After I successfully made a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in June 2016, I decided I would only wear handmade dresses to every wedding I was invited to.
The main reason is I love making pretty dresses but I don’t wear them a lot in the normal way, partly due to habit (I wear jeans a lot) and partly due to practicality (the need for high heels, windy days, the need to shave legs, etc.).
Weddings are a special blend of fancy and originality, meaning choosing and amending a pattern and selecting fabric is good fun. For the June 2016 wedding I opted for a floor length, sleeveless dress to protect against the sun (I burn easily) and to look pretty whilst stood around drinking reception drinks.
Knowing March weddings normally take place indoors, I opted for a short dress this time. I figured (knowing the bride) there’d be plenty of dancing in the evening so I went for a fuller skirt and a bit of evening ‘glam’. For the daytime I could wear a short jacket (bought from New Look years ago) or a pashmina so as not to flash my shoulders throughout the formal bits. Being a civil ceremony though I didn’t feel I had to be super conservative.
I used the Butterick 6129 (View A) pattern as I liked the length of the dress, I loved the off-the-shoulder element and I LOVED the fact it had pockets!! Pockets are just the best addition any dress can have.
The skirt has some really nice pleats that give it movement without being too full and make it more eye-catching. The pleat detail on the straps was another nice feature.
For the fabric I opted for a Cadbury’s purple taffata. I was a little dubious when it first arrived (I ordered it online) because it looked so shiny but I persevered and began to like the way it caught the light. It felt quite ‘party-ish’. I managed to find an almost identical shade for the lining fabric too, which felt like a bit of a sewing win. 😉
Here are some ‘work in progress’ photos…
It’s been so long since I sewed this that I can’t remember much about what alterations I had to make! I know I had to take quite a bit of fabric out of the back (which is quite normal for me) and I shortened the straps. I attempted the method of sewing elastic inside the straps that the instructions state but it didn’t really work so I just opted for making them fit to me. It did restrict my movement slightly but only if I wanted to raise my arms above my head, which isn’t something I tend to need to do…!
I had to put the zip in more than once but that’s quite normal for me. :s I tried to make it invisible but I ended up stitching down each side of it to ensure the zip itself remained covered so it wasn’t exactly invisible.
To prevent me needing to hold down the skirt constantly if we went outside, I made the skirt lining closer to a pencil skirt shape that couldn’t blow up.
I recently got this dress out again to take the photos below and I was pleasantly surprised to look at the lining again and see how neat it looked. I tend to always think my garments look scruffy on the inside and I’ve decided recently to spend more time on learning couture finishing techniques but on this project I actually did okay.
I only took one photo on the wedding day itself, and it’s a selfie in a mirror with my jacket on so it doesn’t show much of the dress. I’ve included it below but I’ve since taken some photos of the dress on Agnes (dressmakers dummy) to show the details.
Overall, I am pleased with the result and it was comfortable to wear. The same can’t be said for my shoes…! It snowed more or less all day but indoors was very warm so I made the right choice for my pattern. I had some lovely compliments on it and the bride, who is always such a sweet, selfless person, made me smile by coming up to me and exclaiming ‘I love your dress!’ which is usually what brides hear rather than say!
(BTW, I think it looks nicer in reality than how it does in photographs due to the way light bounces off it in pictures.)