If you’ve been following along as I tell the story of how Tiffany’s wedding dress came to be, you’ll know that we are nearing the end. But there’s still plenty of work to do to get Tiffany’s wedding dress from being a carefully constructed collection of bits & pieces into becoming an actual dress that’s wedding-day-ready. And so far, Tiffany herself had only seen and tried on mockup versions of her dress.
The basted fitting is an important and exciting part of the custom process. After all the hard prep work, it is the first time that the ideas back in the design and sketch phase become a custom-fit reality. The custom dress form, the custom pattern drafting, the mockups, the fittings, and all the careful and creative cutting and crafting of the silk, have all led up to finally becoming a wearable form. I’ve permanently finished everything I’m confident won’t change- and the rest, gets basted. The basted fitting is the first time the real garment is try-on-able, but also another helpful opportunity for making changes and improvements.
Adding the Midriff Band
So when I left the story last, I had just finished creating and adding the collar– with some bits permanently finished and other bits basted.
I created the midriff bands in an earlier post, and it was finally time to add them to the bodice. I pinned them in place while creating some underbust gathers and…
...boom. I permanently machine stitched the pieces in place, turning three separate pieces into one.
Adding the Skirt
The design features lots of gathers!
After the back of the skirt was stitched in place, I pinned the front half of the skirt, controlling its gathers to match our design, before stitching the front waist seam.
The Side Seams and Closures
Huzzah! All pieces are one! Though the side seams were still completely open and unfinished, I couldn’t resist trying Tiffany’s dress on the dress form for the first time!
But back to work!
Different fabrics offer different fit and feel, so even though we previously fine tuned the dress to fit Tiffany’s body in mockups, it would be important to leave somewhere for easy fitting adjustments before permanently finishing the garment in the final fabrics.
With Tiffany’s dress, the side seams are the only places I have available for final fitting adjustments. So for her basted fitting, these would be held together with basting stitches, rather than permanent ones.
To close up each side seam, I’d need to add the closures. Each side of Tiffany’s wedding dress would be secured by hook and eye tape. The eye side of the tape would have a fabric shield behind it.
After one side was pinned in place…
…and hand basted in place…
…I did the same to the opposite side.
Then the front sides got their hooks hand basted in place…
…and the side seams below the closures were finished by machine.
I moved my sewing machine in order to have my table behind it- to fully support the dress. And to keep everything as clean as possible, the floors around each area I use gets covered with tissue paper. I also keep a mattress pad under my dress form as soon as I start working with the “real” fabrics.
Then I was able to make a neatness of the hem, which was hand basted earlier, and the dress would be fitting-ready!
The Basted Fittiing
Squeeee! The studio was cleaned up and the gorgeous silk wedding dress was arranged on the dress form awaiting Tiffany’s arrival.
Though unlined and with bits basted, it was thrilling to see it all come together.
Aaaaannnd….Tiffany was also thrilled!
She tried it on…
…and looked incredible!
I forgot to take many photos, but I was happy to catch the bride-to-be giving her wedding dress a spin!
But back to work!
The basted fitting showed that the bust and underbust were a tad too tight and that the waist was a little too loose. No worries! Basted fittings are all about making these types of last minute improvements! There would be no scars from unpicking permanent stitches, because I took the time to baste everything in place.
With the final notes taken, we were both delighted with the final fitting and ready to get the dress finished up for Tiffany’s wedding day!
After Tiffany left the studio, I wanted to get the corrections over with right away (so I could begin finishing)!
I’d first need to remove the hook & eye tape, the shields, and all the basting stitches.
Then I made two marks inside (on each side) indicating how much I needed to add to the underbust and how much I needed to remove from the waist.
Then I connected the dots with a straight line.
The interfacing no longer matched my line, so I trimmed away a little at the waist…
…and added a little above it!
And that was pretty much it for corrections! The rest of the custom process would be all about making neatnesses and FINISHING THE DRESS! Permanent stitches and final presses from now on, ya’ll…
NEXT POST: The final bits of construction: Finishing and Lining! So exciting…