Monday, February 27, 2006

Finishing touches

Today I finished my wedding dress. Yipee!!! After an entire afternoon spent handsewing lace onto the skirt, I still can't believe it's done. I finished sewing all the lace motifs onto the skirt, I sewed the snaps onto the bra carriers in the shoulders, and I appliqued a label into the bodice. All that remains is to press the skirt and to try it on with my necklace that came today in the mail.

The finishing touch to the dress, and the last stitches I sewed on it was a special applique that I put into the bodice. Embroidered in blue and surrounded by a border, it had my name, Justin's name, and the date of our wedding. The label was a special gift from Carolyn at Helen Enox. She helped us so much as we picked her brain with lots of questions about bridal sewing, and she was so gracious in offering to embroider this label for me. I was pretty excited about it, because it was just the perfect finishing touch, and will be something I will always remember.


Ellie's "grown-up" dress

I finished Ellen's dress last week. No problems with sewing it, but I think I want to take in the shoulder area since it's too big there. I should have done a better job fitting it to her before sewing. It won't be hard to fix it, but I sure don't like having to do things twice. Really, I shouldn't have been in such a hurry the first time around!

Ellen is very happy with her "grown-up" dress. I would have preferred a poofy, fru-fru little girl's dress, but my 10 year old Ellie is ready to grow up. When we picked out the pattern together, she vetoed anything with gathers or puffs. I barely got by with adding the tulip sleeves since the pattern called for no sleeves. Overall, I'm happy with the dress and it does look nice on Ellen.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The lace border

I really shouldn't even post these pictures, because I want there to be some element of suprise on the wedding, but I can't stand to not show everyone. The lace added to the skirt of the dress changes it SO much! Shown below is the border that goes around the entire hem of the organza overskirt. I applied this by machine with a zig-zag stich, and that worked fairly well. It's not perhaps as flat looking as it would have looked if I'd sewn it all by hand, but it was a LOT faster, and I think it looks pretty good.

All the pieces above the boder (the ones that aren't attached to the boder) were leftover from the original border. Once I cut the motifs apart, there was just enough to go all the way around the skirt once, making the boder deeper and more intricate. That was pretty amazing because we didn't plan it that way at all! We just happened to have that much extra. I guess Mom's habit of always buying too much fabric comes in really handy sometimes!

It took me forever to decide how to place the extra motifs around the border--I pinned and re-pinned and tried all different ways, but I finally decided to arrange them with equal weight all around the skirt (rather then putting more in the back or on the seams for instance).

I am now in the process of of hand-sewing all the extra motifs from the bodice lace to the skirt. I'm very pleased with how that looks--it's transforming the dress into a work of artistic design, in my opinion. I am so happy with how it is going to look...but you will have to wait till the wedding to see it!

When we bought the fabric, I was hesitant about using organza for the sheer overlay because all the rtw dresses that I liked used some sort of extra strong tulle type material that had a little stretch to it. Unfortunately we couldn't find any of that sort of material, and didn't have time to special order it, so I made the decision to go with organza. It was still sheer, but it didn't have that same type of texture as the tulle overlays, and I was worried about it looking right with lace on it. But needless to say, the organza seems to be working really well. It does have a slightly different look though--a little more body and shine vs. the drapey soft look of the tulle base. I wonder why none of the rtw dresses never use organza for their lace base? All the wedding dresses I've seen with sheer lace overlays have a base of this super-tulle material. By the way, if anyone knows where to buy this tulle that I'm talking about, I'd love a source. I'm sure it's available somewhere, but I don't have any idea where!


Pictures from the Notion Shower

Mom wrote about the sewing shower that was held for me last Thursday, and now I'm posting a few pictures.
The first is the food table (always very important at such gatherings!). We had chips, cookies, veggies,
and tortilla pinwheels. I thought it looked quite elegant!

The whole shower was such a special time for me. I felt very, very loved, and I am very thankful for the good friends and neighbors we have here.

Mom did a really neat devotional using some of the different notions as a visual to impart wisdom and counsel for my marriage. She talked about how I need to remember to use a seam ripper to go back and take out angry words or unkind actions. I need to treat my marriage like the delicate piece of lace I'm using for my dress. I shouldn't use my "scissors" (tongue) to slash into it and damage it, but take care and consideration with it like I do with an expensive piece of lace. She talked about how a thimble is used to protect one's finger in quilting, and how I need to protect my husband once I am married. I need to protect his reputation and his good name, taking care to build him up with my words. Finally, a tape measure is used as a standard in sewing--it is important to always use a ruler for accuracy in sewing, and in the same way, I need to always remember to use the Bible as the standard for my marriage. I should always look to it first for the wisdom to build a strong marriage. Mom's counsel was really special to me, and it meant a lot that she shared all of that like she did. I was really proud of her, and I will remember her wisdom whenever I use those notions!

I am so thrilled to have my future sewing room stocked with all the little necessary notions--pins, needles, seam rippers, thread, etc. I really look forward to setting up sewing in my future home. It's one of my dreams to have some sort of home business doing custom sewing and alterations someday.

This is my friend and bridesmaid, Tonya. She and her mom and sisters hosted the shower and made it all possible. They are such special friends.

I thought the basket to put all the little notions into was the perfect finishing touch! I love storage containers--baskets, boxes, crates, and bags!

that's all for now!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sewing Notions

On Thursday past, 22 ladies and girls gathered at our house to honor Jessica with a "Help Fill Jessica's Sewing Basket" shower. The party was hosted by some dear friends, and everyone had a wonderful time. Jessica received so many sewing notions, and her sewing room in her new home will now be well-stocked.
Here are some of the notions she received:
  • seam ripper
  • magnetic pin cushion
  • pins and needles
  • bodkin
  • safety pins
  • hemming guide
  • Pfaff edge stitching foot for her sewing machine
  • tracing wheel
  • marking chalk
  • thread and thread holder
  • bobbins and bobbin saver
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • Schmetz machine needles
  • lace and trims
  • buttons
  • pincushion
  • tape measures
  • quilter's square
  • quilt journal
Don't you think a sewing shower is a great idea for someone who loves to sew?!
I know that both Jessica and I feel very blessed to have
such wonderful friends who do so much for us.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

We always have a little Valentine's Day party with my family. Pictured below are 4 of my siblings, my dad, and my fiance, Justin. We had heart shaped sugar cookies, lots of candy, and lots of sweet homemade valentines. I was glad Justin and I got to spend the evening at home with my family. It's my last Valentines Day at's sort of a bittersweet feeling realizing that I'm spending some of my last days with them as a big sister and daughter.

31 days till the wedding!!!

Almost done!

I have been making slow but sure progress on my wedding dress--I'm still hoping to have it done by my goal of Feburary 18th, but if I don't make it, I'll be ok with that too. It's gone so well that I really haven't put nearly as much work or stress into it as I thought I would. I have been really, really busy with the house stuff too, so that has kept me from working on the dress a lot of days.

The hem on the satin and lining is finally completed. We used a completely new (to me) technique--after the zipper was put in (by my wonderful mother!) we left a large area open in the center back lining seam. I pulled the raw edges of lining and satin hems though this hole and sewed the hem by stiching the lining and satin right sides together. Then I sewed the horsehair braid to the satin side of the hem's seam allowance. When it was all pushed back through the hole in the lining, walah! we had a completely finished hem at the perfect length....I wish! Unfortunately it was a bit too long so I had to take out the horsehair braid I'd already sewn in and redo the front hem, raising it about 3/4 inch and tapering that into the sides of the train. Mom said that it served me right... I should have basted then tried it on first before sewing it. She always says that...and I hate basting!
  • To do still:
  • Re-serge hem on organza to proper length.
  • Apply lace border to hem of organza --I'm thinking about doing this by machine because the lace is fairly sturdy and it'll take forever to do by hand.
  • Cut lace motifs apart and sew them scattered around the skirt area.
  • Sew snaps on the ribbon bra carriers in the shoulder area.
  • Final pressing.

This is a picture of the armhole seam binding. I've never done this technique before--normally I just serge the armhole seam, but a wedding dress deserves better. Because of all the layers in the bodice, it works best to do a bias binding. I made it from my lining fabric, cut an 18 by 2 inch strip on the bias, folded it lengthwise and pressed. I applied it by hand, first to the bodice side and then to the sleeve side of the armhole. I trimmed and clipped my seam because it was pretty bulky. After that was done, I turned the bias-bound seam toward the bodice so that it wouldn't show through the sheer sleeve. I tacked it down at both the underarm and shoulder seams to hold it in place. I didn't tack it down all the way around because it seemed like it didn't want to lay flat on the sides and I didn't want there to be any pulling or stress in that area.

This is the finished sleeve in the dress. The sleeve is the only thing about this dress that didn't turn out exactly like I'd imagined. I'm not even sure how I could have created the exact look I wanted, because I didn't have a pattern or even a picture. Regardless, this sleeve is still pretty and I'm happy with it.

Here you can see the lace trim I applied around the entire neckline. It blends in perfectly, and softens the neckline, making it look more feminine and pretty!

I really love the curve of the back neckline. I like the back of the dress almost better than the front. I am definitely planning on doing my hair up.

The buttons are all sewn on now....there are 40 total!

That's all for now,

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Crocheted Edged Baby Blankets

I should have started counting years ago when I first started making these baby blankets. It had to have been at least 18 years ago when I crocheted around that first square of flannel, and it has to be at least 100 blankets that I have made since. I know that I finished 15 of them during the 9 months I was pregnant with Emily preceding her birth in April 2006.

Hmm...I should have kept a log. Every year I tell myself that I am going to keep a sewing journal to record all my sewing projects. The closest I have gotten to that goal was the two years I wrote everything down on a calendar, complete with fabric swatches. Last year I started a list so that I could transfer the information to a scrapbook. The listed ended three months later, but the projects continued. Needless to say, the scrapbook was never made. This blog will have to suffice for now.

Today I finished crocheting around the last of the 2 blankets that a friend requested me to make. You've heard of double weddings, but this friend of mine is going to a double baby shower. Both ladies are having boys, and these blankets will be for their babies. I hope they will enjoy the blankets.


The Cherry on Top

As a friend commented in a previous post, the "cherry on top" is finished. I made the white capelet on Sunday past and am finally getting around to posting a picture. As I hoped, the pattern was so easy to make, and now I want to make one in black velvet for another daughter. For those of you who don't know me, I have five daughters, each as lovely as the next. Yikes! Do you realize that means I probably have 4 more weddings to help plan in the future?!!!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Serger Questions

I've been toying with the idea of buying a serger...once I get married I won't have one! That would be really roughing it. =)

Yesterday Mom and I were in town and stopped in the Bernina shop there. They had several used Bernina sergers and I'm considering buying one. It's a Bernette Funlock 004 and it's priced at $300. Does anyone know, is that a good price? Does anyone have any experience with that model? The reason I didn't end up getting it was because it didn't have differential feed, and I just felt hesitant for some reason. I don't like to buy expensive things without feeling totally sure of myself.

I am willing to spend between $200 and $300 and I want a good, used machine--preferably a Bernina or a Pfaff with 3/4 thread options, a rolled hem capability, and differential feed.

The machine I saw yesterday stiched off really well, and seemed very clean and nice. It was almost new. Maybe I was silly to hesitate, but I just feel like I need to look around more.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Our new home!

Our realtor called today to let us know that the offer we placed yesterday was accepted!!!!!!! I am jumping up and down with excitment. I still can't believe that we found a home and that we both liked it as much as we did. Truly God is good...I really believe that it was God who worked this all out for us and my heart is very thankful today. Thank you Jesus!

The closing is set for Feb. 28th--so soon! We wanted to make it fast so that Justin can move in and start to get settled. We will need to go furniture shopping! We seriouly have NOTHING right now...but that's ok, because all you need is love when you are young and newly-married, right?

I promise, this blog will get back to being a sewing blog soon. So much has been going on with the house that I haven't had time to finish my dress. Soon though!

Yesterday Mom made the white capelet she posted about the other day. It turned out really cute. I can't wait for her to post pictures for you guys to see!


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Our first home??

Yesterday Justin and I put a low offer on this home. It was rejected and we plan to put another higher offer on it tomorrow. Please pray that our offer will find favor with the owner and that we will be able to get this house. It just really felt like "home" to Justin and me and we both feel like this is what God showed us as "the one". If this is indeed the house that God has for us, I know that it will all work out in His good time, but I still feel rather nervous and uptight. Almost everything about it was perfect, and it will be really hard for me if for some reason it doesn't work out!


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sneak Peek

The dress is coming along! In fact, it's almost done!

Progress this week included putting in the zipper, inserting the lining around the neckline, edgestitching it, basting the armhole layers together, and handsewing the lining around the waist seam and zipper.

To do still:
1) Hem on dress--done by sewing the satin and lining together right sides together
2) Horsehair braid sewn in seam allowance of hem
3) Sleeves need to be put in
4) Bias binding around armholes to finish raw edges
5) Lace trim around neckline needs to be sewn on by hand
6) Hem on organza overlay (most likely just a serged hem because the lace will cover it up)
7) Lace border hand sewn to the organza overlay around the bottom of the dress
8) Extra lace motifs placed and sewn here and there on skirt
9) Embroidered applique with my name, Justin's name and the wedding date hand-sewn into the bodice.
10) Final pressing!

This may seem like a long list, but really it's not. I'm very encouraged that this is all that is left. I won't make any promises, but I envision it being done by the end of this week to the middle of next week.

I don't want to ruin the surprise for all who will be coming to the wedding, so I don't plan on putting any pictures up of the completed dress in its entirety until after the wedding. I will however continue to put pictures up of bits and parts of it.


Plaster Columns --Question

The first picture below is the inspiration for my cakes---4 cakes on different sizes of stands. We are planning on using tall roman pillars for the backdrop in the auditorium for the ceremony so when I found these smaller plaster pillars at Garden Ridge, I thought they would be perfect for the cakes. I plan to make silk rose cake toppers and trail some greenery or something up the pillars.

I want to glaze the plaster pillars somehow to soften the stark white and make them look "finished". Does anyone know, do I need to do anything to them first before applying paint? (like a fixative??) I've never worked with plaster like this before, and I imagine it will soak paint right up...any tips would be appreciated!