Thursday, August 23, 2012

International Bridesmaids Dresses

Do you remember back at the beginning of the year when I made a "practice" version of Vogue 2902? Well now I can share with you what that was a practice for.

It was for bridesmaids dresses for Laura's wedding. When we were chatting on skype very shortly after she got engaged she asked me to be a bridesmaid for her, with the other being her sister Anna. I of course said yes (very enthusiastically, this is my best friend afterall), and the conversation carried on. We got onto the topic of bridesmaids dresses and Laura started going through all the various scenarios of how we'd make the whole bridesmaids dresses thing work given that I would be in Australia until about 3 weeks before the wedding, and both her and Anna are in England. She had decided she'd like us to match. After various (very stressful) scenarios were mentioned I piped up that I could possibly make at least my dress, and potentially Anna's dress depending on the style... an offer that she took up!

A few days later she emailed me through a picture of a dress that she'd seen in a magazine that she liked and would like something similar, but in blue, so I set about finding an appropriate pattern. After a bit of a hunt I came up with the following 4 options:


Which (obviously) Laura chose the vintage vogue in the top right.

Next we had to choose fabric. This was a bit of an adventure, as I really wanted to make sure that the fabric was the right colour, and Laura didn't feel that she knew enough about fabric to buy something in the UK and send it, so that that left us with me getting swatches of fabric from shops here in Melbourne, posting them to England for Laura to have a look, and then hoping that the store still had the chosen one in stock!

The fabric we ended up going for was some silk dupion from Franke Stuart, who said that their stock of that type of fabric was relatively constant, and worse case scenario they could order it in, but that'd take about 8 weeks to come in, but at that point we still had that much time to spare, so it was ok. (As an aside, I have nothing but good things to say about the service that I received from Franke Stuart and the range of fabrics that they stocked, I recommend them if you need formal dress fabrics in Melbourne)

The last hurdle to get over was fitting Anna's dress. Obviously I couldn't do any in person fittings for her dress until a few weeks before, and since in that time I was going to be on holiday there I didn't really want to be frantically making a dress if I didn't have to be.

The solution that I came up with was to make a muslin of the bodice, post it to Laura. After giving Laura some very specific instructions for taking Anna's measurements I made up the muslin and posted it off. We then had to arrange a time when Laura and Anna were together (they live in different parts of the UK themselves!) that was also a good time in Australia and have a skype dress fitting! I was all prepared for the possibility of having to send a second muslin over for Anna to try if lots of alterations were required (especially since I'd actually had to grade down to her size because of the size ranges that the pattern splits at).

Thankfully hardly any alterations were needed! It fit pretty much perfectly across the bust, it was a bit tight in the waist, the straps were a little long and we needed to add a little length to the bodice to make sure the seam sat on her waist. Because these alterations were pretty basic I decided to go ahead with making the final dresses.

I took many photos of my progress as I was making the dresses to keep Laura and Anna in the loop with how they were looking, so above is a bit of a mosaic of some of them.

One little thing that I did, because sewing two almost identical dresses was starting to get confusing, was to add a little label into the back with our initials so I could easily and quickly tell them apart:

I completely finished my dress before I left for the UK, and finished all of Anna's except the hem and the zip (incase of needing to do any alterations). I decided to hand pick the zips, and I'm glad I made the effort as I'm super happy with how well the zips turned out:

I (stupidly) didn't get too many photos of the whole dresses, but here we both are:

And here's a great one of Anna, showing the circle skirt:

And here's one of me in mine (sorry for the cropping!), which shows the bows I made quite well:

And you want to know my favourite thing about the dresses? The full skirts!!

Circle skirts are MUCH fun to dance in! Definitely something that will be a factor in all future wedding-guest dress choices - "how much fun will it be to dance in this dress?"

And did you want to know one last awesome thing about the wedding? There was a bouncy castle. Yes, you read that right, a BOUNCY CASTLE! SO much fun!!! And, yes, the dresses held up great on the bouncy castle, want to see proof? Here you go:

Overall it was a slightly stressful process, mostly because I was really concerned about the dresses turning out well and not letting Laura and Anna down, but they turned out fantastically so it was all ok in the end!


  1. Those dresses are absolutely gorgeous - you've done a wonderful job. I cannot believe you did all of that internationally! You should be justifiably proud.

  2. Favourite photos are in the jumping castle... hilarious.

  3. I love those dresses. I have to get that pattern. I think it is amazing that you did all of that internationally too. But then, I've learned so much about sewing from my blogging friends that it really makes sense that you could do it long distance.

  4. Wow! What an amazing thing to do - I would be terrified to make a dress for a wedding but you took that one step further. Gorgeous dresses, fabulous management and the bows are perfect. Adore the colour.

  5. Oh my goodness, you are incredible! I can't believe you took such a challenge on, but the results were perfect! You both look stunning in your dresses and this post has made me want that pattern now!

  6. Wow! Great job. You should be proud.

  7. My gosh! They look fantastic! Just beautiful!!! They fit perfectly <3
    U are amazing!!!!!

  8. Those turned out amazing! I'm so impressed. The full skirt looks so beautiful and so fun to dance in. Best part is you could totally re-wear them!

  9. Great job, you both look really nice! So glad it all worked out for you, that stuff can be stressful.

  10. Sweet dresses. They look fantastic.

  11. I can't even begin to imagine the trans-continental effort that has gone into these two dresses! They look fabulous though, and such a lovely colour (I'm a huge Franke Stuart fan as of just recently). That vintage vogue pattern couldn't have been a closer match for the dress she had in mind. Gorgeous!!

    1. I forgot to mention how impressed I am at your hemming!!! You can't even see the slightest hint of a hem or stitches. Love!

  12. Wow. You are awesome. LOVE these danceable, bounceable wonders. You both look beautiful.

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