Friends, the only good thing about a heat wave is....I can't think of anything. (It feels good when it's over?) I actually enjoy the heat, most of the time. But I'm ready for a break, which won't come till next week, when it's predicted to be in the Arctic upper eighties.
But let's talk sewing -- specifically boning (Who groaned?). As you can see up top, I cut both the skirt and bodice for my strapless cocktail dress. The fabric doesn't fray easily and since all the skirt pieces are cut somewhat on the bias, there's no fraying of seam allowances (visible on the right in the photo). Hence, I'm not finishing them (I'd originally planned to pink them). This is good.
I have a confession: I have a developed the terrible habit of tracing my darts in colored pencil. (I know, right?) Nothing else seems as effective. I trace them lightly and always test first to make sure nothing shows through the fabric. What should I be using instead -- wax? I hate those vanishing ink pens -- too often the ink doesn't vanish and it can seep through the front of the fabric, which pencil does not. I've also found that ironing the center line of the dart before stitching is helpful (to me, anyway). Ever try that?
The skirt, as you can see, is quite full, and will likely have a crinoline beneath or something to puff it out a bit (I have a few makeshift tulle crinolines, but this may call for real net -- we'll see).
Here are the bodice and skirt together. Mind you, that dummy is not a true bodyform. Everything that needs close fitting has to be done on you-know-who.
Now, in an ideal world, I'd have underlined the bodice. Susan Khalje underlines her wedding gown bodices with any of a variety of fabrics, depending on her fashion fabric. I am not underlining; the pattern instructions didn't mention it (except for sheers) and it didn't occur to me. Plus let's face it: nobody's getting married in this dress. It's as much an experiment as anything else (my fabric was $2/yd).
I am simply lining the bodice, using a densely woven cotton sheet. The boning channels are sewn to the lining itself. Susan Khalje attaches her boning to the underlining, which is stitched to the fashion fabric, and the whole kit and caboodle is then lined. Since I'm stitching my boning to the lining, the boning is facing inside (i.e. toward me). That's what my McCall's instructions say to do.
The instructions have you stitch the boning by hand to the bodice lining after the lining has been attached. I'm doing it first (though I'm removing the spiral steel bones before stitching the bodice and bodice lining together (this is then turned; the open bottom is whipstitched to the waistline). Then the bones can be inserted and the casings stitched closed.
The boning channels should not protrude into the seam allowance (I made that mistake initially), but should be as close to the upper seamline as possible. In the pic below, you can see that the casing is caught in the seam allowance:
As it turns out, I'm going to have to trim about 1/2" off my two front bones -- that's one of today's chores. Then I'll whipstitch the bottom of the bodice lining closed, add my zipper (lapped), and then a grosgrain ribbon waistline stay, hook and eye, etc. I'll likely add twill tape to the neckline as well. That's the plan, anyway. As you can see, there's still much to do, and much of it is new to me.
I stitched the boning channels to the bodice lining with a zipper foot and it worked well. (I'm doing this project on my Featherweight.) If this were a more complicated bodice (or a more difficult fit) I'd likely do this by hand to allow for adjustments in the position of the bones.
What else can I tell you? If it weren't so hot I might enjoy this more but hey, in six months we'll be complaining about the cold.
Friends, I don't want to talk about this dress again tomorrow; I think we all need a break, I know I do. Any good topic suggestions out there?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!