For Jeff & Jen's wedding, my husband was best man, so I decided I wanted to make a fancy dress that would look good next to his tux. I bought this pattern a few months ago during the Vogue pattern sale, and I was never really sure what I wanted to do with it. I don't remember exactly how my vision came together, but I remembered that Davey Fabrics had some turquoise crepe-back satin, and I decided that it had to become this dress.Now, I must explain to you my timeline the week of the wedding. I worked with my Dad from Monday to Wednesday, as I always do. Tuesday night, I came home and spent 5 hours and 40 minutes on Jen's wedding dress, hoping to finish it so my hubby could take it with him when he headed up to help with the wedding on Thursday morning. I didn't make it on time. I thought I was nearly done (maybe an hour left?!), but as these things often turn out, I ended up spending 3 1/2 more hours on it and finally finished it midday on Thursday. I had driven Tyler to pick up the holiday trailer first thing that morning, and after I dropped him off at his truck, I went straight to Davey Fabrics and picked up my turquoise satin and a matching zipper. And I must say, I looked at Fabricland, and nothing they had even compared to this satin. When I was cutting it, I was forever marvelling at how wonderful it felt! And it was only $8.95/m! Score! Anyways, I finally got started on my dress Thursday afternoon. I started by making a waist corset (from the ribs down) out of 10 oz. canvas, and I finished that in about an hour and a half. You can see the 'v' of the corset peeking out from under my bodice muslin. I didn't finish any of my edges. I just threw it together and said ok. It does have boning in it, however.
Next, I whipped up a bodice muslin. I was very wary of how the midriff section would fit, since there are no seams or darts on the front section. I have to say, this pattern is absolutely brilliant. The midriff fits like a dream. And the pleated bodice is also wonderful.
I cut a straight size 16. I made a couple minor tweaks to my muslin. I took in the side seams above the waist, and let out the side seams below the waist. The only other change I made was to raise the underarm 5/8", and I raised the center back 1 1/8". I'm impressed that I didn't even need a swayback adjustment! Maybe that's because the corset sucked me in and made me stand up straight. Either way, I'm thrilled with the fit of this bodice. And from seeing it done up in cotton, wouldn't this make a super cute cotton dress? I'm adding that to my never-ending list of must-makes. :)
The skirt had me a little worried. I didn't like the shape of the pattern pieces, plus they sucked up a lot of yardage. Last year, when I was making skirts for Lindsey's bridesmaids, I had a heck of a time finding a decent skirt. I ended up going with a semi-circle style. So, that's what I decided to do for this dress. I dug through my stash and found this pattern. Bingo.
Since I was sewing this on well below the waist and needed more width, I simply laid my midriff pattern piece over the skirt piece and guesstimated how wide the skirt should be. I ended up cutting the size 20 and I added 1/4" to the side seams. (it matched up perfectly!) Now, notice this is a floor length skirt. I sewed it on several inches below the waist. I still had to add 2" to the length, and it could have been an inch longer, because I barely had enough to do a 3/8" rolled hem, and it wouldn't have hurt to be half an inch longer. How short are these people they draft for? Nevermind. This is exactly the reason I learned to sew in the first place! Measure twice, cut once! Apparently, I only measured once.I guess now would be a good time to tell you that I had asked my friend Nicole (who is an amazing seamstress, and lives only 10 minutes from me!) to come help me pin my hem before she went to work on Friday morning. She would be coming at 8:30 am. That meant I needed to have the dress put together enough to hem the skirt! Anyhoo, back to my crazy timeline. I finished my muslin tweaking Thursday at 8:30 pm, at which time I cut out the rest of my dress. I finished cutting at 12:40 am. I kept sewing until 2:15 am, and what you see here is all I managed to sew together. Can you feel my panic?
After Nicole left, I unstitched all 3 sections from what you see here so I could add the satin midriff, serge all my seams, etc. By the way, in this shot, you can see my waist corset. It not only sucked off 3 inches from my waist, but did you see my posture?!
Now, picture me taking a big chunk out of my day to finish that lovely sheath dress, do a fitting, go out and buy a strapless bra and some supper, and then madly getting back to work. I was beyond exhausted. I was bone tired. I had been since the weekend before, when I was madly sewing for Jen's last wedding dress fitting. But I wanted this dress, and by golly, I was gonna get it! So, I worked through the exhaustion and back pain, and I did it. I cranked out a 14-hour dress in 28 hours. And here it is. *lets out huge sigh of 'holy crap, I'm finally done!!!'*
This is my favorite part of the whole dress. I love the back straps! They are so cool! And to think, I was almost considering changing them to plain old criss cross straps. I'm so glad I went with it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!
The front bodice ain't too shabby either! I was getting a bit of gaping on the front, so I pulled the ends down about 3/4", and that seemed to cinch it in nicely.
I also like that it gives me a waistline! Speaking of which, here's a funny story. At the wedding, at the end of the night, I was getting pretty exhausted from wearing the corset all day. So, I took it off. And you know what? The dress looked exactly the same! Since the midriff has 3 layers, it sucked me in almost the same way, only much gentler. It felt completely comfortable. The only way I noticed it was snug was that I couldn't stick my tummy out. So, fitting it with the corset was a great idea, but who knew I didn't have to wear the actual corset? Next time, I'm wearing it without. :D
I am so glad I took the plunge and took on an intimidating dress project 2 days before the wedding. It was worth every single ounce of suffering. I haven't mentioned how much I enjoyed sewing this dress. Right from the bodice muslin, I was in love.
Okay, enough chatter. If you've stuck with me this long, thank you! We're off to the wedding now. After I finished my dress at 8:00 pm on Friday, I packed up and drove to the wedding. It was 2 1/2 hours away, and I got there at midnight. And you can bet I had a great nights' sleep!
A great dress needs a great pair of shoes! I bought these high-tops last year to go with my new cargo capris. I knew I wanted to wear them with this dress, but I didn't realize they would match!
You can see them peeking out under my skirt. This is our formal portrait. I felt a bit overdressed around most of the casually dressed wedding goers, but when I was with my husband or anyone from the wedding party, I fit right in.