Monday, May 12, 2014

The Reveal: Bridesmaid Revisited

Apparently, this will be another of the posts wherein I will allude to my summer crafting plans, only to sidestep with another topic.

Here's the (hideous) bridesmaid dress I made for Allison:


Sorry, but it didn't fit on my (useless, wide-shouldered dress-form)...

Thanks to the backlight you can see the following booboos:
  • I was correcting dart placement on the fly, so the left skirt dart is slightly misaligned from the princess seam bodice. This is NOT noticeable at all when the dress is being worn. Man, though, that's rookie.
  • I misread the instructions for inserting the invisible zipper - in my defense, I've never made a dress like this before - so I didn't insert the zipper under the facing. I thought it seemed weird to face the garment and then reveal the zipper. It was only on second perusal of the instructions, that I realized I'd misread. Alas, given that there was no time or material to fuck with, I was loath to pull out a zipper that had already been picked once out of the original dress. Instead, I catch stitched the zip to the facing for a flat, if less than professional, finish. It's not noticeable when worn, of course.
Other Interesting Features of this Project:
  • I forestalled near disaster on cutting the skirt too short (for boring reasons). I didn't have enough fabric to recut the skirt pieces, so I created a faux-waistband (the element that screwed with dart placement). I actually think it gives the dress a bit more of a "bridesmaid" feel. Note: It's not my fault that the bride opted for "Appalachian milkmaid" fabric. There's only so much one can do with it.
  • I love this pattern. I love it so much that I'm making this dress for myself, with slight alterations (see below) next weekend. It's beautifully drafted and simple. The instructions are terrific - especially if you read them in a focused fashion.
  • In an irony, while I haven't yet been able to draft a princess-seam sloper with the zest all of my mental energies and numerous attempts - and given that my body is available for fitting?! - this dress fits me almost perfectly in the bust. The apex, perfect. Seam alignment, perfect. Adequate room (but not too much) - perfect.
  • This is the fabric I'll use:


  • It's a lovely rayon challis from Fabrications Online. It's got a bit of heft, fantastic drape and about 10 percent of crosswise stretch. I got three yards to muslin the Rosie as many times as required, but it's a very nice fabric to (likely) throw away and it would be perfect for this pattern.
  • I've made the following Kristin-required changes to the pattern I originally altered for Allison (a size that grades from a 10 to a 12, with many mods, of course). For me:
    • I made the upper bust slightly less full.
    • I lowered the V neck by another inch. The original pattern calls for a high-jewel neck, which I like, but as I'd already altered the neck to suit my sister's preference, it's just as easy to stick with it.
    • I raised the front armscye slightly and wedged out a bit of fabric - like a tiny dart, which then I closed.
    • I increased the waist size by an inch.
    • I kept the bodice and skirt length of the version photoed above, but I got rid of the 3" band. Instead, I added 1.5 inches to the bottom of the bodice and 1.5 inches to the top of the skirt.
    • I removed a wedge of fabric from the lower back, tapering to nothing at the side-seams. I don't have a sway back, but I do that adjustment because it allows me keep length in the bodice (where I need it). It's like an inverse FBA, that allows me to be less extreme in my FBAs.
  • Here's the deal, peeps: That bodice is drafted for a projected bust that isn't overly high. If you're flat and young, keep that in mind. If you're my age, happy day! I should say that the alteration I made for Allison (whose full bust is 36" - 2 inches smaller than mine - and it fits me nonetheless) was to increase the size of the side front piece both at the side seam and at the princess seam side. I also included a tiny bit of extra fabric on the front piece, at the bust apex, but the majority of my changes were on that side front piece. That's what moved the princess seam front and centre - something that's necessary when your boobs go straight out, not towards the sides. I went off-road with that side front piece, effectively it's a size 12 at the armscye, approximately the largest pattern size at the apex (that's a 16 I think), tapering to a size 10 at the bottom. However, it was a very easy fix because I graded between sizes using the available multi-size cut lines, something I rarely do. Of course, I also had to lengthen the front pieces to allow for curve below the bust apex.
  • Truly, it is so easy to overdo an FBA. Less is more, especially if you are narrow and projected. The less you alter the front piece, the better. Let the side front piece pick up the slack. I also find it completely bizarre that I used someone else's measurements, not myself, to fit this dress. I think it's fair to say, my fitting skills have much developing to do :-)

22 comments:

  1. Appalachian milkmaid. I almost fell off my chair in a burst of laughter. The fabric you will use for your own version is fab and I'm sure this dress will become your go-to woven TNT pattern. Allison, on the other hand, will have those tiny twee flowers in the highly unsuitable fabric. Poor Allison.

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    1. I'm happy it resonated! I really want to try my own version in that challis. But I'm learning from the past. This time, I make the bodice first. Only when the fit is spot on will I cut the skirt pieces. I wasted too much fabric with that peplum Rosie top...

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  2. I'm sure that after all of your hard work Allison will be the least hideous bridesmaid at that wedding. :)

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    1. Oh, I would be so proud if that were the case :-)

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  3. Oh, poor Allison indeed! Why do brides do this? I can't wait to see your version.

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    1. This particular bride is insane - even when she's not being a bride. The wedding is going to have 400 guests - and that's the fabric she chose for the bridesmaids. Stupid.

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  4. Appalachian milkmaid indeed. An apt (and hilarious!) description. ;-) You made the best of it, now hopefully it fits as intended and your sister finds a good way to pay the bride back for this. ;-)

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    1. How could she possibly get her revenge???

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  5. that fabric choice makes no sense for a bridesmaid dress... truly bizarre! but hey, at least you got to fit a pattern you may not have tried otherwise! can't wait to see your version of it!

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    1. I know - we all agree that it's insane. But if good comes of it, then I won't complain...

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  6. I think your dress is going to be beautiful.

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  7. I am currently helping a friend with her bridesmaid dress fitting and construction, and while her "bride-zilla" didn't choose Appalacian milkmaid, her wedding coordinator chose bright Kelly green "Kermit the Frog" silk. A color that according to the coordinator "goes with everything" but really is guaranteed to make most of the wedding attendants look unwell. (I suspect a conspiracy to make all the brides look better in comparison to their bridesmaids)

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    1. Oh, that is rough! Kelly green is a brutal colour in bridal wear. I look sick in green...

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  8. Appalachian milkmaid! Good thing I had already set my coffee down when I read that.

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  9. Appalachian milkmaid..... oh two words I would not put with bridal in my wildest imagination. I cannot picture what the whole wedding party is going to look like. Glad to hear the dress itself is lovely.

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    1. I know. Elegant swan, delicate flower, bold and assertive - these I can get with. But quilting cotton for your bridal party??

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  10. I think Appalachian milkmaid is even worse than the creamsicle confection I had to wear. Poor Allison.

    I'm thrilled to hear your review of the pattern, though! It looks like the sort of dress I would wear, so perhaps I'll pick your brain about it if/when I try my hand at it. I'm having a hard time figuring how much ease I need for sewing, but my one attempt at an FBA definitely taught me that less is more, so I'll keep that in mind when I try it again.

    I can't wait to see your version of this dress!

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    1. Definitely we should chat about it. Let's get together for coffee sometime soon...

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  11. sounds like you're on your way! I was a maid of honor many years ago and bridesmaid dresses were to be made of very lovely silk chiffon but to save costs the bride chose quilting cotton as the lining fabric. Very stiff, too. I was with her during the fabric shopping and kept going, no no no! to no avail. I still have the dress, just to give me chuckles.

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    1. How can this be? Are the brides insane?!

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