May 9, 2015

Party dress revealed!

And here it is! The dress I've been working on and blogging about for a little over a week. Just to recap: We were invited to a friend's wedding but didn't know about it until a week and a half before the date because our invitation had got lost in the mail (we later found out that the same had happened to a two other guests as well). At that point, I decided to try and make an appropriate dress. A dress I have had in mind for a year or so. 

Obviously, I've taken these pictures after this particular garment met its destiny. I wore it yesterday to the wedding of our friends V and A. 
They got married at a casual restaurant in the dunes near the beach where they arrived side-by-side on horseback. Both bride and groom looked splendid in black and white. The weather was the best it has been in a week or so: the wind had calmed down and occasionally the sun came out. Most notably during the outdoor wedding ceremony, just after bride and groom had said 'I do' :)

So, before I took these pictures, the dress had already survived a car ride, sitting and standing, cake, drinks, dinner and crazy dancing... So I hope you can forgive a few creases (I tried to iron the skirt before taking pictures but sat on it again to put my shoes on). 


And today, the wind was back...

For this dress, I don't have to give technical details now. You can read all about those in my posts from the past week. 

I will repeat this: I've had the idea for something like this because I thought it would be great to combine all the different skills I've acquired over the years: Not just in sewing but also in pattern making, lingerie, corsetry and bridal wear. 

Which is why it had to be a strapless dress with bra-style underwired cups, covered with the kind of draped fabric often seen on bridal gowns with a skirt which has a Pattern Magic knot. 

A few things I didn't tell you yet: I used spiral steel boning in those boning channels. I had pre-tipped bones but some were too long, so I tried making tips from electrician's shrink wrap for the first time, which worked very well. 

To make sure I could get in and out of the dress on my own, I added a little trick I learned when altering wedding dresses. Those bits of elastic which stick out through the lining at waist level are connected to the structure layer inside. When you put the dress on, you close the lingerie hook-and-eye on the elastic strap first. This holds the dress in the right position and allows you to devote both hands and all your attention to zipping it up.

About that zipper... I went with a rather heavy metal one. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, I don't trust invisible zippers for closely fitted strapless bodices. I just don't think they can take the strain (I've come across one bridal wear brand which thought they could. I remember because I've had to replace a few of those zippers...). The obvious alternative would be a normal zipper. Preferably set in as a lapped zipper. But that tends to work badly with all those layers in the bodice. Often, the overlapping piece has a tendency to stick straight up instead of covering the zipper. So, I went the other way. I'm not hiding the closure. And if you are going to see it anyway, I like a metal zipper. Just a bit of added edge. As I do usually, I set it sort of like an invisible zipper so you don't see stitching on the outside. 

And I can report that I'm not at all disappointed by what it was like to wear this dress. I was a little bit anxious about that. After all, I've given plenty of instruction about how behave when wearing a formal, strapless dress but I had never worn one myself. It's not like wearing a t-shirt, obviously, but this custom-made one stayed in place perfectly and wasn't uncomfortable. The skirt allowed for plenty of room to walk and its ties remained nicely in position and that bolero was just the little cover-up I needed.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with this dress. It may just be the most complicated single item I've made and I'm really glad it all worked out as planned.


26 comments:

  1. Wow, this dress is really stunning and it´s perfect for you! Congratulations!!

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  2. it so so lovely, and it came together beautifully - there is a lovely balance to it. the little bolero is very handy. sounds like a lovely day also - good tip on the internal stay

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  3. I think it's absolutely beautiful, I'm very impressed! It looks fantastic on you!

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  4. What an amazing and stunning dress, well done!

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  5. Fantastic job -- it looks gorgeous!

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  6. Wow, it is just gorgeous. All your skills have come together perfectly! I like how you made it out of everyday fabric too rather than evening fabric.

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  7. its a wonderful dress, love the draping and you look fabulous in it!

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  8. Beautiful work. I especially love the draped look.

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  9. omg lady, you look AMAZING in this dress! I love everything about this dress, but most especially the knot on the hips!!! very very amazing!

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  10. Stunning- perfect style for you, beautifully made. Wowser!

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  11. This really is stunning and you have just the perfect figure for it too :) Well done!

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  12. gorgeous, what a perfect fit and figure. Better than vintage!

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  13. wow that is gorgeous! Love it, it suits you!

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  14. Wow, I am so inpressed by this. Well done!!

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  15. Oh my goodness Lauriana, this/you are breathtaking! What a wonderful design and the fit is perfection!!!

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  16. That is every bit as amazing, jaw-dropping, gorgeous, sculptural, and awesome as I thought it was going to be!!!! HOLY cow. Gorgeous. So glad it turned out and you got to play with all those techniques, and thank you so much for taking us all through it! (And I love that you made it in grey suiting even just a little bit more!)

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  17. What an absolutely beautiful and interesting dress. I just love it (and covet it!)

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  18. This is absolutely beautiful, Lauriana!

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  19. Va va voom! What a gorgeous creation. You look absolutely amazing!

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  20. Lauriana, Hi there! This dress is absolutely beautiful! You are quite talented! I have one question - more often than not you make clothes that are a gray color - why do you make them gray? Thanks, Kathy from Arizona

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  21. Fantastique!!! I love it! Great job!

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  22. Beautiful dress! And I love the idea of using elastic for the waist stay instead of grosgrain ribbon. A touch more give for comfort & breathing room, but enough support to hold the bodice the way a waist stay is intended. I'll have to give it a try the next time I make a dress.

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