Finally, the skirt!

The gorgeous shantung arrived and I got straight to work handcrafting Greta’s skirt for assembly!

Just as I did with the Iceberg Blue Silk Jacquard, I prepped and underlined the shantung.  It’s harder to see the handstitches when they are white on white, but in the photo above you can see where I’ve started hand basting the organdy underlining to the back side of the gorgeous silk shantung of the skirt for Greta’s custom wedding dress.

I pinned, cut out, and hand basted each individual piece of Greta’s dress.  The entire dress was underlined in the cotton organdy, with the exception of the sleeves.  I wanted them to be a little softer, so I underlined the sleeves with some of our silk crepe de chine lining.

Once all of my pieces were prepped, it was finally time to go to the sewing machine and start sewing seams!  I like to pin as much together as possible and eliminate back and forth trips to the machine and iron.  I pin multiple seams togehter at once, then go to the machine to sew all of those seams, and then take the dress to the iron to press as much as I can at once.

I was able to pin, sew, and press all of my vertical seams easily and efficiently with only one trip to each piece of equipment.

Once all of my skirt seams were complete, I worked on the hem.  For Greta’s dress, we wanted a stiffened hem.  I used a very wide 6″ horsehair braid to achieve this.

I machine stitched the horsehair to the bottom edge of the fabric where, once the hem was turned up, the horsehair would sit right at our desired hem length.  I then turned up the hem and catch stitched by hand the top of the horsehair to just the underlining layer of the skirt.  The hem stitches never pick through to the shantung and are completely invisible to the outside of the dress.  See why underlining is so important?  This hem could be a disaster without it!

In the photo below you can see the underlining which is pure white, the shantung which is ivory, and the horsehair which is the stiff net-like material in between the two.  It’s really hard to see the hand catch-stitches at the top of the horsehair in this photo.  They are the little white-on-white Xes holding the horsehair hem up to the skirt itself.

This technique continued around the full hem.  The skirt is finally starting to look like a skirt!

Because Greta’s skirt is pleated at the waist, I’ve found it is easiest to combine all of the skirt layers together before attaching them to the bodice.  This means the crinoline and the lining would be added to the waistline of the skirt and all three layers would be pleated together into the bodice.

Having already created the linings and the crinoline, all I had to do was sandwich them all together evenly and hand baste the layers together while flat at the waistline.

Next, I pleated the waistline as marked and hand basted the pleats into place.  Once basted, the pleated layers could be easily and precisely fit into the bodice of the dress.

Finally, it was time to try something on the dress form!

At the moment it still doesn’t look like much, but it is now apparent that we are well on our way to a gorgeous custom gown!




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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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