Soooo, my brother got married last weekend – pretty exciting, I know. I knew this day was coming for quite some time, so I decided to use the occasion as an excuse to make a fancy dress. And why not!
It all started with almost 5 metres of fabulous floral Balenciaga silk chiffon I picked up at a D’Italia sale – from $90 p/m down to $10 p/m! Score, I know! I was originally going to go with a yellow silk lining, but then opted to go with a smashing watermelon silk from Darn Cheap Fabrics as it made the colours on the fashion fabric really pop. The bodice fashion fabric pieces were all underlined with the watermelon silk (hand basted), and then the bodice was lined with a red satin silk, also from Darn Cheap Fabrics. There were also a couple of layers of heavy, boned, interfacing in the middle as a foundation.
I knew what I wanted as a final output, but it was a matter of finding it in pattern format! I spent hours trawling the Internet, but to no avail. So, a ‘franken-dress’ it would have to be. I ended up using the skirt from the now OOP v7521 and I based the bodice on the Cynthia Steffe v1174.
This one went ‘off the plan’ from quite early on, but here are the key changes made:
- Added ruching to the the bodice – I traced off, slashed, and reconstructed pattern pieces for the outer upper and middle bodice to create the ruching across the bust.
- Shaped lower front bodice pieces for a closer fit in the lower bodice area.
- Used the outer bodice pattern pieces to create the foundation rather than the foundation pattern pieces.
- Pinched out some of the volume in the skirt pattern.
More fun facts:
- There’s a total of six, yes six, layers of fabric in bodice!
- The skirt was constructed using french seams for a neater finish.
- I hand beaded the ruched area of the bodice with bronze and yellow seed beads, and also three purple teardrop shaped pearls at centre front. Not only was this pretty , but it was a great way to keep the ruching sitting how I liked it.
- I had a belt made at Buttonmania out of the same fabric as the bodice lining – red satin silk.
- Sizing of the bodice was generous – at least – I cut to my size and then went down by two at toile stage.
- Ruched pattern pieces were cut out on the cross to allow for more flexibility and a better final look.
- The invisible zip was attached the bodice at centre back, but only attached to the lining of the skirt. This way the fashion fabric was loose over the top, so small facings were created for the open section, and a clear plastic press stud added to close the fashion fabric and cover the lower part of the zip. It was done this way so that the zip was hidden and didn’t interfere with the fashion fabric’s drape.
- Both layers of the skirt have rolled hems.
- Extra pieces of boning were added to the bodice for more structure.
I’m not going to lie, this was a HUGE project, and by the time I’d finished it, I never wanted to look at the dress EVER again! However, on the day, I was so happy with the result, I think it was worth all the effort
This has definitely been my biggest sewing project – what’s been your biggest?