Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The beginning of the Bridesmaids dress saga

A bit of background - the HusBeast and me have been together a long time. We'd been together so long that people had stopped asking us when we were going to get married, we'd been batting that question off for that many years.

So when we finally decided to go for it, we knew that not only was it was going to be huge, it had to be awesome. Tip to the young non-marrieds out there - be the first of your friends to get married, before they have significant others and children that you also need to invite!! Sorry - that sounds mean - it was the best day ever, mainly as we have the best friends and family in the world.

Right, back on track.

As I've said before, I'm really only a hobby dressmaker. I love to do crafty things, but I can probably count on one hand the number of decent items I've made and wore more than once. I'm not sure why the idea of making all seven dresses seemed like a good one, but once i'd had it, then dismissing it seemed to feel a bit like I'd be a failure.

This is where I started doing a lot of googling, I was desperate for any tips that might help with this daft task i'd just assigned myself. Although I read loads of bits and pieces, I couldn't find anyone who'd undertaken such a number of dresses... I should have taken the hint!

My girls are all great. They are all friends from different times: secondary school, uni, training, and a sister-in-law, I've been a bridesmaid a lot and I know from experience that finding a dress to suit everyone would have been a nightmare. I think we've got a girl who has every shape there!!

Secretly, I always wanted the ByHandLondon Elisalex dress - I love it. I made myself one out of old curtain fabric from Oxfam and felt a million dollars in it. I remember reading a blog post on it where they commented on how the extenuated, almost cartoon-like shape of the hips makes your waist look tiny and is just so feminine and fun. Not all the girls agreed though, especially the more pear shaped ones, who were really anxious about that shape of silhouette.

So the first pattern I found was the Simplicity 1606

These photos are terrible, by the way. I'm wearing a dress made out of a bed sheet from Oxfam, and slippers, and a very goofy face... My dedication to show you the process!

I thought this would be a good plan, as it comes (I first typed this as 'cups' - can you tell what I was thinking about?!) already sized with multiple bra sizes. Have any of you tried to make this pattern, or one of this range? I'm not sure if it's the same with all the patterns in this range, but it advises you against a toile and you kinda make the dress but baste it together only, then take it apart, make fitting adjustments, then put it all back together properly. With some boning in there too. All a bit confusing. And the dress, to be so descriptive, was just a bit 'meh'.

The next pattern I found was pretty similar, mccalls m6557

I bet you're all gutted - but I haven't got a photo of this one. In fact, I'm not even sure I got past making the top. Again, I'm not sure why I went for this one. I mean, it's a nice dress. But it's not a nice enough dress, for a bridesmaid. Well to be fair, I'm sure it would have been, if I wanted it to be ;)

I think I might have been procrastinating!

As I said before - I just wanted the Elisalex. From the beginning, the wedding was going to be fun and full of dancing, and this dress would work so well. But I also knew that half my girls had already said they didn't want it. Hmmm, tricksy.

I hadn't made the Flora dress yet and (i'm sorry to say) didn't think it was overly inspiring, so continued looking around for a pattern that maybe might go along with the Elisalex, until one of the bridesmaids phoned me with the fabulous news that she was expecting her second baby, which was due about 6 weeks before the wedding. Meaning she'd need a dress with easy access to feed in - and so the decision was made. With the wrap style Flora top, just a bit more fabric in the top would give her the flexibility to feed (or so I thought... it didn't quite work out this way but that's for another day!).

If you think of the flexibility of the patterns, they offer both round neck and v-neck, and totally different skirts, the option of sleeves and pockets, and even straight or high/low hem options. After a mammoth email to all the girls with 8 million links to different blogs and Pinterest pictures, it meant they could all pick and choose which bits of which they thought they'd be most comfortable in. 

So there's the story of choosing a pattern to match seven very different figures. I've kinda left out all the cups of tea, panicking, blog searching, internet shopping, panicking, and general procrastination, but I'm sure you can all imagine it ;)

Next time, I'll talk fabric shopping and the first few dresses.

lx



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