The August Wedding Guest Dress

Summer weddings mean light fabrics, florals and pastel colours. For my friend’s recent wedding in Kent, I opted to make something fun but also serious enough for a church ceremony, which to me meant knee length, covered shoulders and a modest neckline. My thinking for this dress was quite different to the March Wedding Guest Dress I made to account for the season but also for the general mood I sensed each wedding would have. (Only time would tell whether I was right or not!)

I first thought of a dress with a ruffle after seeing this Burda Shift Dress in one of the Burda magazines.

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As I have a 34DD chest though, I knew having a ruffle over my bust wasn’t going to look right on me so I needed to keep hunting for a suitable pattern. I also wanted something a little less ‘office clothing’ so it could transition to the evening party well.

I finally settled on the Burda 6920 (View B) pattern, with the ruffle flowing down the length of one side of the body, and loose cap sleeves included.

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Finding the right fabric was a bit of a headache. I wanted something similar to the fabric I used for the very first Wedding Guest Dress in terms of it’s drape but in a brighter, more vivid pattern. I considered a lot of options before settling on some from the now rebranded Adam Ross Fabrics; a lovely cotton-blend with a light green background and large flowers in pink and turquoise. It was only around £3.50 a metre so it was a bargain!

Like many patterns, the main structure of this dress came together vary quickly. I had meant to grade the pattern up a size from the waist down but I got distracted whilst cutting out and missed out on doing this on the side panels. It made it a bit tight! Fearing I’d either waste all my hard work so far by having to start again or bust a seam along my derrière mid-way through the wedding day, I had to come up with a solution. I chose to insert a triangle of fabric (practically a godet, I guess) part way down the back and celebrate it as a design choice! 😀 It gave it a bit more interest from behind and also lent it a more relaxed, less office-wear, vibe. What d’ya reckon?!

I toyed with the idea of lining it just to achieve a nice, neat look inside but I eventually decided against it mainly because I was worried it would make it too warm to wear if it was a hot summer’s day (which it did turn out to be eventually!).
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(I’ve only cropped my partner out because I respect his right to privacy, not because I didn’t want him in the photo!!) 😉

 

This time I did get some photos of me wearing it on the day, thanks mainly to my friend Z. I don’t have any of the back with me wearing it so I’ve added these from when I took some photos of the dress on Agnes.
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Overall, I was very pleased with the result. I was glad I had opted for a looser fitting dress and in such a breathable, light material. The neckline and sleeves helped prevent me from burning whilst outside for the drinks reception and it felt appropriate to wear in a religious building. And the ruffle had a whale of a time when I was jiving to Chuck Berry! 😉

I have another wedding coming up in April 2019 so I’m already thinking about what I’ll be making for that! 😀

 

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The March Wedding Guest Dress

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.

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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.

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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.)

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Yes, I Am Still Living…

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Photo by Alexandre Godreau on Unsplash

 

Well, hello! You might be forgiven for thinking I (and this blog) no longer existed due to my prolonged absence. I have been crafting various projects behind the scenes but, for one reason or another, I haven’t blogged about them. It kind of started following the wedding I attended in March, at which I wore a handmade dress. I didn’t get any photos of it on the day and so I kept thinking I must get dressed up again and take some snaps so I could share it. This was during the cold snap (it snowed on the wedding day) so I didn’t get around to it and then I just forgot!

We then remodelled our bathroom (Well, Karl did the actual remodelling – I cleaned up constantly and provided moral support), which resulted in the whole house being covered in dirt and dust and wasn’t particularly conducive to creativity.

Follow this by the hot weather we’ve had this summer and I didn’t have any energy for anything, much less sitting in my hot sewing room or standing in front of the stove. Luckily, the weather is back to good old British unpredictability and so the sewing machine has been unleashed once more!

I will take some photos of the March Wedding Guest Dress soon and blog them! I’m also going to a wedding on Thursday so I will blog the August Wedding Guest Dress too. (They’ll be an April Wedding Guest Dress next year thanks to another friend getting married!)

I’m currently working on a jumpsuit so watch this space for that, and I can now share the Save the Date cards I made for my wedding next year as they have been posted out. 🙂

Yes, I AM BACK! 😀

 

What’s Cookin’ in the House?

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Clearly far too chilled out and tidy to be a photo of me actually cooking… Not to mention the very masculine hands 😉 (Photo by Max Delsid on Unsplash)

As you may well know, I’m no cook. Baking, yes, fire away – I enjoy the creative process (and the eating part isn’t half bad either!). Cooking though is not my cup of tea and it tends to cause me a lot of stress. Karl and I liking and eating quite different foods to one another also causes additional stress, and, as a veggie, I’m limited as to what I will do with meat if I’m cooking – those ‘season and shake’ bags are a bit of a god-send. Continue reading “What’s Cookin’ in the House?”