Hello fellow fabric lovers,
Today I am here with an epic blog post that’s been long in the making - 14 dresses for my 7 bridesmaids!
I couldn’t actually believe my eyes when I got an email last year with the incredibly generous Lisa from White Tree Fabrics agreeing to provide all the fabrics for my bridesmaids - and that is for 2 dresses - a chiffon dress with a jersey slip for each! It made our DIY wedding even more special to be able to make these dresses out of beautiful fabrics and have White Tree involved!
Let’s start at the beginning…
My amazing boyfriend of 8 years proposed (in the most romantic way ever) Christmas Day 2014 and I had only just started sewing then but I still wanted to make as much as I could for my wedding day. I actually wanted to make my wedding dress (I’ve always been a little unrealistic!) until I tried on ‘the one’ whilst trying to get inspiration and cried “I could never make anything as beautiful as this!” So I had my dream dress but still a desire to DIY the hell out of my wedding so I turned to making the the bridesmaids dresses instead…
I knew 2 things from the start - I wanted them to be long dresses in different colours so I started the Pinterest search and these were my main inspiration:
So I got sketching…
White Tree sent me a whole load of samples to choose the right colours for the fabric and when they didn’t have yellow but sent me a wine red chiffon sample instead, a very happy accident happened- I had my 7 colours- all jewel tone and perfect for my girlies!
I needed to self draft my design as after hours/days/weeks scouring every sewing pattern on the net I realised not one of them was exactly what I wanted and I knew it was simple enough to try my first self draft with so I dug into my books instead and found the perfect bodice block in the new Sew Over It Vintage book. It looked like the sort of shape and neckline that I wanted for my bodice so I made up a very rough self draft of my own bodice block. Then I made my first sample dress in a soft cotton - as I knew sewing chiffon is going to be the tricky bit! The skirt is just a rectangle of fabric - gathered at the waist, attached to the bodice then added elastic at the waist.
I experimented with shirring the shoulders but it added too much bulk to a nice floaty sleeve so I omitted that and worked instead with added bias binding to the neckline and sleeves.
When the fabric arrived it was luckily just in time for the biggest game changer of them all - a new super sewing machine… enter the Pfaff Passport 2.0! My whole family lumped together to get my dream machine for Christmas and I am so so thankful for it as it made sewing up the chiffon easy - it has built in IDT (which is Integrated Dual Transportation and is an amazing way to feed any fabric with no slippage on a sewing machine for perfect fabric control - like a built in walking foot!) So suddenly sewing the chiffon wasn’t the scary bit - it was probably the fact that it was 2 months until my wedding day and I still had 14 dresses to sew!! As you can imagine, I went into overdrive…
The jersey slips were super quick and easy and the lovely Ity Spandex Jersey was brilliant to work with. I used the Carma Camisole pattern from Wardrobe By Me and elongated the skirt length by 30-40cm depending on the measurements of the bridesmaid. I used the overlocker for the seams and bounded the edges with fold over elastic.
Then it was time for the chiffon dresses... I did a few more sample tries in cheap chiffon and when I was happy I started to make up the bare bones of all 7 dresses in the gorgeous White Tree chiffon for fittings with the ladies. I had to move a few waistlines and lower a couple of necklines but it generally came together quite well and once the bridesmaid was happy with the fit I finished off the dresses with matching satin bias binding. The fabric was amazing throughout and looks incredible.
I also added fabric belts to every dress - just to give myself more work to do! But it was a great addition to the look I was going for and I had enough spare fabric.
Disaster struck the weekend before the wedding… my bridesmaid in green lives in San Francisco and I only got a first fitting with her when she arrived for the wedding- the week before! Of course it was the one dress that I had clearly messed up on - I had used the width of the fabric for the skirt width on all of them, sucessfully, but somehow didn’t realise that the green chiffon was a much smaller width and the skirt was tiny!! I had to send an SOS email to White Tree for more green chiffon as I ran around the closed fabric shops in London (IT WAS A BANK HOLIDAY!!) I admit that day was a massive panic but White Tree sent me the fabric asap and I recut and sewed up the skirt by Tuesday night - phew!!
SUPER PFAFF TO THE RESCUE!!
Soon they were all packaged up and ready to walk me down the aisle and I couldn’t be prouder or happier of my babies- they made the day even more special than it already was, and, most importantly, looked amazing on all 7 of my beautiful bridesmaids!
PHOTO BY RACHEL SHERLOCK
-Unfortunately “Miss Green” missed this picture whilst she was feeding her gorgeous baby-
I honestly can’t thank Lisa and White Tree Fabrics enough for the gift of a lifetime! I will NEVER forget it!!
Sew much love,