Thursday, 24 November 2016

Finally.... The bridesmaid dresses!

Following on from my last post......

With the Bride sorted it was time to think about the other ladies in the bridal party. We deliberated for a long time about colour and style. I advised a heavy crepe for beautiful, dramatic drape, but the colour was a problem! We started with prints, then to corals then full circle to navy blue (after a consultation with the Mother and Grandma of the Bride!). As you know, I am a colour lover through and through, and I have to admit I was a little worried about this choice. Sometimes navy can wash people out (well me at least!). However, when the bride turned up with the fabric at my door, it wiped all worries away. It was such a rich navy with a beautiful shimmer and paired with bright colours I knew it would look gorgeous! The ambition of colour was achieved.....

The wedding accessories. Flowers and hair piece by Roots Florel Designs. Bags and confetti by me

Photo Credit: Alex Dunderdale.

Next, the design. We turned to the other girls. I gave them a choice from 4 By Hand London patterns - the Anna, the Kim, the Flora and the Elisalex (P.S have you seen they have 25% off all pattern this weekend?!).  I, of course, chose my beloved Anna, another followed suit (after a little persuasion!) and the other girls wanted the Flora wrap bodice. All perfect choices for our beautiful drapey fabric. As the bridesmaids were dotted all over the country and one in France (!) I knew I would realistically only have one chance for an in-person fitting. I sewed up some toiles after the girls had sent over their measurements and popped them in the post for a Skype fitting.

All looked okay at this point so I tweaked the toiles a little and took them for their in-person fitting at the Hen do (you can read about the crafting I did for the hen do here).  The Anna fitted like a dream, but the dart positions on the wrap Flora were out on both girls. Once I was home I tried on the toiles myself and noted similar problems so I hoped if I fitted it to myself they would fit! With a little feedback from Elisalex and a little experimentation, I soon had a good fit (on me at least!). I moved the waist dart by 1" towards CF and widened the the bust dart. I then held my breath and cut into the beautiful lining (Regent Street from Moda available here).  I stabilised the neckline with some twill tape as suggested on the By Hand London sew along. This worked a dream at preventing any unsightly gaping on the big day.

I staggered the dresses, and I made mine first. After I had finished my bodice, I draped some skirt styles around myself. We had discussed a knee length skirt but at this point I thought the dress needed some more drama. So I cut myself a tea length half circle skirt. I tried it on and instantly knew it was the right decision. SO swishy!

After prancing around my living room, I decided I needed to line the skirts. I chose this gorgeous pale pink chiffon from Husqvarna studio in Bath. I let the lining and skirts hang overnight, and I am sure glad I did, just LOOK...

After I had evened out the hem, I used my rolled hem foot to finish the raw edge. Pretty beautiful if I do say myself!

I hand basted the zips before machine stitching. However, I still had some slight unsightly puckering down the back seam. I unpicked, tried stabilising with some light weight interfacing, and even purchased a walking foot. You name it I tried it. I had made it better, but at this point (a week before the wedding!) I decided that no one else would notice - I was right (at least I hope I was)! If anyone has any tips inserting zips into lightweight drapey fabrics (worse on a skirt cut on the bias?!) do let me know!

I hand stitched the bodice lining in place in the Annas and used some matching pale pink bias binding to enclose the waist seam in the Floras. I think this is the only photo I managed to snap of this...

Waiting to be hand finished at the hem.

Now I was ready for my finishing touches. I decided to hand-embroider the girl's names into each of the dresses in a matching pale pink thread.

I hemmed the main skirt using the same matching pink bias binding for a flash of colour as we walked or span.

Showing off to the lady of the moment.

And that was it...

Arriving on the big day with ALL the important dresses.
... or so I thought. 

It was the day before the wedding and the final fitting. I grabbed each of the girls to check the dresses fitted. Lesson learnt ... NEVER do a fitting the day before a wedding. One of the girls had been on holiday and the By Hand London patterns have very little ease! I was worried about the Floras, but they both fit perfectly... it was the Anna (a dream fit I said - Pah!). I needed to unpick the zip, and with no sewing machine, I had to re-sew the zip by hand. I had very little S/A to play with, but thankfully I had overlocked all the seams inside, or I think the bodice would have disintegrated! 

Oh... the stress. Photo Credit: Stu Chaplin.

We did one last fitting before dinner, and the dress would do up... just! I had a rather sleepless night (not due to Maid of honour speech nerves), but by some miracle, it fitted beautifully in the morning - that one sausage for breakfast really paid off eh?! ;) 

Four dresses that fit! Phew!
I had a spot more sewing to do on the morning of the wedding. I sewed a family heirloom into the bride's bouquet for luck.

Then we were ready!

Photography by Jake Baggaley

It was an absolute pleasure to sew these dresses for a wonderful friend on such a beautiful day. I couldn't have asked for better ladies to sew for. Lessons learnt and memories to be cherished. 

Until next time... sending lots of love and giggles,

Vic x


  1. You've really excelled yourself, you all look stunning and well done on getting them all to fit so well. Everything just goes togetherperfectly, it almost wants me to get married again! :-)

  2. Fabulous dresses! I'm making my bridesmaids dresses in navy too. I was leaning towards the Betty dress but now I'm looking at the Anna....too many decisions! Was the crepe nice to work with and do you know where the bride got it? You all look absolutely beautiful,well done.

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