I am making a Maid of Honour dress for my older daughter. In this modern relaxed Australian wedding each female member of the wedding party is given guidelines by the bride, rather than detailed instructions or a particular dress to buy/have made. This is very exciting, as I was able to look at hundreds of beautiful fabrics and elegant patterns with the excuse of research to present to my daughter. We just have a colour palette, and the length of the dress as a framework.
This dress here is not the Maid of Honour dress, but it is a stage in the process, and I did make it for my daughter.
Before making the above dress there was some delightful mutual and individual
time wasting perusal of many fabrics and dress photographs on the internet. Eventually I had to stop doing this as my daughter showed me a photograph of a dress that she fancies as a starting point. She apologised that is not the fabric she wants, not in the right colour palette and not the right length for the wedding, and that she didn't want a seam across the front bodice.. This was not displeasing, as my daughter kept saying things like " If I find the right dress I'll just buy it". which is not what a person whom has hardly sewn party clothes for about 2 and 1/2 years now wants to hear.
We thought that we could reproduce the salient aspects with some judicious pattern alteration of this pattern for a woven knee length dress from Burda Style 10-2012-118, which I have made previously for myself as both a dress and a top.
The brief from my daughter is to modify the pattern for an extended shoulder, and to make the dress floor length for the wedding, and to possibly make a bolero.
I was a tiny bit worried that I was being hopelessly out of date here, this being a 10 year old pattern, but Audrey of SewTawdry posted not so long ago that this pattern is very similar to a 2021 offering, with identical line drawings, so if Burda thinks it is up to date (ish), I am happy. (Audrey's top in plaid is amazing)
Naturally I needed to make a trial version before we cut into precious pricey fabric. Naturally my daughter felt that if I was going to all the trouble of making a trial version, she might as well wear the trial version when she was to attend the wedding of a close friend, as a guest, not in the bridal party.
So here is version 1, in a cocktail wedding guest length, in situ at her friend's wedding.
The fabric is from a sari that I bought in Sri Lanka several years ago, to wear to a family friend's wedding there. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to wear a sari. The little blouse was made by a seamstress in Columbo from one end of the sari that is woven with the blouse in mind. It was interesting to see how the seamstress drew the pattern straight on the fabric after taking a few measurements.
I am equally pleased to be able to use the sari to make a pretty dress.
You can see that my daughter and Ihave chosen the reverse side of the sari to be the outer side of the dress. We thought that the fabric was silk, and it is certainly silky, but after I managed to melt a lot of the warp fibres in ironing, we now feel that it is a poly silk blend. Once I had removed the highly embellished borders from the sari, it was quite narrow, and I used most of the fabric of the sari to cut out the knee length dress. As it frayed immoderately, and is a very thin fabric, I chose to underline with enclosed seams, using a poly cotton imperial batiste, and unfortunately had not already cut extra wide seam allowances to allow for the turn of fabric, so I was quite nervous that I might have made the dress too small, not having enough fabric left to cut out another full dress length panel.
Fortunately this was not the case and I did not even have to let out the seam allowances at the final (and only) fitting. My daughter lives about two and a half thousand kilometres away from me, but was coming to Brisbane ( a mere few hundred kilometres away) the day before the wedding. I was to hem it in Brisbane, so it was just as well that I was planning to do this by hand, as I didn't fancy lugging my machine to the flat shared by our other offspring.
It may have been finished just before she dashed off to the wedding, sans photographs, which is why you should forgive me for the slightly blurry phone shot taken by another of my daughter's friends who may have been drinking bubbly. I have delayed writing this post until a later visit, when the dress was modelled for sewing blog purposes.
Notes to myself: Add lingerie straps to assist in holding the cowl neckline, and an internal and external stay for the waistline pleats.