Balancing Act

By now in the process, I am in the couture dressmaking phase.  I have marked all of my stitch lines, prepped and cut out all of the pieces for the lighter colored base fabric of the jacket.  Now is the time for a crucial and somewhat tedious task:  The layout of the beaded net.  A couture garment has impeccable balance.  In order to make absolutely sure that the pattern on the beaded net is cut and balanced correctly, I spent a lot of time prepping.

I first needed to figure out the repeating pattern in the design. 

I realized that it visually repeats every 2.25”.  Since you can see though the beaded net, I drew a grid onto my paper covered table. (I also made sure to clean my rulers off with alcohol afterwards, so that my tools stay clean!) After steaming the net, I laid it out perfectly onto the grid and pinned it face-down to the table.

I then laid out the jacket pieces out face down onto the net.  I was able to feel the ‘bumps’ of the beads and their patterns through the fabric.  This was really helpful in the layout.  I could feel and adjust my layout so that the exact same pattern on one side was balanced perfectly with the other side.  The same ‘flower’ bead was at the same point on each side of the neckline, the same teardrop landed in the crux of each sleeve, etc.

Once I had everything laid out perfectly, I pinned the fabric along the stitch lines to the net.

I then cut the net around the pieces while it was still pinned together and promptly changed the paper on the table so that the marker doesn’t transfer to anything. Then, I took my pinned pieces and carefully flatlined the fabrics (hand stitching the two layers together just to the outside of the stitch line) so that they are now one piece of fabric.

The extra time and skill put into prepping the fabric this way will really make a difference in the quality of the jacket, which is now almost ready for assembly!

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

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