Friday, September 25, 2015

Bridesmaid dress sewing

My best friend is getting married in March next year, myself and her sister are the bridesmaids. We'd planned on getting a custom made dress from a website overseas but the good/bad news is her sister has just found out she's pregnant (that's good), which means with a changing shape the chance of the dress fitting properly is not likely as she'll be just over 8mths at the wedding (that's bad, lol).

So, I offered to make the dresses, which I'm actually excited about but have a big learning curve since I've very rarely sewn with lace or chiffon and have never fitted a pregnant belly before.

The current dress plan is a princess line bodice with a lace overlay and sleeves. The skirt will be a chiffon pleated one. I figure I'll make a couple of mock-ups, not only to check the fit but to play with the technique. I've got 2 of Claire Shaeffer's books (Couture sewing and Bridal Couture), so I'll be reading up on sewing with lace. Pattern wise, I have her Vogue 8943 which is different to how I want the dresses made but will give me a good idea on finish and overlay

Here's the inspiration photos, the skirt is like the top photo and then add sleeves like the second photo with the lace overlay only being on the bodice. It will have more of a scooped neckline at the front.



She would like buttons down the back like in this pic, I'm wondering if I make it like a placket that would hide the zipper, still have to play around with that idea though. It may be easier to add a side zipper and have the back non-functioning but geez I hate side zippers! I like the idea that the zipper would be completely hidden and potentially the skirt overlay and back buttons would be not attached to the dress underlay for a couple of inches on either side and then do up and cover the zipper....not sure if its possible of how hard it would be to finish it neatly.


I figure for C (the pregnant bridesmaid), I'll fit her a few weeks beforehand and make her dress with extra wide seam allowances and hem and then fit her properly the weekend before. I'm figuring that fitting a belly would be similar to an FBA? More length and width to fit over the bump?

If anyone has suggestions for books, patterns or blogs to check please let me know!

11 comments:

  1. Hi Suzy! I quite often used to do a CB invisible zip, with bridal loop tape inserted into the L side and buttons on the R, so the buttons would look functional but actually only be decorative. And to be honest probably a bit of a pain at the end of the night! Actually there's a photo on my blog somewhere....if you search 'a gown for jennifer'.
    Most of all - start early, have fun, and don't stress :)

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    1. Thanks Sherry! I'm going to try to convince her we don't need the buttons (plus its really hard to find satin buttons in a dusty pink to match the fabric) and then I can just insert an invisible zipper instead. I'll go and check out your blog now, cheers!

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  2. Kudos to you for making the gowns. I have seen so many horror stories about ordering gowns from Asia and who needs that stress. 8 months pregnant is pretty substantial for a dress with a break at the waist. Have you thought of raising it just for her? Your ideas are lovely and I know you can pull this off.What colors are you thinking of?

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    1. Hi Bunny, hers will definitely have a nice high empire waistline, I figure I'll make a basic muslin for her and then raise the waist to where its comfortable while she's wearing it. The bride has picked the colours and its a dusty rose/vintage pink. Its quite pretty but not a colour I would normally wear (maybe I can dye it afterwards?)

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  3. I would imagine that it would be similar to an FBA. Having recently had one of those bumps, I would also consider hers having more of an empire waist, because anything tight around the belly is really uncomfortable by that point. Also, you'll want to give her some extra room in the bust, too. I did some measuring near the end so I could start planning some post-baby sewing, and that area was 4" bigger already, though my milk hadn't come in yet.

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    1. Thanks Becky - its been a long time since I was pregnant (12years ago) but I do remember always changing especially in the last couple of months! I'll do a nice high empire waist for her and maybe add more pleats to the skirt to flow over her belly comfortably. I'm hoping to leave fitting her as long as I can just to allow for her body changing.

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  4. 1) empire waist dress 2) yes - you need the pregnancy / beer belly equivalent of FBA to cope with the 8 month bump. Add extra length in an arc from side seam to seam, and extra width to the front skirt. I'd leave hemming and finalising the dress to the week before the wedding.

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    1. Thanks Sarah - I hadn't thought of adding the extra length in an arc and yep I want to leave finalising the dress as late as I can without the bride going completely crazy, lol!

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  5. I have no suggestions for fitting a pregnant belly, other than making sure there's lots of extra length in the front so that it doesn't ride up. (I only know this because I have a prominent butt and have to do that with skirts! lol)

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with though! Is the other bridesmaid nearby? Or will you have to fit at a distance via pictures and video?

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    1. Lol, I'm the same with dresses!
      She's actually living in Queensland (about 2000kms away!), but she's moving back down here at the start of February luckily

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