FO and MOS 2/52: Best-friend’s-wedding dress

10 Mar

No, I didn’t make a wedding dress for my best friend. That would be my best-friend’s wedding-dress. See how important punctuation is?

What I did make was the dress I wore to my best friend’s wedding, which is scary enough anyway. And I was her maid of honour. Way to raise the stakes there!

You want some photos of the wedding right? Everyone likes wedding photos. Apart from the people who don’t. You know who you are.

Casual shot on a cell phone after the ceremony. Yep, I had purple leopard sunnies. It was bright!

Casual shot on a cell phone after the ceremony. Yep, I had purple leopard sunnies. It was bright! You’d think there’d be lots of photos – it was a wedding afterall – but most of the unofficial snaps are of the brides and we’re still waiting for the official snaps to come back that will have a bit more of me!

What a privilege to be the maid of honour at my best friend's wedding. KT is on the right and her lovely new wife is on the left

What a privilege to be the maid of honour at my best friend’s wedding. KT is on the right and her lovely new wife is on the left

Enough about weddings, what about the dress?

Luckily, my only criterion as maid of honour was to wear purple. It could be any fabric, any style, even any shade of purple so long as I turned up in purple. You’d think this would make life easy, seeing as how I have a stash out the wazoo, but did I have a length of purple fabric suitable for such a dress? NO. So off shopping I went. Now, I can’t walk into a fabric shop without falling over a squillion bolts of fabric I adore. But going looking for something specific is hard work! There was pretty much nothing out there in a beautiful, proper purple. Not purply pink, not fuchsia, not magenta, but a rich violet or iris purple. But a I did eventually buy a beautiful tissue weight dark purple silk with big black polka dots and matched it with a pretty pattern I already had (Plan A). But when I got it home, and added up the amount of time I had to make this, with the giant spectre of Christmas Holiday in the middle, I decided that faffing around with slippery silk was officially A Disaster Waiting To Happen. Nope, it had to be cotton.

Just finished, no makeup or shoes, pleased as punch with the fit of the bodice (not so pleased with dart points)

Just finished, straight off the machine onto the body, no makeup or shoes! Pleased as punch with the fit of the bodice (although not so pleased with the dart points)

After more hunting, I finally I slunk into Spotlight and found a plain purple basic cotton. I packed the fabric and my shortlist of patterns to take with me on holiday to ponder. See, being someone who likes blindingly bright colours and prints (along with gothic black outfits, but that is for another post) I kind of worried the fabric was, well, blah, and I was agonising over what to make. I thought about making it into something svelte and slinky to up the oomph factor, but I wasn’t sure how well a basic cotton would make up slinky. So I thought about blinging it up somehow, and had thoughts of piping and studs and lace and whatnot in my head and even bought a bunch of black piping. Finally I settled on a pattern that I thought would do it justice, princess seamed with a bit of flare at the knee and a nice seam detail that might suit piping (Plan B).

But I knew I’d need to muslin, I was worried about it not being the right pattern, would I look good at the wedding, etc. As I prevaricated and panicked, time slipped through my fingers and eventually I abandoned the untested pattern and decided to make something that I knew would fit me – a Frankencambie, made from the redrafted pattern that resulted after several rounds of mock-ups for my flame dress. I also decided to skip all the possible embellishments to make sure it was made in time.

Story-to-make-you-laugh-at-me-number-one. I had problems with cutting out. My modified Cambie bodice pieces are sans seam allowance and I stuffed up the cutting twice. The first time was because my new piece was upside down so I didn’t see my written reminder to add allowances. But what was stupid was the second time I stuffed up. I was cutting a second bodice front for the lining. I had the first bodice front still pinned to the paper to use as a guide for the seam allowance. Which I successfully did on three sides – and then, on the last, I cut against my paper piece, promptly chopping the seam allowance off both shell and lining! Grrr.

Once I’d cut another two bodice fronts, making it was pretty easy so soon after having made the flame dress so I’m not going to dwell on it, apart to note that I’m not overly happy with my dart points. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.

Story-to-make-you-laugh-at-me-number-two. While on holiday a local petticoat retailer had a sale. I have lots of fabric to make petticoats, with the idea being to dye each one a different colour, but there was a purple petticoat that was an exceptional price and it was a colour I didn’t already have made up, so I impulse-bought it. I had NO idea what I was going to wear it with when I bought it. I had no purple clothes! A couple of weeks after buying the petticoat I went to Made on Marion to buy a zip and thread for my dress. My good friend Busty La Belle worked there part-time and was on duty so I had a wee chat with her. She asked me if I’d seen the sale and I said, “yep, I bought a purple petticoat. NO idea what I’m going to wear it with. It’s a pretty colour, let’s see, about the colour of… say… this zip I’m holding. That I’m putting into a full circle skirted dress. Huh. I suppose I could wear the petticoat with the dress I’m making.” Yep, I had bought a purple petticoat at the same time I was making a purple dress and did not connect the two events in my head. My only defence was at the time I bought the petticoat I was still on Plan B, a completely non-petticoat compatible concept.

Story-to-make-you-laugh-at-me-number-three. Once the zip was set in and the lining was in, but before inserting the sleeves into the front neck, it was the first chance I had to test the fit, and the bodice fit like a glove! I ran out of the house to show my Mechanic Man. Of course, Mechanic Man had a customer over, poring over a bike in the workshop. This didn’t stop me from barrelling up to both of them, sleeves fluttering behind me, tips of the sweetheart falling forward to show flashes of bra, squealing “IT FITS!!!!!” Mechanic Man was suitably complimentary. Customer was surprisingly sweet about the half-crazed partly-dressed woman cackling with glee.

So yep, it fits. And I wore it (with the petticoat) at my best friend’s wedding. And I got a few compliments too. I also wore it to the wonderful Wellington blogger’s meet up.

A photo from the bloggers' meet-up. Photo courtesy Nikki.

A photo from the bloggers’ meet-up. Photo courtesy Nikki.

Also from the bloggers' meet-up. Thanks Nikki!

Also from the bloggers’ meet-up. Thanks Nikki!

Couldn't resist playing with some of the crowns at the Coronation cafe.

Couldn’t resist playing with some of the crowns at the Coronation Cafe.

BUT I’m not sure I love it. I love this colour. I love sweetheart necklines. I love circle skirts. My only ever reservation about the Cambie was the gathered shoulders (as generally I dislike gathers) but I even like that in the black of my flame dress. But together, I feel that these features and this colour come across as too sweet and young somehow. I bit too… well… 1980s bridesmaidsy!

Is it just me?

And if not, what can I do to fix it?

One of the ideas I had originally had was studs. I found some small dainty star shaped studs at Made on Marion and thought that a row of little silver studs along the neckline could be a bit different – sweet-meets-a-tiny-bit-punk. I’m keen to give that a go.

Or maybe some turquoise ribbon along the hem? Sequins? Feathers? Or just wear it with a belt to give it a bit more edge? Or just stop being so damn fussy and wear the damn dress?

15 Responses to “FO and MOS 2/52: Best-friend’s-wedding dress”

  1. Calico Stretch March 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    wow that is a great colour on you so I’m surprised you don’t have any other purple! What are you going to do with the purple dotty silk? That’s more purple!!

    I don’t know what to do about the gathers …. the studs sound very interesting …..though the dress is pretty….. Hmmmm.

    • missjoiedevivre March 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks! I will still make up Plan A at some point, when I have lots of time to cope with carefully managing the slippery little beggar 🙂 I actually think I have enough fabric leftover to remake the sleeves without gathers, I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe that’d do it… Thanks!

  2. Teresa Buckthought March 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I really loved this dress when I saw you wearing it and thought it was the kind of style of dress I would like to make for myself. I also love the idea of punking it up with a few studs – I shall have to keep an eye out for those next time I’m in Maid on Marion.

    • missjoiedevivre March 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate that. I cleaned Made on Marion out of the little star studs but they’ve got some other great ones too.

  3. kaitui_kiwi March 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Yeah punk it up! I think some heart studs at the shoulder would be cool too.

    • missjoiedevivre March 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Thanks! I’m keen to add the studs, need to practice with a couple first though 🙂

      • kaitui_kiwi March 11, 2013 at 10:55 am #

        You could sort of masking tape them on to see how they look before properly applying them.

  4. Sandra March 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    I think a belt would break it up a bit. I like the thought of the studs – maybe along the bodice where the straps come in?

    • missjoiedevivre March 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Thanks! Yeah, I was thinking right along the neckline and under the straps. Hmm, the studs are getting enthusiasm from people!

  5. lloubb March 11, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Ugh, cutting off both pieces’ seam allowance at the same almost made me want to throw my own scissors 🙂
    I love this color! I think the dress is gorgeous as is, but it also seems to be enough of a blank canvas to be able to add some fun studs. Good luck!

    • missjoiedevivre March 11, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      I did say some bad words that I prefer not to type up 🙂

      Thanks for the comments! I’ll be sure to let you know what I end up doing.

  6. Jo March 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Well, if you like the idea of studs and you like the idea of a belt… why not a studded belt?? lol 🙂 Also, I think maybe changing the sleeves to be un-gathered could be a thing, though if it was me I doubt I could be bothered… lol, I HATE unpicking things once they’re finished!!
    Sounds like a lovely wedding, well done getting the dress together so well for it! 😀

    • missjoiedevivre March 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Hmm, interesting idea on the belt! TBH I’m not sure I can be bothered with the sleeves, now that I’ve looked at it, its more work than I first thought…

  7. Roobeedoo March 14, 2013 at 2:23 am #

    That is a fabulous colour on you! If it feels too plain you could applique something on the skirt…? But I would just throw some dramatic jewellery at it 🙂

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