Reveal: A Maid of Honour Dress in Pink

Yes, I know. I’ve been a bad blogger. I have many excuses, but instead of boring you all with them, I’ll just get right into the juicy stuff: my maid of honour dress reveal. It’s been more than 2 months since my sister got married, but whatever. Better late than never, amiright?

My sister and I had discussions about the bridesmaids dresses, and I have to admit I was being a spoiled brat in telling her that I did not want my dress to be orange, which is the colour she wanted for the dresses. Why was I adamant about this? 1) I don’t really like orange as a clothing colour in general, and especially for myself, 2) after researching skin tones and colours that compliment them, I discovered that it wasn’t in my head that orange doesn’t look good on me, it’s ‘scientifically’ proven!  Anyway, her colour choice started to mingle closer toward a pinky coral rather than a tangerine orange, which I was perfectly happy with! She went shopping with her other bridesmaids and found these amazingly cute dresses in the colour she wanted, so they scooped them up! We had agreed that I sew my dress, so we were messaging back and forth about colours and sewing patterns. In the end, she chose Vogue 1289, a Pamela Roland design that had the same kind of feel as the other bridesmaid dresses with draping in the front.

Then, when she was shopping at Fabricland for said pattern, she had a look at some fabric, and snatched up a pretty pink bridal satin so I could sew it up. It was lighter than the bridesmaid dresses, but she liked the idea of having a different colour and dress for me. Isn’t she the sweetest?! Giving in to my demands…

So she sent me the pattern in the mail, and the fabric came  a little bit later, when my parents came to visit at the end of april. And, as a bonus, my sister also sent some hot pink lace for me to play with (: I took one look at that satin and I was like, ooooh noooo. This is going to turn into a hot mess. I’d done enough wedding pinning to know that shiny polyester satin photographs terribly. I was only frightened for a few moments though, as I quickly decided that I would use the wrong side of the fabric.

In the meantime, I had made a muslin, because, well, fancy dresses require a muslin! If you follow my instagram, you would have seen that this dress has been in the works since the beginning of May. I made the muslin out of an old bedsheet. It was a monster as it was to cut out, but when I got to the pleats, I was swearing a storm. It took me soooo long to pin those pleats, then baste them individually. I just kept telling myself that it was for a good cause.

the pleating of my nightmares

pleats

When I tried the muslin on, I breathed a sigh of relief that I had cut out the right size, because, well, we all know how it is when it comes to the big 4 pattern companies. I pretty much never go by the measurement chart. Vogue is at least pretty consistent with their sizing, so I always cut the same size. However, there was no way I could lengthen the bodice on this baby, so I opted for lengthening the straps, which actually wasn’t necessary. I sent some pictures to my sister, because I had to show my sis how things were going of course….

muslin

I got my mother in law to pin the changes that needed to be made. I was a little bit nervous about this because the muslin material is a jersey, whereas my fabric is a woven, so I told my mother in law not to stretch it while she pinned. The back was a little bit loose, so I took about 1cm out, and curved it out over my butt. I also added 1.5cm to the hem because I found it to be just the right length on my unhemmed muslin.  After sewing it and trying it on again, I made the changes to the pattern, then I cut into my precious fabric, careful to remember which side I was using as the right side.

cut-into-fabric

And then I procrastinated a little bit… I put together the top pieces before I left for Canada, but I ended up taking the pieces in my garment bag instead of a finished dress.

Not only did I get to be her maid of honour, I also got to be in Canada for 6 whole weeks! One of the only advantages of being unemployed (; (And in case you’re just tuning in, I live in Holland, while the rest of my family lives in Canada.) I arrived 3 weeks before the wedding so that I could do maid-of-honourly things, which included organising a lot of last-minute decorating things, but also included fun stuff like taking my sister on a much-needed weekend getaway with just the two of us, and organising the bridal shower/bachelorette party with my fellow bridesmaids. Crazy times.

So, I was having a wrestling match with the bodice lining pieces, as the princess seams did not want to press in a nice curve  around the bust, and the lining was pulling towards the outside despite having under stitched and pressing the shit out of it. Then I had a brilliant idea to get a bloody TAILOR’S HAM, which, honestly, every seamstress should have. However, scouring the fabric stores of Calgary yielded no results. I remembered having seen them at Fabricland when I worked there (–10 years ago–), and assumed that they were commonplace. WRONG!! Not only did they not have them, the people working at various fabric stores had no idea what they were. WTF?! Even my soon-to-be brother-in-law helped me phone some sewing places, during a planning meeting with my cousin and her bf no less. And my cousin’s boyfriend – who I decided right then and there was the sweetest! – offered to make me one once he found out that they are made out of upholstery fabric and sawdust. 😀

Fast forward a few days, and I haven’t heard anything from said boyfriend. Maybe not the sweetest…

So a week before the wedding, while I’m trying to coordinate a bridesmaids-last-minute-prep shindig, I’m in the garage stuffing a tailor’s ham (pattern here) with sawdust from my dad’s workshop. And let me tell you, A LOT OF SAWDUST FITS INTO THAT LITTLE FUCKER.  I must have been stuffing that thing, with the help of my dad, for a good half hour or 45 minutes. The people in the house thought I was shirking my duties.

So I practically run to the sewing room, turn on the iron, and start ironing away at the bodice (lining) pieces. However, it helped very little, I just had to resign to the fact that my fabric was going to be an asshole every step of the way. I finished the dress up over the next few days. I also fucked up the center back invisible zip by getting the fabric caught in the teeth, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut another skirt. My sister just reassured me that no one would be taking photos of our backsides.

I finished the hem using a narrow hem (method 2 on this page here). And, when I was sewing the skirt lining, the final piece of the puzzle, I received that tailor’s ham from cousin’s boyfriend. Ok, he’s back to being sweet… (: When everything was finished, I then ran it through the washing machine with the basting still in the pleats because for some reason, I also kept getting black machine oil on the dress while I was sewing…

narrow-hem

mine on the right, his under the skirt lining

iron-skirt-lining-darts

And another reason I put off posting this make was because I was waiting for all the pretty pictures from the photographer. (: Here they are.

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me, sister, sister’s husband, best man

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the gorgeous bridesmaids

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speech time

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Oh, and did I mention I had a wardrobe malfunction? I didn’t even know about it until the photos came out. Turns out I got a bit revealing to the congregation… And then again at the reception while sitting at the head table. :S  At least I was wearing a bra, I guess.

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5 replies
  1. bimbleandpimble
    bimbleandpimble says:

    That may be the most stressful MoH dress construction I have heard of – though tops work building a ham! It looks absolutely smashing, lovely!

    Reply
  2. crab&bee
    crab&bee says:

    This really is lovely – you’ve inspired me to dig up a copy on Etsy for myself! Do you think the fabric didn’t want to behave because it was shiny on one side? Formal fabrics are a bit of a mystery to me!

    Reply
    • Joanne
      Joanne says:

      Thanks Morgan! I am not sure what was going on. The first fabric suggestion was a matte jersey, so I think it would have worked out better with a fabric with more drape. Plus polyester is known for not pressing too well. If I make it again, I’ll definitely use a jersey. I was even tempted to selvage my muslin 😉

      Reply

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