words of wisdom, boob cages, and other such snippets

The only advice my dad gave me before heading off to art school at VCU was “Measure twice, cut once”. At the time I felt short changed… I mean, really? Your only daughter and first child off to brave college in a new city and that’s it? In reality, I wasn’t surprised by the lack of sentiment in these words of wisdom as my dad has always had but two modes: Gruff and Goofy; but I was still a little put off by his singular choice of advice. Thusly, it took some time for me to respect and appreciate, not to mention actually HEED his words (needless to say, I went through my fair share of mat board that first semester). 12 years later and I can’t begin to tell you the number of times keeping that seemingly no-nonsense phrase in the back of my mind has saved me hours of hardship, tears, and more than a few panic attacks.

So with that oh-so-important phrase in mind, I pressed and pinned my modified pattern pieces to my fabric- and with more than a little trepidation- started cutting (eeeek!!!) and sewing in stages.



The moment I realized I had something that even remotely resembled part of a garment I ran/danced downstairs to show my roommate. Skidding to a halt in front of her I held up the piece shown in the following pictures triumphantly and yelled “LOOK WHAT I MADE!!!”

“OOooOOoooo! IS THAT THE BOOB CAGE?!” she asked excitedly.

I. Straight. Up. Died.

What exactly a “boob cage” is and why one would WANT to cage boobs is somewhat beyond me- not to mention- how uncomfortable does that sound?? Naturally, we’ve been calling it that ever since and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to what other creative titles she will undoubtedly come up with.

lace over “silkessence” for the front (opaque), lace over black and gold organza for a sheer-ish back
Inside construction of the
inside construction of the bodice (aka “boob cage”)
“boob cage” lining

Not more than a couple sessions in, I also realized I would need to change up fabric choice for the yoke. The lace would have been too much, so I opted for doing a double layer of organza. Black over gold to mute the brightness of the gold organza, but still provide that sheer black and gold sparkle. Since it’s going to be a mid-afternoon wedding outdoors I have been dragging fabrics in and out of the house in order to see how they look in all lights.

black over gold – indirect sunlight
Black over gold in direct sunlight
black over gold (over chair) – direct sunlight

So a month in to actual cutting and sewing, and we’ve got pieces that resemble the top of a dress. I’m proud to say I’ve only had to rip 3 seams so far- not because I’m a perfectionist (well, yes because I’m a perfectionist) but (also) because I recognized that the small flaws in them would lead to larger or more noticeable issues in the long run. You know, “a stitch in time saves nine” or some other equally sage advice.

Yoke and
full frontal (HEY-O!)
Back (note how eff'in bright that gold organza is without the black over it)
back (note how eff’in bright and yellow that gold organza is without the black over it)

At the moment, I’ve ordered and am waiting on some smaller black venice lace to edge the back “V” in (and, you know, mask any slight imperfections in the seams) as well as for the detailing on the cap sleeves I may or may not decide to construct. Due to the wait on trimmings I’ve skipped over some steps and have moved onto working on the lining, as well as the mid-drift and under-skirt (absurd nicknames yet to come).

In other news we’ve sent out invitations along with a mix cd (I know, we’re THAT couple)- and I’m proud to say that really all that’s left for wedding planning is to figure out my bouquet and finish up this dress.


Catch ya next time for what will (hopefully) include the majority of skirt draping, new awkward slang, and with any luck, a mostly completed dress!


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