Another one of my three emergency November brides that was never booked ahead bought her dress at David’s for $99. I was given 2 weeks to make some magic happen.
The dress needed to be “temple ready” meaning long sleeves and the back completely covered. As you have seen in the past, I have done this sort of conversion with laces but working with smooth satin, it will be a challenge.
First, a sleeve pattern is used and marked on the muslin. I added height to the sleeve cap as you can see the straps do not actually end at her shoulder. The muslin will have small puckers and be hand basted to the strap.
Once it was basted, I could see that the grainlines did not fall parallel with the floor, so I slashed the sleeve to allow the fabric to drop to the right level and then added a patch of fusible interfacing. Time was of the essence!
The exact gap that was needed and the fusible interfacing used as the patch.
Now, I had the basic shape and just needed to cut a second one.
Then a second sleeve was cut from an old muslin, not perfect but it will do as a sample.
The muslin sleeves were used as the pattern to cut the satin fabric….oh, I forgot to mention the extra fabric. The bride ordered “white” satin from David’s and when it arrived, it was ivory. They could not get anything whiter so a trip to JoAnn’s produced the LAST 1.5 yards of white satin in the store!
The new satin was 95% poly and 5 % spandex and although the bride was thrilled with the stretch the sleeves and back panel would have, it does add some puckers in some areas. Lesson learned…don’t expect to find white satin in November at JoAnn’s!
The back panel was placed in the vacant back and measured up 9 inches to the drawn finished neckline. There will be a separating zipper used for this separate piece. I know some of you will think I should have been able to rip open the existing top edge of the bodice and make all this in one piece…yes, maybe if I had a load of time and an unlimited budget but this will have to work. Notice the neck darts to help contour the neckline into the body.
The trial panel is a bit off center so let’s re-center it later.
Hand baste everything muslin and do the try-on…the bride likes everything but says she would not mind some small gathers at the sleeve cap…okey dokey!
Still have to move the zipper over to the right a bit:
Let’s guess at how much to enlarge the sleeve cap for gathers…1/2 inch to 1 inch? Machine gather the satin cap and pin in place:
Move the zipper over 1/2 inch to center and use as a pattern to cut 2 double layer satin panels. I chose double layers so I could have a nice clean folded edge for each zipper side insertion. Double layers were also needed to conceal the garment beneath. Choose one of two zippers, both separating but with different thickness of teeth and tips.
Right side panel with zipper pinned and then top stitched. Inside view shows the zipper tape.
Lapped Left side is pinned first and tested. Then it is sewn from the wrong side for perfect placement. The folded edge will just remain on the wrong side.
To attach the sleeves without any stitching showing on the right side, I stitch the gathered cap right along the very edge of the armhole on the wrong side…holding my breath.
The finished panel is in place and pinned. The panel will be stitched exactly like the sleeves and then trimmed and all the excess removed.
All the sleeve edges are pinked and the back panel is serged to within one inch for the curved neckline seam and then hand stitched to the lining.
From the front, things are looking like she wants and her undergarment is covered.
The back with all the hand basting is done and the 3-point bustle just pinned:
I did not get any final, final photos taken with the rush of the date approaching so please imagine way less puckers and more smiles.
Some days I feel like the fairy godmother in Cinderella…singing Bibbidi–Bobbidi–Boo and hoping for the best!
I see men in the neighborhood hanging their Christmas lights already…how did this year go so fast? Going through my files, I see I have passed the 80+ mark for gowns finished but still have more to go before New Year’s Eve…the final bride. As snow flurries return to the US, I wish you toasty times sewing indoors and finishing up those Christmas gifts for family!