Boo! I’m back! I just moved house so I decided to postpone New Year by a month, and therefore my resolution to blog more regularly. After all I do live in Latin America, and I have taken that as a wonderful excuse to embrace my laissez-faire attitude to timekeeping.
That trait saw me in my dressing gown, using iron-on hem tape (!) to finish my shantung silk wedding party dress 20 minutes before our guests were expected. Luckily it didn’t start coming down until everyone was seriously refreshed and lacking the focus to see unravelling hems.
We had such a lovely day. I managed to get lipstick, chocolate sauce, AND wine on my dress, which I think is the sign of a really good party. I really ought to get it dry cleaned before our actual wedding, whenever that may be… we were planning to do the legal bit before Christmas, but getting married in Argie turns out to be a bit more complicated than we had anticipated, so we went ahead with the party anyway. As it was Simon’s first visit to England for four years, we weren’t sure if we’d get another chance to celebrate lurve, union, and profiteroles with our families!
Speaking of families, what wouldn’t I have given to have had my lovely grandparents dance at our wedding? What a stylish pair. Nanny Sheila and Siddy’s ability to throw a terrific party definitely lives on in my parents. Especially when it comes to the buffet. I have more wonderful photos of them that deserve a post of their own.
Simon surprised me by having one of his father’s suits adjusted. I think he looks rather elegant, don’t you? And crucially, the blue looks wonderful with my polka dots. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS.
Wine was drunk, delicious curry eaten, speeches spoken, and dances danced. Even karaoke was bravely attempted. Thanks to Mum and Dad for a terrific party, to my brother and sister for being turtley allsome, to everyone who came; and most of all to Simon, my media naranja. Gosh, it’s getting a bit like an Oscar’s acceptance speech in here, isn’t it? Without the obligatory nip slip.
Enough emotion! What about THE DRESS?
Many hours were wasted in procrastination about what style of dress to make. I briefly considered buying a dress to stop the dizzying brain vacillations. Pinterest was crucial in helping me not make up my mind, but on the board you can see many of the design features used in the final dress, as well as every other possible combination of design feature. And even some featurettes.
By a stroke of luck, Gertie’s Butterick 5814 pattern was released and includes two of the main elements I had decided on – a deep v-neckline and a drapey bit at the waist. I was rescued from the anxiety of making the pattern myself and was curious to try the first commercial pattern I have used in years.
My only complaint about the pattern is that I eventually had to make up the dress two sizes smaller than indicated by the envelope measurements. I’ve mentioned before my penchant for snug clothes, but I do think a boned dress should fit quite tightly and not have the 8cm+ ease that was apparent in the toile, making it almost completely useless for fitting purposes. Also, commercial pattern have crazy mad 1.5cm seam allowances! I had forgotten. What a waste of fabric.
Here’s the adjusted toile. My mum and Dressmaker Sibling Issy helped me with the fitting, just like the shoemaker’s elves, they were! Though I didn’t wake on the morning of the party and find the dress magically finished. Bad elves. You can see how much has been taken out at the back by how close together the skirt darts are. In the end I decided just to throw in the toile towel completely and cut the silk two sizes smaller in the silk, which was terrifying.
The back view shows a fitting problem that could have been solved with a working toile – the drag lines from the waist show it could have been a little looser in the hips. Looking back, this was evident from the toile I did make, but time was short and I was feeling too panicked to have deep fitting thoughts.
The sleeves I drafted myself, in a slightly unorthodox manner… using a very vague toile from the original pattern piece that Issy helped me fit to my arm with pins. I didn’t want the bother of making a two-piece sleeve like in the lovely version made by Laura Mae of Lilac and Lace, so I added a dart at the shoulder to stop the sleeves slipping off. The result is surprisingly effective, considering the slapdash method, and opened my eyes a bit to the possibility of design using draping techniques.
The fabric was bought from Charm’s (apostrophe theirs) in Buenos Aires’ fabric barrio, Once. I had flirted with the idea of a red dress, but this fabric fed my polka dot addiction and I fell for it even though I have never seen myself as a bridal white kind of person. The dress has a metal zip, as is usual in vintage-inspired dresses. I failed to add a hook and eye at the top. I had more urgent matters on my mind, like not wearing my pyjamas to my own wedding celebration. I won’t swear that I wouldn’t wear them to someone else’s.
There is a lot of pressure to wear the MOST AMAZING DRESS EVER for your wedding, which I certainly felt when deciding on the design. In the end I was happy with my dress, happy that I (finally) made it, and had a wonderful time in it. When it comes down to it though, a wedding is just another party – it’s what you wear during the rest of your marriage that really matters.