Sunday, 3 February 2013

Wedding outfits




The wait is over - my mother-in-law's wedding took place yesterday! Everything was perfect - the sky was so blue, the sun was shining, and the wind blew the confetti up in the sky which was simply beautiful. 

I'm pleased to report back that the wedding outfits worked well, too. First up, the bridesmaid outfit. After quite a lot of effort (especially after my toile a couple of months back), I finished Butterick 5457, with crepe backed satin in purple and lilac. I teamed it up with the bolero, which kept me warm(ish) most of the day. 

I know with the toile, lots of you provided plenty of wonderful ideas and suggestions, so you may be interested in finding out how the actual dress turned out, and what alterations I've ended up making. So here's my pattern review (following the format on PR this time!):

Pattern Description: Lined dresses A, B, C, D, E have fitted bodices, boning, gathered skirt and back zipper opening. Length is 2'' above mid-knee, B: contrast midriff. C: contrast bodice. D: contrast underdress. E: bubble skirt. I made a view C with a contrast bodice. 

Pattern Sizing: 6-12. I made a size 6 and the fit was good. But as a petite lady (5'3, 161cm), I did not need any petite adjustment to the bodice, so if you want to make this for anyone taller, I would consider lengthening the bodice. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? I think so!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Other than the pattern pieces (the lack of mention of the fact that one lining layer was really underlining until you start sewing), the instructions themselves were fine. I think marking this pattern as "easy" is, however, misleading. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really liked the design, as I think it makes a wonderful pattern for a bridesmaid dress. The pleats were lovely, but I didn't want gathers in my skirt for a formal dress. 

Personally I think the pattern could be slightly better drafted - For the lining layer where boning is inserted, I ignored pattern pieces 3,4,5 (bodice),8 and 9 (midriff), and redrafted them so that the bodice and midriff pieces are one (if that makes sense - so in total my bodice lining had 5 pieces - one centre front, two side fronts and two back pieces). This reduced bulk at the waistline, and made inserting boning a lot easier.  

For the midriff pieces (for the fashion fabric), I had great trouble stretching the edges with a acetate satin for my toile. However, using crepe backed satin this time, although I left plenty of excess to the sides, the fabric stretched far enough on the bias. I would recommend testing the stretch prior to cutting, in case you are using fabric that is stubborn. 

Fabric used: I used thick crepe backed satin in purple for the midriff and skirt , and the same fabric in lilac for the contrast bodice (purchased form Royal Fabrics in Leamington Spa). I used a floral viscose lining too (purchased from Decorative Cloth, also in Leam). I also used spiral steel boning (from Vena Cave designs online). 

Pattern alterations or any design changes: 

1) I shortened the skirt by a couple of inches
2) I changed the skirt by ignoring the gathers but adding pleats. I drafted the skirt pattern based on Simplicity 4070
3) I changed the lining pattern - see above
4) I cut the underlining not in a lining fabric, but in silk organza for its stability and lack of bulk
5) I did a handpicked zipper following this tutorial 
6) I lined the skirt by using this technique again and love the neat result
7) I added a waist stay and sewed this between the lining and fashion fabric, using buttonholes to pull it through at the back. NB: Compared to the method of leaving a portion of the side back seams open, which is what I did for my wedding dress according to recommendations by lovely PR members, I did find the buttonhole method less neat, and more troublesome)


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would not sew it again as this was for a special occasion, and took me quite a long time to complete. However, I would recommend it to others who are more experienced sewers, rather than beginners (despite the claim to be an "easy" pattern), but would recommend a toile strongly. 

Conclusion: I think it is a pattern with a great design, but not perfect drafting. I would recommend spending some time over the pattern pieces before starting to cut and sew to get lovely results. 

Before I forget, there is also another item that I made - the bolero for the bride! After searching for a matching fabric for months, I found a lovely satin material from the Fancy Silk Store on our meet up in Birmingham. I used Butterick 4731, view B with sleeves from view A (same as what I did for my bolero, so we had matching boleros on the day :D)  

Didn't my mother-in-law look fabulous? It was such a lovely day indeed, where we celebrated the wonderful relationship and love of a truly great couple. 

13 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! Everything turned out beautifully!

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  2. Seconded. Your dress looks so professional and the colours really suit you!

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    1. Thank you very much Catherine :)

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  3. You look great in it! Well done! :)

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  4. Oh wow, absolutely gorgeous! I love the colour of your outfit. Simply stunning!

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  5. I love how you have used the two different colours in the dress. It is so pretty and such a flattering shape on you. Just lovely x

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