Tips – Prep
-Clean Up! Because wedding dresses are (usually) white, it’s imperative your sewing room is cleaned of excess color thread and velvet fluff. No one wants flecks of color sewn into their dress!
-Cover ironing/pressing board with clean white (or natural) muslin. Even a brand new or unstained color cover can potentially mess with white fabric. Besides, who wants to put a new cover on every time you sew on white? While we’re on the subject of ironing board protection, if you’ve never used a pressing cloth, now is the time! (I would have saved my stays a stain if I had taken my own advice!)
-Clean the iron as well! When is the last time you’ve cleaned your iron? Yeah, if you’re like me, it’s been a while! Clean the sole plate (this thread has a lot of tips), but I find that rubbing with a damp cloth and then running over a crumpled sheet of tin foil does the trick. Don’t forget to clean the inside, as well! (Vinegar works wonders)
-Swap to a new needle. Really, you should do this for every new project, but it’s especially important when sewing on delicate silks to have a brand-new needle of the appropriate size. (Here’s a good article about different types of sewing machine needles.)
-Wash up! It may seem trivial, but wash your hands. It probably is a bit excessive to wash your hands every 30 minutes, but do be sure to wash after eating, painting the house, petting the resident cat and/or dog.
-Speaking of our furry friends……Most seamstresses I know have at least one furry mascot hanging out in the sewing room. I’m not going to the extreme of completely kicking my dogs out of the room, but do be careful that they don’t maul the fabric! I’ll be doing fittings and storing the gown in a separate (closed door) room.
-Sharpen up. If your scissors or rotary cutter are dull, you’ll be tearing your hair out dealing with silk and chiffon. It’s not worth the pain, buy a new rotary blade, or sharpen scissors.
-Cutting. Taffeta, chiffon and basically all silk products are a crazy pain to work with. Usually when starting projects, I’ll cut out all the pieces I need at the very beginning, but since there are so many factors into keeping the fabric clean, as un-frayed as possible, etc., I’ll be cutting out only the pieces I need at the time. It takes longer, but is worth the headache of taming the wild silk fraymonster.