A Trio of Bridesmaids Dresses

A lot has happened since I last posted in January…well mainly I got married! James and I got engaged in May 2018, and we got hitched this August at the Byre at Inchyra, in Perth.

After we told everyone the news, lots – LOTS – of my friends and family asked me if I was going to make my wedding dress, and I very quickly decided not to! Just thinking about the pressure involved was too much, and whilst I had always vaguely thought it would be awesome to do it, I don’t think my sewing skills would have been up to the job. Instead I decided to make my bridesmaids dresses and do as much DIY on other parts of the wedding as I could.

I decided that I wanted to do something fairly casual and easy to fit as my bridesmaids Harriet, Alice and Olivia all lived far away. I thought that a good option would be to choose one good quality fabric in a nice colour, and then let them choose a pattern. For the fabric, I went for the Sorrento Viscose Crepe in French Navy sold by the wonderful Fabric Godmother, I knew this fabric would be brilliant as I have used it before. I bought 10 mtrs, and whilst it’s not the cheapest fabric I could have chosen, it was one of the best value purchases of the entire wedding! For all three of my bridesmaids dresses the total was £130 (I spent about an additional £15 on patterns, which I have already or intend to use again), and I even have some fabric left over. Whilst one of my bridesmaid’s wasn’t mad about the colour, two of them really liked it and I thought that was probably about as good a reaction as I could hope for! I thought that it would be really easy choosing patterns, but actually this bit was rather difficult – I think that over the years of sewing I have developed a good imagination when it comes to visualising a finished garment, my bridesmaids found it a bit harder!

After much deliberation my sister Harriet went for the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit. Whilst this pattern needs no introduction, I would like to add my voice to the many that have praised it to the skies! I am sure that Harriet won’t mind me saying but she is rather on the titchy side, so we took out two inches out of the length, one in the bodice and the other in the crotch which resulted in a brilliant fit. I tried it on before posting it down to Harriet and was so tempted to keep it, so much so that I have now made two for myself! It appears that she feels the same way too as I have had a request to make her another one, this in denim.

For Alice we chose a top and skirt combo, I did toile some other dress options but there was some serious fit issues. Due to the distance we decided that perhaps a skirt and top would be the better option… and we were right! We went for the Megan Neilsen Cascade Skirt, and a True Bias Ogden Cami. However, I feel that on this particular outfit I did miss a bit of a trick. After Alice sent me pictures of her trying on the top the length of the straps wasn’t quite right and as I didn’t really have the time to make another toile I came up with this brilliant plan of making adjustable straps, expect I made them a bit too long. We shortened them as much as they could go, but I think they were a bit long… sorry Alice! Of course, as the wonderful bridesmaid that she was she said nothing, but I noticed! Despite the strap issue, the outfit was a lot of fun and I think she liked swirling on the dance floor – I hope so anyway!

Last up is Olivia. As Olivia lives overseas I thought that a super-easy fit option was a good idea, so we went for the Seamwork Catarina dress which has an elasticated waist and which I’ve made for myself in the past and love. Whilst it’s an easy fit, I really should have made a toile in time for my hen party so that I could at least check the fit, but I didn’t get round to it. So I had to make it blind from her measurements without a fitting. We did plan for her to try it on a few days before, but her travel plans were delayed and so in the end Olivia tried it on the day before the wedding, at the venue, where I did not have a sewing kit or machine. Olivia is seriously skinny and I made it in a size 6… even then it was still too big! But it was *just* about okay and there was no unfortunate flashing on the day, or if there was, I didn’t hear about it!

If making bridesmaid dresses wasn’t enough stress, I also thought that it would be nice to give my bridesmaids a gift of a Kimono so that we could all wear them on the morning and then they could keep them. It wouldn’t be my wedding if there wasn’t one Named Clothing pattern in there, so I chose an Asaka Kimono which I had owned for years and never got round to making. I lengthened it a lot – but about 12 inches I think. I bought three 3m bolts of fabric, mistakenly thinking it would be enough, but then when it came to cutting it out I was a bit short so I decided to make a contrast collar, which actually worked really nicely in the end.

My sister Harriet and bridesmaid Alice had viscose crepe from Stoff and Still, Olivia had viscose crepe from Sew me Sunshine and mine was a Liberty silk, a gift from my lovely husband. All these wonderful photographs are taken by our awesome wedding photographer, Marc Miller.

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