Monday 28 October 2019

autumn sewing: a wedding guest dress

OK, OK. I can explain.

I know I said in my plans that I was definitely not going to do an Anna bodice this time, and this is... clearly an Anna bodice. However, this wasn't what I originally intended to do. This is what I originally intended to do:

This is a Cashmerette Upton bodice/Sew Over It tulip skirt mash-up, the second unpublished garment I made for the Minerva blog last month. I was really happy with the way it turned out and very pleased with the fit of the bodice. I fully intended to make another one of these to wear to the wedding, but my search for a mid-weight woven fabric that was both appropriate for an October wedding and something I actually liked was long, frustrating and fruitless. Eventually I bought a piece of stretch velvet, still intending to make this UpTulip, but then realised that a) it would need to be lined, b) I had no idea how to install the lining with no back seam, and c) I was absolutely not prepared to put a zip into stretch velvet. Not necessarily because I thought it would be difficult, but just on principle. What's even the point of knit fabrics if you have to put a zip in them?

So, I went back to my old faithful. Obviously I then realised I was going to have to line that too, and managed to do so easily enough that I probably could have managed the Upton. Sigh. 

(I'm aware that the bust pleats are behaving very strangely in these photos. I promise it doesn't look like that in real life.)

Because of my fabric issues I made this fairly last minute, and when I realised I would need to line it I didn't have time to go and find a lining-weight navy blue jersey. So I used the only even vaguely appropriate thing I had to hand, which is the mustard yellow I was intending to use to make a bodysuit. I've since come to terms with the fact that it's terrible bodysuit fabric, and if I really want a yellow one I'll need to find something a little less... well, a little less likely to scream "THIS IS WHAT BRA I'M WEARING TODAY", put it that way. Mustard yellow is not the ideal lining colour for this dress; you can see it a little at the shoulder seams here, and the combination of shades does remind me somewhat of the five terms I spent in Catholic school (after the nuns stopped running it, but recently enough that other kids still remembered being taught by said nuns), but I did what I had to do. 

It was pretty easy to line this top without needing a back seam - I sewed the necklines together first, then closed up the armhole seams with a proto-burrito method, and then the side seams. I cut about 5cm off the neckline and armholes of the lining so it would sit on the inside, which has mostly worked except for that bit on the shoulder there. Rest assured I went back in and did some hand stitching on the neckline to keep the lining hidden for the actual wedding. 

I didn't put pockets in the skirt this time. I thought it would be more trouble than it was worth, and much as I like the idea of having my phone on me for stupid dancefloor photos, I also know I'd have been paranoid about it falling out and would end up dancing with hands in pockets. That's a tough look to pull off. 

The front pleats on this skirt are much bigger than on the pattern as I accidentally cut the front skirt too big. D'oh. 

For the wedding itself I wore the dress with my ancient ice blue pashmina that seems to work with many more colours than it should. I love mixing blues. It was probably too cold for a short sleeved dress and pashmina, but one thing I just do not own is a wedding-appropriate jacket. I don't go to a lot of winter weddings and it didn't occur to me that I might need one until my mum asked me about it four days prior. This should spur me on to put "wedding-appropriate jacket" on my to-sew list, but chances are it will do no such thing. I also wore my silver and navy shoes, which I did not put on for these photos as I was rushing to get the pictures taken in between rainstorms. The full look from the day itself is on my Instagram if you're curious. 

The wedding itself was really lovely. I actually ended up being grateful for the stretch fabric as the wedding breakfast was IMMENSE and they were incredibly generous with the wine. (I really appreciate large amounts of carb at weddings, so that I can be less ill the next morning.) We were all bussed out to a barn in the middle of the countryside, where we found cava and lollipops and a fire pit with marshmallows on sticks and fancy gins and an evening hog roast and both regular cake AND a cheese wheel cake. And dancing. Lots of dancing.

Here is my best visual representation of me at a middle-class wedding disco:

I'm currently in the process of slightly reworking my sewing plans for the rest of the autumn. The yellow bodysuit probably isn't going to happen now (as I mentioned above), and since deciding to make a brightly-coloured leopard print maxi skirt suddenly every third person in London seems to be wearing a brightly-coloured leopard print maxi or midi skirt, so my enthusiasm has dimmed somewhat. I still want to make that fabric into something, but I'm less sure about what it should be now. I also think I've missed the window where a light autumn jacket would have been useful. I want to finish my Sirocco this month and then see how much inspiration and energy I have left.

Up next: more velvet! In jumpsuit form!  


  1. Great dress on you! Are we supposed to care (in a negative way) that it's an Anna bodice? I say it works so who's counting? :-)

    1. Only because I specifically said in my plans that I was going to challenge myself and make something else this time! Eventually I'll have that mythical collection of TNT bodices, I'm sure!

  2. I have to say I think the Anna Bodice is a PERFECT match for that fabric and the whole dress looks really well balanced.

  3. Our school colours were dark puke green and maroon. At least that's a colour combo I don't plan on wearing ever again in my life.

    1. Why do schools do this? 95% of them seem to pick some combination of navy/mustard/maroon/dark puke green and I don't understand it. Teenagers don't need help feeling bad about the way they look!