After cutting out the dress pieces, the bodice was the most intensive portion to construct. Yes, construct. This wasn’t your basic dress top. This small portion of the dress contains 5 layers of fabric. And boning. It was also the most interesting portion to make as I have never made something quite this elaborate before.
The 5 layers include, from outside to inside, lace, Peau de soie, underlining, interfacing, and lining. I decided to go all out with my fabrics and use silk linings. I used silk chiffon for the underlining and silk habotai for the lining. There was no iron-on interfacing on this dress. I used sew-in interfacing. This was heavy-duty stuff; adding this enabled the bodice to stand on its own.
Underlining is like stay stitching. It is added to a garment to add stability. It is also used to place markings so you don’t have to mark on the nicer outside fabric. Thankfully, I only needed to use it on the bodice. In my research, I learned that it is often used over the entire garment. What makes using an underlining time-consuming is that you hand stitch the underlining to the main fabric. Once done, you treat them as a single piece.
Next, you add the interfacing. I also hand sewed this in. I don’t recall my reasoning, but I did. The interfacing is very sturdy. The bolt was labeled for use in bodices for strapless or formal gowns. Right now, I can’t recall specifically what kind it was.
I somehow managed to miss a step at this point and didn’t add the boning to just the linings and main fabric. I skipped ahead and added the lace overlay. Thankfully, thanks to the type of fabrics I was using, I was able to mostly hide the stitching when I added the boning casings.
As my deviation from the pattern, I eliminated the pleats in the lace. I rather liked small pattern of the lace on its own. Before adding the lining, I decided the bodice needed a little piping along the top. I used some of the scraps from cutting out the dress and made matching piping. I wish I had also added it to the bottom of the bodice as well. At the time, I was planning on making a belt to wear with the dress. I changed my mind/ran out of time to do this. I will probably add this detail when I refashion the dress into a sun dress!
It was about half-way through the construction of the bodice that I realised why wedding dresses are so expensive. I also established my price should anyone ask me to make them a wedding dress. My fee, not including materials, will be five thousand dollars. That sounds like a high price, until you calculate the cost of time. I spent about a month working on the bodice. I will admit to taking extra care on each step as well as giving thinking time to consider details. I wanted this dress to be amazing.