing the lace, I secured it by stitching in the ditch on the princess seams of the bodice.
As far as Couture goes, I say sort of, because that is how it ended up. I did about half couture and half regular sewing methods. For the neckline, I sewed the lining and the bodice right sides together. I then clipped the curve and understitched the lining and the seam allowance. For the armholes, however, I followed Alison’s method and hand sewed them to create a finish that guarantee’s the lining won’t pop out. I also opted to hand stitch the hem to give it more of a blind hem look.
I followed the method Alison described for installing an invisible zipper with lace, but I am a little disappointed on how it turned out. The lace doesn’t quite cover the zipper like it should, leaving it slightly exposed. I will probably try a different method next time to instal a zipper into a lace bodice. I plan on practicing the method Alison showed us a little more though as well.
I am pretty excited about how it turned out. I have learned from it and will continue practicing these techniques! It is so fun to be able to create a quality, custom dress!!
Do you take the time to sew with couture techniques?! What is your favorite thing to sew that is couture?