Well folks, I have been a busy bee, catching up on my Lady Grey, but the photographic evidence is not the most scintillating unless you love raggedy seam allowances and orange upholstery fabric, so I’m pulling a pre-blog project out of the vault for a post-game analysis. For vanity’s sake, I’ll post the least-offensive photo first. Yikes.purpleback

First, the history. I was a very, very lucky girl earlier this year. Not only did I get to marry my wonderful Mr. Bug under a rose bedecked gazebo in our backyard, basset hound in attendance, but a short week later, my dear friends K&C also got married. Under an arbor. In a backyard. Baby Chihuahua wedding-crasher in attendance.

My friend Karishabear (the K in K&C) gamely put on a giant black crinoline and full-circle, halter-style dress (this one!) to indulge me in my need for black and white vintage bridesmaids. I wanted to return the favor, wearing something that was in her taste to her wedding. Of course, I wanted to make it.

Here’s the inspiration dress. Karisha’s preferred bridesmaid dress. The J.Crew Sophia dress in Violet Stone (no longer available on the website in this color.)jcrew

And here’s my version. With goofy hair.


I initially chose Butterick 5147 as my pattern. A pretty, floaty, dress with a cool skirt, lots of gathers and a surplice neckline. Perfect for my body type, no?5147

[Butterick 5147]

Unfortunatley for me, wedding planning got in the way of sewing (darnnit!) and I ended up not getting to this dress until the Thursday before the wedding. And I had no idea how to go about doing a FBA on this type of neckline (and still don’t!) Stuck with not much sewing time, a big pile of floaty purple and platinum party dress fabric and a mounting sense of panic (coupled with a strong anti-RTW stance), I decided to make a franken-dress.

I thought the gathered midsection and cool skirt of Butterick 5147 were perfect for the fabric and easy to adjust the pattern to my size. For the bodice, I used Butterick 5348, a little scoop neck, raglan sleeve sundress pattern I had previously used to make a dress for my bridal shower. In hindsight, I’m not sure what possessed me, as this is the biggest reason I put this dress in the fail category.Untitled-3

[Butterick 5348 bodice]

I went with this bodice style because it was already cut out from my previous project, I thought the gathers would work with the midriff piece I planned to use and the neckline was interesting and less casual than some other options. Also, in theory it would hide my bra staps – a theory I nicely disproved as evidenced from multiple photos from the wedding…

Here you can see how large the bodice was. I cut a size 24, which matches my bust measurement. I thought since the dress was technically sleeveless, I could get away with this. I didn’t. The neckline was uncomfortable, and the looseness made an already not-great-style for my large bust even worse. purplefront[1]

[seriously. what was I thinking in the hair department?]

I also wish I would have shortened the bodice a bit to raise the midriff piece to a more flattering position. I liked the midriff, which I wore with a vintage brooch pinned to it at the wedding (a brooch that had been on my fan-instead-of-flowers at my wedding!)


All in all, it was an OK dress. I didn’t hate it. I just felt bad, knowing that it could have been so much better, if I’d just put in a little extra time! And I (re)learned the lesson of the value of making a muslin and NOT putting off projects ‘till the last minute!

And now I have a purple and platinum party dress with an odd fit and a style unsuited to most occasions – unless an evening garden wedding pops up again. I’m not sure what to do with the dress, and suspect it’ll hang in my closet, unworn and unloved, but too valuable to send to the thrift shop… what do others do with not-so-loved handsewn garments?

For a full review of the pattern, including the challenges of working with asymmetrical pattern pieces, the crazy hem and my post-sewing euphoria-induced optimism, click here.

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