This is the dress that I nearly didn’t make. My lovely friend, Rachel, was getting married to the equally lovely Brett. Rachel has been a faithful follower of my blog and I even made her a work outfit that she still wears to international book fairs. (Indeed, I’ve heard tell of meetings being opened with the question, ‘Is that the dress Karen made?’)
So, when Rachel announced her wedding she didn’t waste any time telling me that I needed to start sewing my outfit. Soon! There was only one problem. I’d been mega busy for nearly a year and wasn’t sure I had the energy for a make that counted. I’ll tell her soon, I kept thinking. She won’t mind if I wear a shop-bought dress.
Then something happened. I went to the Minerva Crafts weekend and spotted some cerise triple crepe. I snapped up three metres. Buoyed on the energy and enthusiasm of that weekend I made myself a promise. I wasn’t going to let my friend down.
I dug out the Simplicity 1652 from my pattern collection. This is one of their Amazing Fit patterns. I swear, if I was banished to a desert island and told I only had one pattern line to sew from, it would be the Amazing Fits. They’re amazing. And they fit.
The pattern instructions are mega-detailed with useful tips, there are different cup size pattern pieces and the order of construction allows you to carefully check and adjust fit during the sewing process. Guess what? I didn’t make a toile of this dress. Knew I didn’t need to. Had faith that the Amazing Fits wouldn’t let me down. Hey, don’t The Amazing Fits sound like a bunch of sewing superheroes? They are!
I will add one caveat. The Amazing Fits fit if you follow the instructions. And the instructions are to baste the entire dress together before the final sewing. Which is a big test on a person’s patience. So just, you know, learn to be patient. It’s still quicker than cutting a dress out twice!
The above being said, I made life easy by choosing the simplest variation with a simple back bodice section. The back bodice does come with a cool cut out option, though. Maybe I’ll try it next time I make this dress! I think a back bodice can be almost – almost! – as demanding as a front bodice to fit. You want it right, right?
I was all set on a simple, straightforward, stress-free make. But (and as often happens with me) the deeper I delved into the project, the more I wanted to take care. Out came some fusible interfacing to give the front bodice structure and allow me to tack down the raw princess seams and armhole seams:
And out came the satin lining for the bodice (see top picture). Out came the button making kit, which left poor Ella scared when I kept thumping it!
And out came the silk thread and antique silver thimble. Ella kept me company as I sunk deeper and deeper into long stretches of hand stitching the hem, bodice lining and … gosh, so much hand sewing!
As I worked in silence, the same words kept turning over in my head and my heart. We love you, Rachel. Schmaltzy, I know, but it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.
I got up before work to sew, I sewed late into the night – I was still sewing on the morning of the wedding! Then two of my dearest friends in the world arrived at the house, we each gave Ella a quick cuddle, and there was nothing left to do except make our way to a very happy day indeed. Here I am with the bride:
It was a really, really lovely day and I’m glad I made my dress. It was worth it. And sewing lessons learned? You should never be too busy for your friends.
Do you have a wedding story to go with your sewing?