I have had more requests for blogs where I give advise based on my mistakes. I don't know if this is because they're useful to people OR if people just like reading about what an idiot I am. So today I'll run through some practical and not so practical lessons I've learnt from Bridal Dressmaking.
Whether you make cakes, have an interest in photography, done a flower arranging course once, sew, or like magic as a hobby someone somewhere will ask you to donate your time and sometimes materials for a wedding. Often (as in my case) people were willing to pay the going rate for a frock, however often people will be asked by friends or family to make something for free. This is fine if you wish to donate your efforts as part of a wedding gift, however there are pitfalls. Friends of friends will often be very nit picky about your work, even if it's better than that in a shop, they will stare at seams for hours, whilst totally ignoring skipped stitches in a commercial dress. So this is how to ensure your work will truly dazzle.
Step 1: Ensure the bride truly understands what you'r making, use diagrams, pictures, fabric samples, and keep it all in a folder. Always take everything with you when you see the bride so they can see how things progress. Make sure to give yourself PLENTY or time to make the dress, have the deadline well before the wedding to stop the bride becoming nervous.
Step 2: Before you start sewing spend a day or two giving your studio or sewing place a proper deep clean. Pulls out everything that can be moved, vacuum, dust, get it spotless, and make an inventory of your tools. This may sound extreme but the less you have to handle your fabric the better. Bridal fabric can be a pain to clean so you don't want to accidently place it on a dusty surface and give yourself a lot more work.
Have a good idea of your available tools is always a good idea. but ensure you have a good supply of sharp Needles and Pins .
Other tool considerations include your scissors, are they up to the task? don't rick ruining your fabric which can cost many hundreds of pounds with a blunt pair. You are saving the bridal party a LOT of money, it's not unreasonable to include fresh scissors, needles and other tools of your trade in with he cost of materials. Just make it clear from the start if you are working for just the cost of the fabric that you may have other requirements as well. One lovely couple who I made a dress for actually showed up right before I was about to begin sewing with a new sewing machine for me! So new snips isn't much to ask.
Point turners. I've seen people use the end of their scissors only to punch a hole into the fabric. All that for trying to save £1.80! Pressing clothes give a wonderful finish especially to pleats.
Step4: Pressing can make or break a dress. Make sure your ironing board is clean. Consider making up a cover or two in white cotton, one for bridal pressing, another for using fusible interfacing on.
So there are a few basic pitfalls I've fallen prey to. The most important advice I can give is to take your time, enjoy the process of making something that's not just a dress, but a wish fulfilled, one that has been held for a very long time.