Monday, May 12, 2014

My wedding gown

Here are the preliminary sketches for my wedding gown.

I drew the design based on my actual body type and the shape of my curves.
I was inspired by my own personal interest in the 1930s and 1940s.

I find that the styles of these eras best fit my body and look very nice on me.

First, I sketched the basic shape of the dress I want.
I drew the front and added all the lovely details I want.
Then I drew the back. I added and removed details, then phoned my Fiance and asked him what he thought would look nice. I sent him pictures and got him involved in the process. I listened to his advice. He loved the ideas I had. I decided on a bias-cut design and told him about the fluid draping quality of such gowns. He was very happy about that concept. He said that the groomsmen would need a defibrillator after seeing me in the finished product. He helped me decide on the fabrics to use. After our decisions, I wrote little notes all over my sketches to lead me in the right direction. See, a little help from His imagination doesn't hurt one bit.

And so, here are my sketches:

Here you see the front and back of the design:

Detail of the back:

Detail of the front:

The back in detail:

The front in detail:

I hope that you are able to see the satin flat piping around the insets and under the bust.

My Fiance asked me if I was going to sew the sleeves out of the same fabric as the veil- the man is a genius.
As you can see on my illustration, I am planning to do exactly that.

Here is a list of details:

Bias-cut crepe back satin
Tulle underlayer grazing over decollete at neckline

Waistline and skirt:

Bias-cut crepe back satin

satin flat piping

Peplum at front:

Vienna lace inset with satin flat piping

Skirt back:

Bias-cut crepe back satin


Bias-cut crepe back satin

Bodice back:

Bias-cut crepe back satin

Vienna lace


Tulle under sleeve

Vienna lace sleeve overlay

Of course, I am planning to do a lot of.... planning as well as a lot of hand-sewing.

As I did with my prom dress senior year of high school, I shall not do with this dress.

Lessons learned:

~Do not cut some pieces on grain and others on bias.

~Do not skimp fabric and end up warping seams. Seams will ripple and look horrible. (it only worked because it looked like a chiton)

~Do not underestimate your size on a pattern and end up having to add triangles of fabric to the bodice side seams around the zipper.

~Don't use a black zipper on a lavender coloured dress.

~Sew the seams securely, not using invisible thread.

~Buy the correct materials before you even think about starting.

I went in reverse of normal processes. First, you find inspiration and then you put together your design, no?

It is not this way for me, whatsoever.

I pull things from my mind, dash them down on paper, and then find construction details that I can utilize to make my process easier.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pre-Engagement Wedding Plans
1) Favours
2) Dress Design
3) Ring
4) Catering
5) Bridesmaids
6) Reception
7) Groomsmen
8) Theme
9) Colours

{- Engagement Hints -}

1) Time Of Month:

2) Location:
Mountain View

John and I became engaged on june 16th 2014. His beautiful sister Kelli and brother in-law scott planned a mountaintop "ambush" for us, completely unbeknownst to me. 
surprise! check out the fun with this sweet video
Pre-Engagement Wedding Plans

My Sweetheart and I have decided on marriage. In fact, we both expressed our wishes to become married within a year of beginning a relationship together. Is this crazy? Perhaps. However, we have decided to wait two years before officially tying the knot.
This provides us time to plan AND graduate from college.
I graduate in 2016, so I have plenty of time to make this work.

We have planned our engagement for sometime this year.

This is where the process becomes complicated: I'm not allowed to know when or where this is going to happen.

I have been allowed one hint per month.

The latest hints will be posted here.

The excitement is almost unbearable!

I have been encouraged to plan our wedding years in advance so that we will have a head start and save money as we go along.

I will post on the procedure of my planning here as time goes on.

Wish us luck and in the meantime, enjoy this idea from my planning budget:

Pretty Simple Vases
Made from Wine bottles
I work in an Italian restaurant, where we pour plenty of vino each day and night. Of course, the bottles get thrown away after use. I make sure they don't go to waste by rinsing them out and bringing them home. My boss is totally ok with this. He'd rather have someone use the bottles than throw them away.

I have collected about 40 wine bottles to this date.
I've decided to leave the labels on. It adds charm and distinction to the decor.

By the way, this cost me NOTHING. $0.00!!!

With over 15 different wines to choose from and pretty labels to boot, I'm a happy wedding planner.

We have decided to cut the tops of the bottles off, leaving a simple, sleek-lined glass cylinder in which to arrange flowers.

What to do with the tops? Well, we will save them and turn them into funnels or candle holders. These will be our wedding favours. We figured that they would be more useful than little rinky dink plastic favours that cost a fortune.

The only investment for these favours is a little bit of elbow grease.


The best way that I have found to do this is to use a bottle cutter with a scoring blade.
Place the bottle in the glass cutter. Slowly turn the bottle with a bit of pressure by hand. Do not make more than one line or overlapping lines.

Run hot boiling water over the bottle score line in a sink, turning the bottle slowly. Run the cold tap over the bottle after a few seconds. Return to the boiling water and repeat the process of shocking the glass until the top of the bottle falls off.

This should happen within a minute for most wine bottles.
Don't use a butane torch or a flame. I have had glass explode in my face with this. Be extremely careful when working with glass.
You don't want to hurt yourself and have injuries in your wedding photos!
Better safe than sorry!

After the bottle separates, sand down the line around the edges with fine grit sandpaper. This will give you a nice, smooth edge without jagged edges.

Voila! Lovely vases that cost nothing at all! Make friends with a restaurant employee, bartender, or fine diner. They'll be sure to save the pretty bottles for you and you'll be able to check one more item off your planning list.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Past, Present, and Future

The truth is, I have had multiple career paths already and I'm only 20.

First, I decided to be a knitting, sewing, and crochet teacher at a really neat shop in Alpharetta. Business was slow and I was not paying my bills on time.

Then, at the same time, I decided to become a professional dancer with a dance company/Winterguard in Atlanta. It cost me way more money than I expected and I never earned a penny.

After I had to quit dance because of repetitive chronic re-injury and severe illness, I was still teaching lessons.

Then I produced tutorial videos for

All at the same time, I was moving to Dahlonega, GA.

I then got a job in a restaurant on the square.

After 6 months, I had to quit doing videos and teaching lessons.
I had been driving to the shop in Alpharetta 2 hours round trip early in the morning and racing back to Dahlonega to get to work by 12pm.

I have since focused on my Athletic training degree, working full time 5 days a week at the restaurant, and doing freelance commissions in knitting.

I am thinking about getting a second job and working 7 days/week.

I have a boyfriend, we are getting engaged soon, and we have our minds set on marriage.

He's a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserves and I will most likely work as a civilian AT on base after I get my certification/license/registration.

He has to go out of state a lot anywhere from 3 to 24 weeks at a time and it's difficult to deal with, I'll admit.

If you are young and overwhelmed, don't worry. I've almost lost my opportunities several times and I've had to burn bridges. It happens.

Know that you can become stronger because of difficult experiences.
Sewing Vintage
~on a tight budget~

How can it be possible to sew vintage style clothes on a budget? You may be thinking that I have lost my mind. However, if sewing is not your first rodeo, it is completely possible to make your dreams practical and attainable.

What do I mean by "on a tight budget"? Well, I make minimum wage working full time, and pay my own bills. There is hardly pocket lint left over for buying groceries.

Note: I am a sewing expert. I have been sewing since the age of 3 and made my first dress at age 7. Therefore, I have 17 years of valuable experience to offer. In addition, I have taught professional level garment construction for 3 years. I design all my own patterns and enjoy wearing my well-fitting clothes.

First, plan out what you want to wear. This depends on your personal style.

Don't get caught up in the body type battle that you have probably been tangled with in the past. There are styles that will work for everyone, and the stick thin figure on the front of that pattern is not a real woman, it is just a drawing. In all honesty, pattern croquis were drawn to make a pattern seem attractive yet inside the paper, the printed pattern included the size for the average woman: 5'4", 140 lbs. Guess what? That's me. I'm curvy and I love it.

My method for sewing spot-on, true-to-form vintage clothing which is not distinguishable from age-old vintage pieces that can cost you upwards of $300:

1) Get to know your body. Write down your measurements once a week for a month and then average those numbers. If you don't use your own measurements, your clothes won't fit. It's common sense. By the way, don't step on the scale because your weight is irrelevant to your sewing process. All you need is a measuring tape and a notebook. :)

2) Find fabric that you like.
I despise the feeling of taffeta, so I don't sew with it. I like fabrics that are heavy enough to drape but light enough to flow over my curves and swirl around on the dance floor. My favourites are chiffon, broadcloth, challis, and voile.

I usually find my fabrics in the thrift shops around my town. I have been able to find $1 per yard fabrics of excellent quality. Steer clear of people trying to sell old draperies for $25 unless you have a serious die-hard crush on the print and the hand of the fabric.

Lesson Learned: Don't shy away from heavy suiting fabrics or thin lining fabrics. You will find a use for them in business skirts, slacks, and blazers as well as my favourite: coat dresses.

Know what a grainline is, how to find it, and which way to cut your pieces based on the way you want the design to fit. If you want fluid drape, cut on the bias. If you want a conforming structured fit, cut on the grainline.

3) Don't be afraid to use curtains, bedsheets, and dust ruffles to sew with.

This is how I started out. My prom dress was made from a curtain and cost me only $5- for the purchased ribbon. 
You probably have a few old sheets that you could stand to part with. Use them for muslins and don't you dare go out and buy new fabric to use for a muslin. You'll be selling yourself short.

4) Get a sewing book and get familiar with the techniques therein.
I have been able to find 1960's sewing books at thrift shops.
My personal sewing book is Edith Bishop's "The Bishop Method of Sewing" from the 1950's. It will save you the trouble of sewing your skirt onto the bodice upside down.

5) Get thyself the correct tools.

Some shops have sewing boxes with all the necessary doodads to sew with. Honestly, here's what you need:

-DOODADS TO USE AS PATTERN WEIGHTS (kids wooden blocks, toy cars, etc.)

Notice I didn't include an invisible zipper foot, point turner, buttonhole maker, pattern weights etc. etc.

The above list is all that I use when I sew.

6) Practice new techniques with one-offs.
One-offs, in my mind, are scraps of fabric that you can't use for anything else. You can cut a chunk of fabric in 1/2 and practice inserting a zipper until you get it right.

This is also useful for darts and testing out new tension and stitch length combinations on your machine with different kinds of fabric.

This is perhaps the most important skill for you to learn.
You will never really need a purchased pattern again if you know how to make your own.

Learn what a bodice looks like and get what is called a sloper. You can find one that works for your measurements and use it for every project that you sew.
Transfer your patterns onto cardstock so that you can use them over and over again.
Find books at your library about drafting patterns and red them carefully, especially the sections about seam allowance and grading.

Then, practice making patterns on paper, cutting them out, and sewing practice garments. Assess where you need to improve and make adjustments to your patterns. It's all cut and paste.

8) Sketch designs that you want to wear. Figure out what your flat pattern will look like and draft out the bodice, waist, and hip or skirt.

9) Fabric needs
Decide what fabric type and weight would work best for your particular design.

Decide how much ease you want and adjust the amount of fabric that you will need accordingly.

Generally, a dress with a slimline skirt takes 2.5 yards of fabric whereas a full skirted dress capable of a petticoat requires 3.5 to 4 yards.

10) Adjust your machine stitches to suit the fabric. Thin fabrics require small, sharp needles, less tension, and shorter stitches. Thick fabrics require thicker needles, more tension, and longer stitches.
Use common sense and make sure to pull bobbin thread out of the way so it doesn't get caught when stitching.

11) Press all your pieces with a dependable steam iron as you sew. This will give you a better fit and more professional finished product.
I use an ironing board from Walmart that folds up and hangs in my closet. My Mother-In-Law has a fancy no-holds-barred ironing board complete with sleeve board and pressing ham. I loved it when I got a chance to use it, but the amount of space it takes up is appalling.

So now, think about where you want to start. Learning how to sew collars is a good beginning point.

You can definitely purchase vintage patterns anywhere you like. Be forewarned that they may be expensive. However, if a pattern is not in your size but you absolutely love it, buy it and draft yourself a copy that is just your size and fit.

I have learned that I can take a feature from one pattern that I like and paste that idea onto my own pattern. My finished flat pattern ends up looking professional, but in the process of tracing, cutting, and taping, it looks like a Frankenstein creation. Don't be afraid to experiment with new shapes on different patterns. Just trace and tape pieces together to figure out how they'll work.

Remember that giving yourself more fabric to work with is easier than trying to add fabric to a too-small area. Always overestimate seam allowance when drafting your own patterns and pare down from there.