Friday, 22 February 2013

DIY I Do : Hen Party Dress : Inspiration & Planning

My first DIY I Do post was way back in September of last year…and then I disappeared! Obviously DIY-ing your wedding is more time consuming than I thought!

5 months down the line and I am back and hopefully able to get back to blogging about the process. To be honest, I don’t have much to show for the last 5 months, physically speaking – but I have, at least, finalised all my plans, gathered all my resources and am ready to get going…with only 4 months until D-day (or should that be W-day?!!)…eep!

One of the things I am hoping to sew is a dress for my Hen Party. Now I know this is not strictly ‘wedding’ sewing, but come on…you can’t get married without having a Hen Party can you?!!!

I have had the most beautiful 100% pure silk red dupion in my stash for the last two or so years, which I bought on a business trip to Zagreb. I bought it purely because it was the most beautiful fabric I had laid eyes on, but because I loved it so much, I haven’t been able to settle on a style or pattern to use that I feel would do it justice. I even started a Pinterest board dedicated to inspiration and planning for the ‘red dress’, but I couldn’t find a pattern to match my inspiration photos, plus I didn’t have an event ‘worthy’ of such a special dress (although, do you really need an excuse to make a special dress?!!!) However, when I started thinking about the possibility of sewing a dress for my Hen I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finally use my red silk!

Here are a few images that I have accumulated as inspiration (click images for sources):

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Now these are all very nice, but they weren’t just perfect enough for my silk (I know, I’m picky!). However, I was browsing through one day, looking for inspiration for bridesmaid dresses, when I came across this beauty:


*sigh* just look at it – sophisticated but with a hint of sexy and dash of fun – perfection I tell ya! So that was it, I had decided on the style I wanted for my dress. Now to figure out how I was going to make it…hmmm…harder than I thought. The skirt part should be simple enough to draft without a pattern (two big inverted box pleats), but it was the cross-over bodice with the raglan sleeves that was proving difficult to source – definitely not in my drafting capabilities! I scoured all the big 4 websites for possible patterns, but you know what – raglan sleeve patterns are hard to come by. I thought about mashing a couple of patterns together, but it all seemed a bit complicated to be honest. And then Gertie came to the rescue and released this gorgeous dress pattern through Butterick:

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Oh.My.God. – how perfect is this pattern (B5184)?!!! OK, there are a few differences, such as the waistband and the length of the sleeves, but essentially it is exactly what I am looking for!

So there you have it – my plans for the Hen Party dress. I may try and lengthen the sleeves a little (although not quite sure how you do that). I am also thinking about adding a fun element of pink to the dress, since I discovered that a newly acquired necklace of mine looked so fab with my red silk (this was the sneak peek that I shared last week):


The pink fabric on the left is some lovely Irish Linen that my mum gifted to me from her stash about three years ago (again, too gorgeous to cut!). I’m contemplating making a pleated obi belt/cummerbund out of the pink linen to tie in with the necklace, but would mean I could also wear the dress with other colours by removing the belt, therefore giving me more flexibility (I’m thinking it would make a fab Christmas dress too you see). I’ve also bought some matching bright pink grosgrain ribbon for the waist stay, and I’d like to add pink lace to the hem of my lining – but I can’t source any! I have checked Ebay out, and some online fabric shops, but can’t find anything suitable. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might be able to source this online (pref in the UK)?

Anyway, so far I have made a muslin for the bodice, but unfortunately there are a few fitting issues which I’m unsure how to fix. I’ll take some photos and share with you and hopefully some of you lovely readers might be able to give me some suggestions.

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