Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Wedding-Guest Dress Journey

When I found out that my sister-in-law will be getting married I jumped at another opportunity to whip up something extra special and learn something new as I go.

I envisioned the dress to be one-shoulder, empire waist (to hide my tummy),  in nude color and lightweight (considering that it might be a very hot summer day). I also fancied a fan-pleated feature on the dress with a little bit of beading to add some flair.

Sketch of my vision

Things took a different turn when I discovered that the bridesmaids are wearing a dress in nude. So fabric shopping had been a pain as I look for a color that would suit my taste. From assymetrical, one-shoulder dress I had to gave in to settling with a strapless dress because I failed to make a bodice pattern (I already have too many patterns and do not want to buy another one just for this occasion). On the day of the wedding, I gave a sigh of relief that I did not do a one-shoulder dress after seeing that the bridesmaids are wearing exactly that same style.

Mock up of the fan-pleated feature in craft paper

Draped version of the dress

Took me 2-3 months of on and off sewing to complete this dress. This includes incidents of ripping the fan-pleat out after spending hours and hours one night of folding and hand-sewing them to the bodice after discovering that the fan is getting squashed by my underarm because it sits awkwardly under it. I almost gave up at this point. Luckily, I didn't.

The fan-pleat is folded and secured by pins - just so I can have a visual. Did the folding by hand.

The dress when it was 60% finished. The skirt just needs to be sewn in and lining has to be added. However, not until the fan-pleat mishap of getting squashed under my arms.

I also had second thoughts about how plain the dress looks (color-wise, as pictured above), and so tried a few things with it like overlaying a lace on the skirt part,

overlaying black chiffon to break the monotone style from the bodice and skirt,

adding 2 rows of narrow trim on the empire waist, or

adding a wide lace on the empire waist.

And after asking my husband, the wide lace won.

The dress a few weeks before the wedding. Just trying it on to make sure it still fits.

The bodice is boned to make sure it doesn't slip off of me and it's really really tight fitted. I finished it a month before the wedding so I had to make sure that I don't loose or gain too much weight in between.
The beading on the center of each flower on the lace. All done by hand.

Bracelet and earrings I also made to go with the whole emsemble.

Learned a lot from this project - like boning, fully-lining a dress (most, if not all, of my projects prior to this are unlined), and most of all - PATIENCE. I have never been more patient in sewing and ripping off seams and sewing them back again and getting the dress to fit. Just made all my next projects to look and fit better on me (hopefully).

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