yes, this IS a bridesmaid dress

i just finished up making three bridesmaid dresses for my sister’s wedding (one month from today!!! eeks!!!) and since one of the bridesmaids is very close to my size, i thought i would snag some pics. while bridesmaid dresses are notoriously awful, i think these turned out pretty cute. that’s not to say any of them will see a second wearing, but it certainly beats some of the awful dresses i’ve seen over the years.

so, how does one approach making three of the same dress? basically i worked factory style and just did each bit three times. i didn’t want to get to the end of the first dress and then have to start completely over TWO MORE TIMES. i managed to finish all three in about a week excluding cutting time. i never count cutting time.

i used new look 6776 with a few modifications. i cut the bodice straight across, raised the neckline a touch, added the straps separate, lowered the back bodice, and cut the back bodice as two pieces to continue the midriff all the way around. i wanted continuity from the wedding dress to bridesmaid dresses and i think these changes make the designs work together. i also changed the gathers under the bust to pleats since there are pleats on the skirt and my ocd just needs things like this to be the same.

since i was making dresses for other people who live no where near me (and hence could not do fittings as i went) i constructed these dresses different than i normally would. i sewed the entire back of the dress separate from the front, then joined them at the side seams. i did the same with the lining. this way, if minor alterations need to be made (i already did a muslin fitting earlier) i can just pinch or let out without having to rip too much apart. typically i sew in a more top down approach: sew the bodice, join to the midriff, then join to the skirt, sandwiching the seam allowances between the shell and lining. adjusting the fit with that type of construction is a royal pain. since i sewed the front and back separate, i was also able to insert the zips in the flat. i cannot tell you how much faster and easier it was to do it this way. without all that extra dress to fuss with and move out of the way the zips took maybe five minutes each. not kidding.

then i used tasia’s method i saw over on the sewaholic blog to sew the lining to the shell. also, super fast with a nice tidy finish. i left the straps to sew in via the “reach up between the layers and pinch” method and sewed them in the front only. i’ll wait until i can fit them in person to sew them in the back, so for now they’re just pinned.

tagged the inside of each with her name so nobody gets confused!

now the only beef i have with this method is that there really isn’t a chance to understitch the neckline. there’s just no way around this, so i took some steps to make sure the lining doesn’t roll and the neckline remains stable with wear. first i applied a 3/4″ strip of fusible to the shell all along the top (before sewing it all together, of course). then i trimmed the top of the lining fabric by 1/8″ so the shell would roll slightly inward, and finally i pick stitched along the front of the bodice neckline.

inside of bodice: i don’t know why, but i am so in love with the pick stitch.
next time i’ll do it in a contrasting thread color so it shows up more!

i can’t pick stitch the back of the bodice since i need to be able to finish sewing the straps in later. now, you woulda thunk i’d have taken some inner construction pictures. but then you’d a thunk wrong. i just wanted to push along and get these done. plus, a large chunk of my sewing was done after hours and my lighting is abysmal.

i finished the hem with lace hem tape and a blind catch stitch. i’m pretty impressed with my blind hemming capabilities here, my stitching on this “everything shows up” fabric is about as invisible as it gets.

so there you have it. wedding party sewing is done. the fog has cleared and my regular life is coming back into focus. now i can get back to doing the laundry, washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms (it’s a glamourous life i lead), paying attention to my children… wait… where are my children? just kidding. sort of…

in case you missed it…
wedding dress post
flower girl post

—lisa g.

14 thoughts on “yes, this IS a bridesmaid dress

  1. Gail says:

    SO pretty, Lisa! And I don't think it looks very bridesmaidy at all – I would certainly wear it for a night out! So I hope they get more than one wearing!I also really appreciated you explaining your construction.And I'm curious about what you're going to wear for the wedding? Will it be self-made?

  2. lisa g. says:

    thanks! i do think for the right occasion and with the right accessories any bridesmaidyness can be toned down. i just love the fabric color though, it's so flattering.for myself, i'll probably pull out the colette eclair i made for easter. i had in the back of my mind that i would wear it for the wedding also. i already have a long list of other things i want/need to make before we make the trip to kansas! it'll be a hundred billion degrees there (and humid) so i want to whip up a few casual dresses and another pair of shorts! not enough hours in the day, right? 🙂

  3. Andrea B says:

    I'd only be impressed by all this wedding sewing if you'd sewn all the tuxedos, too. Jusssst kidding! This is amazing. I love that color for the dresses. Congrats on being done! You did a great job.

  4. lisa g. says:

    haha! actually i was going to make a suit for my son who is the ring bearer, but my sister (wisely) bullied me into letting him use a rental. and thanks, i'm just happy (and a little amazed) that i actually accomplished all this!

  5. Juliet says:

    Heh, I know how it is sewing wedding garments. I had to sew 3 dresses for my friends wedding… it's very repetitive! You've done a gorgeous job – now what about your outfit?

  6. lisa g. says:

    thanks! i think if i do wedding sewing in the future i'll stick to flower girl dresses… easy to fit and quick to make!i'm pretty sure i'll be sporting my colette eclair. it's just dressy enough that it doesn't get much wear, but will be perfect for this wedding!

  7. kennady says:

    The bridesmaid dress shared was awesome and information in the post might be helpful for the engaged people. It is the responsible of brides to choose the right color combination of wedding dress. For planning the perfect wedding, the wedding planner apps are available to plan the wedding successful.

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