Sharon and I exchanged work items yesterday, so now I have the dress and she has the coat. I will be putting lace onto the dress, and she will be doing the final stitching and setting in the sleeves. (I asked her to set in the sleeves because I am not very good at that…afraid of botching it!)
So I spent this morning carefully pressing the rest of the seams, basting the pearls in place, and laying out lace on the bodice and sleeves:
The lace comes down a trifle further than I’d like, but partly that’s because there’s a flaw in the fabric that I want to cover up. I’m also considering getting rid of 2/3 of the lace on the bodice, and just putting it over the bust. I think it would look simpler that way, though I’d have to fix the flaws, which might be difficult.
I’m still waffling about the sleeves – personally, I think they look softer and more feminine without the lace. (They also show off the fabric much better – if I cover them up, the bodice won’t have any beautiful handwoven fabric to admire!) I do have some flaws in one of the sleeves that need to be dealt with or covered up, but I checked and I have plenty of fabric, so I think I’m going to recut the sleeve from a flawless region of the weaving, and leave the sleeves “plain”. (I’d love readers’ thoughts on the matter, though!)
The back will be lace-covered down to the waist, I think, but not beyond. I’m still thinking about that piece.
In addition, I found quite a few flaws in one of the back panels that I need to deal with. Needleweaving at 72 epi is damn near impossible, especially after several hard presses. So instead I will be cutting out the teeny-tiny weft floats. I don’t recommend this as a general practice, since it doesn’t help the integrity of the cloth, but since this is very finely woven and will never ever EVER go in a washing machine, I think it will be OK. And it will get rid of the mini-floats that are catching the light in unsightly ways. The only difficulty is that now I am trying to find and clip floats that are about 1/32 of an inch long, and damn near invisible unless the light catches them just right. Embroidery scissors with needle-sharp points and very good light are called for. Plus I’ve had some success by simply removing my glasses/contacts – my eyesight is very very poor but that means I can see lots of detail very close up, so long as it’s within 4 inches of my face.
Of course, I also have a magnifying lamp in the garage somewhere. I could use that, but that would employ far too much common sense. 😉
I prefer the sleeves without the lace best.
Thank you for your blog. I really enjoy reading about your incredible projects.
Mary Beth says
The mass of lace will draw the eye so to make more height use a vertical application. Lace on the sleeves is lovely but it will also draw the eye out wider, increasing the sense of width. It will also truncate, giving a “shorter” feel. All that said these optical illusions will be less with a lesser “mass” of lace: a thin band encircling the neckline and shoulders, balanced with vee shaped mass of lace that narrows toward the waist line and is shaped over the breast in a way that pleases would draw the eye to the upper chest and to the beauty of the fabric.
Gees, I hope I am making sense…!?
take a photo of it on you and print out on reg. paper in black and white so you can draw in the lace decorations to your heart’s content. That way you can balance the design against your own shape. Lace is so cool in the way you can shape it!
This wedding dress is gorgeous!!!!
Mary Beth says
PS: the sleeve is the perfect place to show off the fabric. A scattering of pearls or cut outs of some of the lace motif could cover a tiny flaw rather than a solid mass of lace.
I’m voting for no lace on the sleeves. Lace on the sleeves may make putting the coat on and off difficult as it will drag on the lace………as well as all of the above…
All of the above are valid, but I am pro lace of some sort on the sleeves…maybe along with less on the bodice… I think this will make the lace seem more integral to the entire design, less of an addition to it. Depends on how often you take the coat on or off, messing with the lace, perhaps.
Whatever you do, the dress fabric is WONDERFUL. I can’t imagine weaving that fine a fabric and so much of it.
I agree with no lace on the sleeves.
But I have one question – why are you worring about floats that tiny and are only seen if caught in the light “just right?” If anyone at your wedding is taking that hard of a look at one or two places on the dress instead of at the radiant bride, the lace, the overall dress, the coat, etc., then they shouldn’t be invited. Honestly, I think the only person who will notice them is you and you are looking for them!
Mary Beth makes some excellent points about the mass of the lace and some good suggestions for flattering shaping. I rather feel you need some lace on the sleeves because without it the central bust area is attracting all the attention. But less lace, maybe just an edging towards the top, might be sufficient…
Beautiful! Since you will have lace on the front and also on the back, a tiny bit of lace on the sleeve would tie together the front and back. Shorten the lace in the front, but shape it to either a “V” or round it to correspond with the neckline.
If the errant floats are so tiny that they require a magnifying glass to seem them for cutting, I’d leave them. Only you (and those reading your blog) will know that they are there.
Nancy Lea says
that is what is called “blind nun” work. A friend who worked for one of the big costume houses in NY told me that doing that kind of fine work, when done “off the books” and paying “under the table” is referred to as “underwater nun.” (-;
Lisa j says
I vote for as little lace as possible. I respect the lace, I make lace… but I really love the simplicity of the fabric. Errr.. make that clean lines; this has certainly not been a ‘simple’ project!
I’m for no or minimal lace. It should enhance, not overwhelm, and the sleeve with lace goes into overwhelm for me.