I had three amazing friends in college and the last one is got married Memorial Day weekend in Denver. Well, technically, I’m the last one, but I don’t count because I don’t want to get married. Anyway, Ali told the bridesmaids to get a gray dress. Any grey dress. Long. Short. Dark Gray. Light Gray. Grey. Whatever you prefer.
I thought about it and I kept coming back to the idea of making my own dress. I’ve been fairly successful with garment sewing and I needed a challenge. I started planning and pinning on Pinterest and I soon had an idea of exactly what the dress would look like and what fabrics I would use. I wanted lace and tulle and something super feminine and pretty. This was my inspiration: minus the bow and plus sleeves: Dress
The pattern was easy. I would start with the Colette Macaron, which I already owned, but had never made. Then I would just add a simple tulle circle skirt. I did some heavy Googling to find people who had made the Macaron with a lace overlay. All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go had made the perfect version and it had a keyhole back! I wanted a keyhole back! I found out how to create a loop from thread for the button on the back. I Googled Couture finishing techniques. I Googled putting in an invisible zipper even though I’ve done it before, but I wanted/needed more confidence. I Googled the best ways to work with tulle and make a circle skirt. I basically did a TON of research.
Once I had done all of that, I needed to find fabric since my local shop doesn’t carry the special occasion fabric. I thought about ordering from Mood or somewhere online, but I would have to buy swatches first. I didn’t want to wait that long. So I gave up and went to Joanns. They actually had quite a few options. I found a good lace, a good lining, and some decent tulle there. Overall, I was pleased with what I came out with.
Next, I had to mess with the pattern a little. Colette patterns are drafted for people who do not have my shape. I was hoping that with a decent bra, I wouldn’t need to do a small bust adjustment. I knew that I would need to lengthen the waist though, so I added two inches. Then I had to mess with the pattern pieces a bit since I was using a lace overlay with a side seam plus the keyhole back. Overall, it wasn’t too hard and I think I only had to re-cut a couple of small pieces. I cut VERY carefully because of the pattern of the lace, the edges, and just not wanting to mess up in general. I drafted the circle skirt, which was super easy. I had already decided that I would bind as many seams around the lace as I could so it would look nice, so I also cut some bias binding strips.
Then I got started. I dedicated an entire weekend to the dress and I spent the majority of it in my sewing room. I think a took a break to teach a class. 🙂
I started with the bodice because I figured the circle skirt would be the easiest part. I was right for the most part. I took my time. I sewed slow. I thought. I stopped. I looked. It took forever. I sewed down all of the binding by hand. I pinned like crazy. I was careful.
It turned out beautifully. I was sooooooo proud of it. I tried it and on it fit. Ideally, I would have made a muslin especially for a project like this, but the fabric wasn’t expensive and I could always go out and buy a dress, so I chose not to. The fit was snug, but if I took a small seam allowance, it would be OK. I’d size up next time and do the small bust adjustment. I could have added another two or even more inches to the waist. If I hadn’t added the two that I did, it would have been an empire. I was pretty disappointed in that, but unless I wanted to start completely over, I had to leave it, so I did.
I didn’t even take much of a break and I went right to working on the skirt. Six layers of tulle does not tame easily, but I managed it. And I put in the invisible zipper, which was not fun AT ALL. It looks easy, but there are little things about it that definitely do not make it easy. I was successful, though, and I think it would be easier without tulle. There bottom side seam lines up when the zipper is zipped, but the top one is off by a bit. I’m not sure what happened there, but it’s going to be hidden by a belt, so I let it go. I actually think I ripped it out once and decided if I didn’t work out the second time, I wasn’t going to bother with it. I left the tulle unhemmed and used a rolled hem on my serger for the skirt lining.
I ordered a wide black belt, hot pink shoes (the bridesmaids had different colored shoes), jewelry, and a black clutch. The outfit was totally finished and accessorized.
Are you ready to see it?