Interfacing, Horsehair and Hem Weights

By this time, I finally have all the information that I need out of the muslin that Leah tried on in the past two fittings.  But some of its parts are still useful.  I’ve been raiding the muslin so that i can reuse (rather than re-buy) interfacings, horsehair and hem weights.

The interfacing that I chose to use in the ‘bustle’ of this dress was osnaburg.  I toyed with the idea of using other lighter weight interfacings (like organza) but eventually settled on osnaburg for several reasons.

1) The dress is all cotton, as is osnaburg.

2) Historically, I believe this is the closest to what would have been used in a dress like this.  Osnaburg is a slightly coarse, strong cotton fabric with a plain weave.  It has a firm drape that falls into wide flares well, which is exactly what I wanted for the look of the back of this dress.

Another thing I pilfered from the muslin was the horsehair braid trim that I hid in the hem of the dress.  I love adding horsehair to the hems of garments.  It helps add a stiffness that allows the dress to hang away from the body.  This way there is fullness in the hem, yet the bride stays cool, rather than having lots of (expensive) layers of petticoats underneath.  In Leah’s dress, there will be no petticoats, just the horsehair in the hem and some hem weights to hold the folds where we want them.

Although they are often found in period garments, I have no idea where to purchase hem weights.  Not that there is anything special about a hem weight.  So having a carpenter for a husband, I decided that a great hem weight is a stainless steel washer.  They won’t rust or anything over time, they add just enough weight right where we want it (in this case, on the inside of the deep folds of the back of the ‘bustle’.)  I’ll make little hidden pockets in the hem to hold the weights, so that it can be taken out if it is dry cleaned.

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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