I love how it turned out, looks like a pretty princess cupcake!
Let’s see… I left off with the base coming together suspiciously easy. Next up I had to make miles of bias tape– well, twelve yards, but felt like miles for sure.
Has anyone used the fancy trick of sewing some sort of tube marked with lines and then you just slice it in one big strip? I can’t figure out how to do it right– I’ve tried twice in my life (once using Margo Anderson’s instructions, once using some other forgotten instructions) It was a bust both times, and I’m not sure why. Surely I did it wrong, but after trying twice to do it right I just said screw it and did it the long way, like so:
Then I serged one side to make is easy to fold the edge under:
…and sewed the raw edge along the yellow chalk mark I made the day before.
Pressing nice and neat:
Adding a smaller pre-ruffled lace to the channels that form the upper hips. I thought a more dainty lace would be nicer looking to the eye insead of the larger lace I was putting on the lower channels.
Marking off where the tape ties should be on the inside… I marked them as indicated on the pattern, but they seemed awfully close together, like they would interfere with her hips when she put them on. That didn’t seem right to my common sense! I hemmed and hawed for about a half hour trying to think why they would be so close together– did the tapes snug up to the hips and stabilize the whole thing? There was no way to test it without completing the pannier. I wasn’t there yet! What should I do? I wasn’t going to hand sew the tapes on– they take a lot of pressure and need to be secured properly, if I could have tied them directly to the bones I would have, but it was too late to figure out how to do that with this particular pannier.
I decied to quit fucking around and just do something, since I could have spent days researching the problem. (I’m like that.)
So, I added a slim double layer of fusible interfacing…
…and tacked down two sets of small d-rings to loop some cording through to pull the pannier into shape from the underside. I thought it was a good idea, it was strong and easily adjustable and she could choose the inner or outer settings, whichever was more comfortable for her. Much quicker than me fussing about whether to follow the pattern or my instincts.
Dangerous work! No presser foot, no feed dogs, my finger tips were flirting with disaster just a mere 1/8 inch from the violently punching needle! Not a technique for the faint of heart.
There, two sets ready to go.
But then I ran into a small snag. My idea to use my beloved ruffler to ruffle the lace was a total disaster. It didn’t work! It looked so ugly! I was stumped for a while as I frantically tried to figure out how to ruffle or pleat the insane amount of lace I was planning to use. There was no way in hell I was doing it by hand.
Then my eyes fell on my serger. I have a ruffler foot for my serger! Would that work? I don’t know! I decided to try just adjusting the differential feed before taking the thing apart for the ruffling attachment– and it was perfect. Just absolutely blooming perfect. I literally zipped through 24 yards of lace in less than 5 minutes, ruffling it up just the perfect amount!
RUFFLES! GLORIOUS RUFFLES! MWAHHAHAHAHAHA!!
Then came the looooong teeeeeeeedious task of inserting the ruffles along the bottom edge of the bone channels. It wasn’t hard, it was just A LOT.
The bottom of the pannier just called for a hem– no hoop wire– but I wanted to add the lace there, too. I wanted it to look nice from both sides, and hemming a rounded hem sucks anyway, so I did the cheater’s method! I love cheating.
Adding the lace all around the bottom:
Then attaching a bias tape on top of the lace, all the way around:
Then pressing it to the inside, leaving the lace to dangle so prettily from the edge:
And then tucking the raw edge under and pressing again:
… and finally top stitching it down.
So pretty! So frilly!
(insert an insane amount of time here, not pictured, where I struggled and struggled to get those stupid hoop wires in place. My method of doing so was a total mess– as it was hanging on the dress form, from the outside, into a small slit at the bottom of the channel, pushed in tautly to make it all nice and smooth, ridiculously hand sewing the channels closed. It was awful. I hated myself. I hated the world. I hated the pannier. I hated everything.
This is what I ended up with: See how taut the bones are? Creating that smooth bell shape on each layer?
*buzzer* WRONG! It bowed in at the slightest touch. I suppose anyone familiar with physics could have told me that would happen, but I’m not so smart sometimes. I thought the hoop wire was too weak, I thought I may have to double up, I tried a few things to fix it, and I whined to a few good pals on Livejournal (who all had excellent suggestions and comforting back pats for me) But the fact was I just totally screwed up and had to undo all the hard work I just did.
But, undo it I did, because there was no way I could send this to my client with a good conscience. So, stitch ripper out, hoop wire out, begin again.
I pressed and steamed the fabric back into shape after all the stretching and tautness I caused by mistakenly thinking that would be better. Not better. Don’t do that if you are making one.
There. Ready to go again.
This time, I laid it out upside down on my cutting table, and inserted the wires through a small slit on a seam under the casing. Went in like butter. Seriously, the day before I don’t know what the hell I was doing, but this was so easy I had all the wires inserted in 30 minutes. I take back all the cursing I did at this pannier yesterday– clearly my method had sucked and I did something the boneheaded hard way instead of the buttery easy way. SIGH.
The top bones did pose a problem as well– originally I just cut and fit them to the upper channels, but that left a weird open joint that bent oddly and left the fabric to do the dirty work of holding the pannier out, which, again, wasn’t right. So, I clipped two new lengths of wire and wrangled them in so each end was placed behind the horizontal wire below. This made the whole pannier more structurally sound and much much stronger to hold those skirts out.
Then it was time to tie it into the oval shape– so much easier than what I did yesterday. Did I do EVRYTHING the hard dumb way yesterday? Yes I did. I was under the pannier like a car mechanic yesterday trying to get it all tied up right.
There, all done. I also decided to add a 1/4 inch spring steel bone into the tiny hem around the bottom. It snaked through nice and easy, surprisingly! It doesn’t do anything to help the skirts, but it looks much much nicer with a little stiffening in the hem.
All done! I still may have to add a second layer of hoop wire on the longest parts to strengthen it– but I’m not so sure it’s needed. I’ll reserve judgement for after the gown is on there and see how it behaves.
Now on to the gown that goes over it!