Monday, January 5, 2015

Completed: Bridesmaid Dress

My sister's a married woman! She and her lovely husband are honeymooning in the Caribbean as I type this post. The wedding was spectacular, and we all had a wonderful time.

My sister and parents did 90% of the decorating and 100% of the planning for the wedding. Unfortunately distance made it difficult for me to be involved as much as I'd have liked, BUT my sister asked me to sew some important pieces: my own dress, Eliza's flower girl dress, the garters (one she kept and one she tossed), and a veil for her reception exit. 

This week I'll be sharing details of my dress and Eliza's dress. I'll also share a brief post about the other two pieces.

First up -- my bridesmaid dress.

Amanda asked all six bridesmaids to wear black dresses with gold sparkly shoes. She wanted knee-length dresses, but other than that left us to our own devices. Originally I wanted a dress with a sweetheart neckline and sheer yoke, but I couldn't figure out how to drape the yoke properly. I found this LeAnne Marshall pattern, and in the end decided to stick with it as it was designed.

However, my fabric was much thicker than I'd anticipated, and when it came time to attach the silk yoke, the weight difference was a disaster. I tried to sew the yoke on five times (at least), and finally had a late-night meltdown and considered scrapping the whole thing and buying a dress. (This was less than two weeks before the wedding, of course.)

After much thought and prayer and gnashing of teeth, I finally had the idea to add sleeves in a style similar to the Sewaholic Cambie. It worked like a charm.

The fabric is a thick cotton, very twill-like with lines for texture. It has just enough stretch to make it comfortable. I bent over, squatted, and literally ran around all day Friday and was comfortable the whole time. (My feet -- now that's another story.) All of these photos were taken today after wearing the dress through the whole wedding prep, wedding, and reception. And wadding it up in my suitcase to bring it home.


Pattern:  Simplicity 1353 LeAnne Marshall Collection (View B)
Fabric: cotton from Mood. It has a medium drape and ridges for texture. I really, really like this fabric, but it's not the kind of fabric for which this dress was designed. I got lucky with the result (other than the yoke fiasco).
Adjustments: Lengthened bodice. Added straps.
Thoughts: I highly recommend this pattern. The instructions are well written, and it's a well designed pattern. The waist hits high, so I can see how the pleats might give too much volume in the hip area, but it gives me the illusion of curves, which is nice.

I had to re-work the pleats to line up with the bodice seams.

There are a lot of pieces to this dress: the bodice is in seven pieces and is lined. There's an underskirt and overskirt, too. My Elsa dresses prepared me as they're identical in the bodice construction.

Also -- pockets!!! Having pockets on the wedding day was awesome.

All in all, I was very pleased with the look and performance of this dress.

Up next is Eliza's! It beats mine to pieces.


  1. This dress is so beautiful on you. It fits perfect and I like the sleeve. I think that type of cotton might be called Ottoman cotton.

    1. Thank you! I've looked and looked and can't find it. It's closer to twill than anything.

  2. The dress is beautiful! I love the sleeves you added. I can't imagine it without them because they are a perfect match. And I also like the 2 layers on the skirt. It give the dress a nice added dimension. And pockets in a bridesmaid dress--Genius!

    1. Thank you! I was glad to have the sleeves while we were taking photos outside. And I agree -- they suit the design very well.

  3. Perfection! And nice that is has pockets.

  4. This looks like the ultimate little black dress! I love it with the cambie sleeves great!


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