Wednesday, July 31, 2013

the dress I made for the wedding

Well, I've been asked about the dress I'm making for the second wedding.

Like I said, I didn't have anything in my closet suitable, so I went through my clippings - and decided on this -

It's beautiful, isn't it?  But don't get excited. I knew I wasn't going to find that wonderful, embroidered fabric; and I don't have her slim, long waist or broader shoulders either.. What appealed to me was the gracefulness of it, the long, sleeveless coolness for the dog days of early August.

So my first task was to find a pattern. I didn't think I could just come across a dress pattern like this one, but was pretty sure there must be a blouse pattern which I could combine with an a-line skirt design I already have. And I was right - I got Butterick 5890 on sale - almost exactly what I was looking for. My idea was to buy some cheap but pretty fabric to try it out on and get it perfected, then buy some nicer fabric and make another one for the wedding. A suggested fabric on the pattern envelope was eyelet - everybody loves that! I found some on which was only four dollars and something per yard and I bought plenty. I think this is about when I found the Chinese seamstress on Etsy and ordered my other dress - which took much stress off me; but I still wanted to continue with my creation. The fabric was a poly/cotton, which I really don't like, but since this was to be an experiment, I wanted to spend as little as possible, so I put up with the fabric content I didn't want. Here it is waiting to be hemmed - pretty, at least.

Like I've said, I make lots of mistakes when sewing, so I went very slowly, in between household chores; it took far longer than anticipated. I realized I didn't need to combine it with my skirt pattern - I just extended the line of the blouse, which is rather long and full - much easier! I cut out my size on the pattern piece but it was huge and I had to take in the sides more than once. The armholes were quite big and needed adjusting. It also took me a couple of tries to get the bias binding on the neck edge to lay flat. (much spraying and pressing!) Oh, and the invisible zipper - after sewing it in twice with a method from Threads, I ended up stitching it in by hand. After three rows of stitching, now it's perfect.

Since the fabric quality is cheap, it's kind of thin and I realized early on I'd need an underdress for it. I used some bleached muslin I bought for quilt backing and just made another dress (which went quite fast, by the way). I left out the zipper, feeling I should just tack it inside somehow.

So I decided to hand-stitch it to the zipper tape all the way down, and also a little on the shoulder seams.

I got it to fit in nicely (praise God and all the saints!) As there's no time to make another version, I think it'll do well enough with my white sandals, silver hoops, and my mother's white beads. I also trecently bought a green cardigan which just happens to look very good with this dress - I always have to be sure I won't freeze in air conditioning.

So, there it is - not as flowing as the inspiration - I will have to try it again with a wider fabric than the usual 44" to get that effect, I think. Yes, I definitely plan to make it again.


  1. I like A line dresses. They are my favorite. Simple. Elegant.

    Very pretty fabric.

  2. Lisa, it looks lovely. Beautiful work.

  3. Well done, it really is quite hard to get a good result when you first start making clothes, I was so impatient, till I found that you need to transfer all markings and take it slow and careful or it just won't fit properly and look well made.
    Press every seam as you go, will always help to give a nice finish.
    The lovely blue and white fabric should look great and be nice and cool to wear,this is just the style of dress that will become a favourite.
    The reason the dress in the clipping looks so elegant , is lots of white background fabric, with just small amounts of pattern, if you want this look, just keep looking for some fabric with lote of white background.
    Could we have a pic of you wearing this lovely dress at the wedding ?

  4. Thank you, ladies! Margaret, I have no idea if any photo of me will turn up - I'll see what I can do.
    I was thinking of you while making the dress - thinking of the quilt pictures you'd rather see!