As hard as Sharon and I worked yesterday, we were unable to get either dress or coat to the point where I could do more work on it this week. So Sharon will work on them this week, while I focus on weaving the ribbon. Then we’ll meet again 0n Friday so I can pick up the dress and start working on the lace.
Meanwhile, Sharon made up a sample hem and showed it to me. Now I realize why she said the hem would be a week’s work in itself! Here are some photos and a sketch:
There are three fabrics involved with this hem:
- the main-body fabric
- a strip of organza that goes down to the bottom and then turns, ending 1/2″ above the turn
- a strip of bias-cut silk charmeuse to bind the raw edge of the main-body fabric.
There are, as you can see if you look at the sketch, no fewer than six rows of stitching (!), and only one is done by machine!
First, the seam binding goes on. The first seam is done by machine, turned, and pressed. Then the raw edge is stitched on by hand, using a running stitch, over the first seam, and catching only a thread of fabric on the “right” side, so the stitching won’t show.
Then the organza is placed into the lining and catch-stitched to the main body fabric. Again, catching only a thread of the body fabric, so it won’t show.
Then, two lines of running-stitch bind the body fabric of the hem to the organza – carefully sewn so it doesn’t show on the “right” side. This takes some of the stress off the top, where it is catch-stitched down.
Finally, a line of running-stitch binds the charmeuse seam binding to the body fabric, again stitched to be invisible on the “right” side.
Whew! It makes me tired just thinking about it. A far cry from the turned-twice fabric hem I learned to make in Home Economics!
But, as Sharon says, this is couture, and the quality of couture isn’t so much in the seams as in the finishing touches. So I’ll do six lines of sewing on the hem, for both coat and dress. Thank goodness that neither coat nor dress is particularly full! If I had to do 17 yards of hemming for each garment, I’d need a stiff drink (or three!) before starting.
It is becoming pretty obvious to me, though, that the hemming is not going to get done before the Feb 15 deadline. (Five rows of hand stitching?? On two garments???) So I’ll baste up the hems for the photo shoot, and complete them later. I’m also going to start by putting on the front and sleeve lace only, ignoring the back lace – saving time I might need to complete other details. I think I should be able to get all that done in time, so I’ll have good photos, and then I can finish the dress at a more leisurely pace.