It’s time to tackle the front of the ball gown. That scares me more than the back, since if you mess up the back of the gown you can pull a Jo March and stand in the corner all evening. But if you mess up the front, it’s pretty hard to hide.
Step One: Not having a dress form or someone near my size available, I put the hoop skirt on a hanger and used ribbons to hang it under the dress to get an idea of how it looked.
Step Two: I realized several things. 1.) The boning of the hoop shows right through the dress. 2.) The hoop skirt is too short. 3.) I never repaired the rip in the hoop that I acquired at Renn Faire last year.
Step Three: Time to work on the front.
The first thing I do is cut off the white bows and replace them with black satin rosettes.
Step Four: As it turns out the little panel in the front just doesn’t lay right–but I’m cutting it off anyway–off it goes. Closing my eyes, I cut it off and pray I don’t cut the dress, too.
Step Five: I can’t simply make a new panel because you’d see the black through the white dress, I’m going to have to stitch it directly to the ruffle. Fun. So, the white fabric I cut off the dress,I use it to construct a pattern.
Step Six: Taking the pattern, I cut the black brocade and make two panels. Spreading the blanket out on the floor, I hem the fabric with fabric glue. As usual, the whole thing in uneven and lumpy. The hubby shakes his head and vows to find the pedal to the sewing machine. I pin the panels in place. I must have bought cheap pins because they keep bending (either that or they don’t like fabric glue.) It’s still uneven and lumpy and as good as it’s going to get.
Step Seven: The hubby drags me to Harbor Freight. I walk next door to the fabric shop and buy netting and white ribbon in hopes of fixing my hoop skirt.
Step Eight. I’m having major hoop shirt drama. The ribbon doesn’t work and sewing the netting on to the skirt (to hide the ribs of the hoop) just seems daunting. I bite the bullet and buy a new hoop skirt, an adjustable four-bone one that’s longer and has netting. Moments after buying it, I discover there are such things as slips that go over the hoop and under the dress. But the hoop skirt was cheaper, anyway.
Step Nine: The hubby finds the pedal to the sewing machine. I waffle between trying to use the machine, which is just scary, and hand sewing.
Step Ten: The new hoop comes in the mail and I try it on with the dress. Oops. I cut the front panels using the old hoop. This hoop is bigger and the dress won’t fit over it. But that’s an easy fix. I just make the hoop smaller. Yay for adjustable hoops. But the tot gets red paint on the white satin. Sigh.
Step Eleven: Setting up the machine, I thread it. The usual sewing machine foot has gone missing, so I use a different one–it’s all good? Right? I can’t get the machine to work. So I hand sew the right front panel on. I pick my thumb with the needle and bleed all over the seam.
Step Twelve: I try the dress on with the hoop again. The right front panel is too short. It had been fine when i tried it on. I can’t figure out what went wrong. Why, oh, why, did I decide to do this myself again? At this point in time I can’t even get my friends to fix it short of buying more fabric, ripping out the pannel, and completely remaking it. Sigh.
Step Thirteen: I try the sewing machine again, using new thread. It works and I sew the left front pannel on. Much faster. But my seam is not nearly as even as when I sew by hand (and that’s not even either).
Step Fourteen: I try the dress on again. The left front pannel is much longer than the right. All I can do is hem the left panel to try to match the right. I’ll just have to deal with people being able to see my feet. Next year I can make new panels that are wider–and longer. The back is too long, dragging on the floor. That needs to be hemmed too, but I hem it to the proper length, not the length of the front.
Step Fifteen: I hem the left pannel and back, using the sewing machine, since I’m nearly out of fabric glue. The sewing machine isn’t quite as frightening any more. I try it on with the hoop again. It’s going to have to work. Using an entire roll of black taffeta ribbon, I tie it on as a sash and look in the mirror. I have the tot take a picture with my cell phone. This is as good as it’s going to get.
Stay tuned for more…