SOS! I Need Your Help!

3:58 PM 5 Comments A+ a-

I'm officially putting out the SOS for help on my wedding dress.

A little over a month ago I wrote this post, which shared some of the inspiration for the dress and since then I've been MIA on the blog front. I promise I haven't forgotten about you my dears but I've been in the throws of working on the dress, moving everything in our house to replace all the carpet, moving everything back, and then finding a gorgeous new house that we're closing on in exactly one month. I'm in love. Also I'll have a huge attic sewing room. CAN'T WAIT to tell you more about that, but first I need some help...

So where we last left off I was pondering draping options for the bodice of my dress. I finally decided on a swoopy pleat thing (obviously an official term) like the dress below that I tried on last summer. I saw this tutorial on Burdastyle that seemed pretty do-able so that's the road I started down.

I first made a muslin of the Bombshell Dress from Gertie's Craftsy course with measurements to fit the crazy corset thing from the bridal shop that I'll be wearing under the dress. Below is a picture of how the muslin turned out. After I made a few fitting adjustments I remade the bodice, with underlining for structure, out of a mid weight cotton but I didn't sew the side seams together so I could drape the front and two back pieces separately.
This is the lace I'm using for the overlay, which I'm totally in love with and was cheap from JoAnns. (because I am not the girl who needs to spend a million dollars on fabric for a dress I'm wearing once) The one downside is that it's a little stiff, which might be the problem.

Once the bodice base (not sure that's the right word) was done I pinned it to my dress form and started draping. This is what it looked like when I finished. I love the way it looks on the dress form, but when I got down to actually sewing all of those pleats on to the bodice the trouble began. Because the fabric is a little stiff it doesn't hold the pleats without tacking them down every few inches. (hence all the pins on the dress form to hold them in place) I basically was doing a running stitch down every pleat with a stitch every inch or so. I got about half way through the process and I realized that I didn't like the way it was turning out. All the pleats looked really flat and smushed and not as
3-D and swoopy as they did on the dress form. I don't have a picture of how this looks because in a moment of stress and desperation I pulled the whole thing apart.

In the midst of this, the March BurdaStyle came in the mail and included this darling wedding dress which is similar in idea to what I was going for in that it's a strapless, sweetheart bodice with pleating. However, although you can't see it in the pictures, (here's a link to the line drawing so you can see it better) this bodice consists of two long panels that are cut on the bias and gathered on each side and sewn together, resulting in a seam down the middle of the bodice and no swoopy effect like my first version. The Burda dress has a different set up for the bodice underneath but I think I could make it work with the bodice I already have so I don't have to re-fit. I haven't pulled the trigger on it because I still like the way the original draping looked on the dress form and I just can't decide if the fabric will do any better with this plan. Plus, because this pattern is cut on the bias, I'll be using up a lot of the fabric I have left, which will limit my options should it not work out.

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So I guess the question is, is there some secret to draping that I'm missing? Is there a way to make the pleats pretty and not flat looking? Or should I give up and use the Burda bodice? I've already traced and cut out the pieces, which is the most daunting part of using BurdaStyle patterns in my opinion, so it would be pretty fast to put the bodice together.

HELP! And also, thank you in advance for your sage advice. Y'all are the best :)