Monday, September 30, 2019

Lekala #5199 Little Atlas Formal Dress for Lidia

Lidia had her Open Access formal in August.
Although she could have worn her yellow lace (to be blogged) again she really wanted another dress and I was happy to oblige.

We agreed to wait and see what Eliza Fabrics had, and then choose something.
While I was selecting fabric she showed me a picture on her phone.
Image from Pinterest
To be completely honest, I was super busy and didn't look too closely.
(And the photo was tiny)
If I had I would have realised the skirt was all tulle (nude with a layer of black) and the bodice was individual silk flowers.
We quickly grabbed some heavy, de-lustered Duchess satin in a deep cherry red, some nude pink georgette, thick guipire lace and some silk bias strips.
The dress pattern was an easy choice Lekala #5199 
I figured a straightforward pattern would be the best choice to let me concentrate on the fabric construction.
With Lekala you put in the measurements and they email you a custom fit pattern.
By laying the georgette over the satin it gave her the variation of colour that she wanted.
I basted and then neatened the edges of each bodice piece (treating the georgette and satin as one).
The lining was cut from the same satin but I interfaced that with sheer weft interfacing. I also attached the boning to the flat seams of the bodice lining.
I constructed the lining first, to check the fit.
It was just as well I did as it was too tight.
I realised I inadvertently sewn a slightly wider seam allowance 
As is was the lining, that was okay but it would have been a disaster if it was the main dress.
Lidia didn't want to wear a bra and the dress looked a bit flat at the bust so we recycled some padding from an old swimsuit. 
I checked the position and then hand tacked them to the lining.
I put the two dresses, right sides together and stitched them at the top of the bodice.
I then pressed all the seams to the lining, graded them and stay-stiched them in place.

The two layers of fabric throw a mauve-y grey colour.
I finished the satin with a narrow, double hem but I wanted the georgette seamless so I finished it with a narrow zigzag.
Unusual colours to use together but they work!
The Lekala pattern gave a spot on fit.
Lidia said it was firm (she didn't feel the dress slip at all) but quite comfortable.

So pretty.
The next step was to add the guipure lace.
I pinned the lace in place and then spent three relaxing hours watching the Big Bang Theory, hand-sewing it.
The stitching is not the neatest but it does the job!
The arm detail had us scratching our heads....
Liddy has really slim arms so the bands were tiny but then there was no ease for her to move!
I ended up attaching them with a short piece of skin coloured knicker elastic (it is soft on one side and has a firm, stretchiness),
just under the arms.
The waist tie is a piece of silk bias, we left it with the raw edge to encourage the floati-ness.
It gives the impression of just being tied but I hand-sewed it in increments to stop it shifting.
She looked so beautiful!
The skirt is so full and flouncy.
The two fabrics threw gorgeous colour variations under artificial light.
It shows off her stunning athletic shoulders to perfection.
But is still perfectly appropriate for a 15 year old girl.
~My Verdict~
Sewing a formal gown is a marathon, not a sprint. It is also quite an emotional project.
It can be the first 'fancy' garment a young girl has, a lot of thought goes into it and it can be a big deal.
Lidia was a delight to sew for, she was so relaxed and had so much faith in me.
It made the process a lot easier.
I spent quite a bit of time getting the 'underpinnings' right!
The bodice is under-lined, lined and boned. I stay stitched where I could.
Looking at the photos I realised we forgot to trim the waist ties but we were so busy doing hair and makeup (thank you Zara) it slipped our mind.
I enjoyed this project, and the yellow lace (to be blogged) I made before it, but after these dresses I was ready to move onto something a little more relaxed.
~Lidia's Verdict~
This dress is Beautiful!
 I was so excited to get my first formal dress made by mum (and I have two more formals to go!).  
The dress was fitted but still very comfortable. It was really easy to dance in and gave me bragging rights to say that my Mum had sewn my dress.
 Our original inspiration photo wasn't exactly like the final product but I think I prefer our version. I had an amazing night thank you to Mum and Zara for getting me ready! 
We are so grateful that country students get the chance to attend these events and thank the Open Access Staff for organising it.
Thank you for reading.... xx N