Self delusion is painfully real, and even the best fall prey to it. I do it all the time, so you’ve probably heard this story here before.
But I don’t need to be making a wedding dress. I have neither time nor desire. Nor a use, so we’re very clear. Hubs and I are perilously close to 18 years shacked up, I am not setting that count back to zero, thank you. Why would I even consider making such a thing?
On the other hand, I could make it as an Easter dress. Because that’s totally a thing I need. We haven’t even done a turkey at Easter in years.
Ok, it’s totally a wedding dress. Sue me.
The pattern is Gertie’s new one, Butterick B6453. I was initially far more interested in the narrow-skirt version, which is much more my usual speed. A few of you long time readers may recall my long-ago Project Dropwaist posts, where I obsessed over my dislike (on my own particular body) of gathered skirts that hit at the waist. I very successfully adapted a number of those patterns, including Sewaholic’s Cambie, to a drop waist, and I’ve worn the snot out of all those dresses.
I could have done that this time, as well, but I was doing this as a shop project and sometimes I don’t feel like spending the whole display month telling disappointed customers that actually this major design feature is quite different on the source pattern. Dropping the waist isn’t an easy hack like changing a neckline. In hindsight I suppose I could’ve used the top couple of inches of the fitted skirt version, but I’ve only just thought of that idea now. And hey, that’s a really great idea, now I totally want to try it!
So basically this dress is way outside my comfort zone. Much too fancy for daily wear (seriously, those lovely beads snag on everything!) not to mention being unforgivably bridal. And in a style I’m not comfy with? WTF, Tanit.
What can I say—sometimes we want to run with an idea. 😂
Anyway, let’s get a bit technical. I made minimal versions of my usual bodice alterations—shortening and swayback—and am quite satisfied. The nice thing about that pesky waist seam is that I could do the swayback alteration AFTER trying it on and determining that yes, my back waist/hips are actually up that high.
While playing around with laying out the motifs, I decided to sew the rear darts only in the taffeta under layer, rather than mess around trying to incorporate them into the lace without destroying the motif. This seems to have worked just fine, thanks.
I really wanted to use the scalloped edge of the lace along the upper front of the bodice. While keeping the curved neckline of the underlay free. But still having the lace sewn into all the other seams. This wound up working out beautifully, but I had some head-scratching moments on the way. Since I was using white, I fully lined the bodice rather than using the facings (and frankly I think I’ll generally do that) but I should’ve used a double layer of taffeta under the lace as my seam allowances still show through. You’d think I would know better by now…
Because I had decided to use this pearl and rhinestone trim (but I wasn’t making a wedding dress?!? WTF, Tanit), I had to widen the straps, which are super-narrow as they come with the pattern. I would like to try it again with the original straps. I did keep the adjustable feature, though. I know some people have poo-poo’d this as unnecessary on a custom dress but those people are obviously better seamstresses than I. I NEVER get the strap length right. And I hate going back and fixing it after. Speaking of Project Drop Waist, I’ve been wearing my Minnie Mouse dress for YEARS with straps that are just slightly too long.
On a side note, this pattern is a total fabric hog, BUT, if you have a double-edged border, as I did on the lace, or are willing to compromise the skirt fullness slightly (as I had to do with the taffeta underlayer, since apparently no one at my store remembered to order more of the white bridal taffeta) it becomes much more manageable.
But the single best feature?
Ok, so after all that, I don’t hate the dress on me as much as I feared I might. Straight on isn’t a good view, but there are other angles that are better. My photos here are terrible, but will have to do until the dress is done display and the weather improves. (Note: its gorgeous here right now. By which I mean windy as hell but well above freezing. Like, double digits C yesterday, which is so amazing and glorious I can’t even describe it. And eastern Canada’s had a pounding this week so I am suffering weather guilt.)
So I don’t think I’ll be mainlining dirndl skirts quite yet, but I did enjoy this project, and I’m curious what I will think if I can manage to get some proper photos. Part of my shift in attitude is a shift in my own body, which is rather more hour-glassy here in the latter half of my 30s than it was in my formative years. But still short-waisted. That part actually gets worse as I put weight on my hips. Anyway, it was a fun exercise. And I am now accepting ideas for what to do with a completely superfluous wedding dress.