Wedding Party Sewing
We wanted everyone in our immediate wedding party to have a handmade element to their outfit. For the bridesmaids this was the dresses/outfits and for the groomsmen we decide ties and pocket squares.
I gave free reign on style and gave a variety of fabrics for each to choose from for the bridesmaids. For the ties, Dan had a very specific idea for the print in mind – but we let the groomsmen decide what size tie they’d want or whether they’d prefer a bow tie.
I measured up the bridesmaids – just like I would myself for a pattern. Using my experience of fitting my dress I was able to alter each dress to fit each ‘maid. It was much easier measuring for them than myself!
Christine opted for a racer front style dress. She has an epic shoulder tattoo so it showed it off beautifully. We chose The Acton by In the Folds together and opted for a View A with a View B back. I only toiled the top of the dress just to ensure the fit on the panels was okay before hand. I loved making this dress and I’m desperate to make one of my own.
The instructions of In The Folds are informative, straight forward and easy to follow. I love them! Construction was a breeze! The only mod was to grade the skirt between a couple of sizes but the pattern is well designed to accommodate this type of adjustment. I used the crepe side of a forest green crepe back satin I bought in my local habdash.
We decided that a 60’s swing dress would suit Jenny. After a great experience of The Acton. I used the free Ruffle-Sleeve Top from Pepermint Magazine, designed by In The Folds. I drafted the top longer and to give it the swing we wanted. Unfortunately, it was too much swing when we came to fit it. Having taken out some of the swing, on the second fitting, the dress still wasn’t quite right.
We decided to take the drastic leap of cutting it at the empire line and gathering the skirt to reattach it. It was on a pure whim! But we both loved the outcome and I also want to make one for myself. I probably wouldn’t recommend the fabric, so I haven’t linked it, it creased just looking at it. It was very sensitive to the iron too and frayed badly. My vacuum still picks up little green threads.
Jough went for a jumpsuit. I couldn’t find a jumpsuit that exactly fitted the bill/ lost patience trawlling through every pattern website just in case it wasn’t listed on The Foldline. SO I WINGED IT. It’s sort of a mash-up between the Holly Jumpsuit and the V9251. Both patterns I had in my stash. But the mashed up pattern is very loosely based on both.
I used the Holly as my instructions for construction and the darts and waist of the top of the trousers then drafted the trousers legs much narrower. I then used the cross over pattern pieces of the V9251 cutting the back pieces as two pieces so I could insert a zip closure down the back. It needed a couple of tweaks but on the first fitting it was pretty much there. I was so chuffed. I used the crepe side of a crepe back satin again, this time from Fabric Godmother.
It was the Maid-of-Honour dress that was the last to be made. Michelle only stipulated a maxi dress and some sort of bow at the waist line and she had decided this very early on in the process so it was an easy brief, so naughtily left it ’til last! I had a brand new M7569 in my stash from the wedding dress process and I wanted to make a Gorgeous Couture style dress. But all the jersey samples I sent off for came back too shiny, too casj or too dancewear-y. I couldn’t find any UK stockist of that type of luxury/slinky jersey.
In the end I went for a bottle green peachskin and after the jumpsuit mash-up decided to put a zip and a facing in the M7569 then fashion a belt/tie at the waistband. Voila! Well not quite, originally I cut the skirt bigger so I could gather it at the waist. It looked awful so I redesigned it – winged it again – and came up with this sleek silhouette and massive leg slip. Swit-swoo.
Ties, bows and squares
I used this freebie pattern from Named Clothing to make the ties. I did test the bow included in this pattern, but personally felt it was too small and not the right style for the bow ties we wanted. We’ll get on to that in a mo. The hardest thing to source were the materials. We trawled every fabric website to find the right ditsy floral. The one we settled on was from the then new Rifle Paper Co collection: Amalfi – it wasn’t released until mid-April and it didn’t make it to the UK until at least 10 days after the US release. We stalked every UK seller everyday until The Tartan Reel announced it had arrived!
Next saga was finding the right padding for the tie. Just simply, not an expert in tie making so we took a tie to my favourite haberdashery and we matched it up to some curtain lining (domette if you wanna google). The only addition I added to the pattern was the tie band at the back of the tie to tuck in the tail. Nope, I have no idea what it’s called.
The bow ties were completely self-drafted. We wanted the folded look from them so went to measure bow-ties in shops. I realised I didn’t bring a tape measure haha so I used what I had. It actually turns out that bow ties are about the size of an iPhone SE (130mm x 60mm)! We wanted it to be a folded bow, but the lazy version, so I made a pattern based on these measurements. I tested it with paper and decided I needed a length 4 times the iPhone (520mm) and cut the paper pattern piece on the fold so I had a rectangle of fabric measuring 520 x 120mm.
We ordered the alternate colour way of the Rifle fabric and I made 40cmx40cm pocket squares with a rolled hem to finish.
Turns out that making a wedding dress gave me lots of blind confidence and ‘wing-it’ self belief. I honestly can’t believe how much of these outfits I made up along the way! And that they worked out. If you want to incorporate some handmade elements I’d totally recommend considering the wedding party as the place to do this!
The groomsmen all found high street green suits from Next, ASOS and M&S and complimented this with brown shoes. Dan chose to contrast and wore a grey Next suit with a pink shirt. Finally, and because leopard print is a neutral, the bridesmaids all chose their own shoes to go with their dresses and the rest of the wedding party. Our friends scrub up pretty darn well!