Friday, February 18, 2011

Dress Hem Update

Hello!  I am SO close to being finished with my dress.  Only, oh, let's see....maybe 35-40 hours left! 

Here's a scary little calculation for you: If I were to include labor in the cost of my dress, yes, it would be WAY out of my price range.  :-)  30 hours per week on average, I'd guess April-May 2010, and then July 2010 to February 2011.  That's 10 months, about 300 days, about 43 weeks, so that's almost 1400 hours of work.  Sounds about right, actually.  Okay, so how much would I pay myself?  Online I'm seeing rates from about $30 to $60 per hour.  So, I'll give myself $10...this is my first dress, I'm not too efficient, and I guess I'm paying myself to correct my mistakes, too.  So....that's $14,000 in labor plus the cost of materials, books, classes, and all the materials I bought but didn't use (i.e., horsehair braid, the extra pearls, etc.). 

Well, anyway, after that bit of math, here's what I've been up to for the last few evenings.  First I used the markings on the center front and side front dress pieces to hand baste the hem fold line.  Then I trimmed the hem allowance to 2 inches.  Next I hand overcast the fabric edges.  Then, I had to choose how to manage the excess fabric...would I notch, dart, gather, what?  I finally decided to use the method in Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques book.  To me, it was the least risky and also didn't require me measuring the circumferences of the edge and fold line.  Basically, first what I did was fold up the hem allowance and baste it 1/8 inch from the folded edge.  The next step will be to pin as much as necessary perpendicular to the folded edge, letting the extra fabric create little folds between the pins. Then, I blindhem stitch the hem, leaving the little folds of fabric free.  And that's it!  It will be very important not to let anyone else near my dress with an iron.  Ironing these folds flat would ruin the look of the hem on the front of the dress.

Next up will be the lining hem, then the overdress hem, then the petal appliques.  Then a good pressing or steaming, and it's finished!

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