You may remember I wasn’t 100% happy with the original result – it was too majestic for my small frame. In the end, I left the overskirt panels out; on my mother’s suggestion, I kept the white panel, instead of replacing it with blue dupioni. Maman thought the contrasting white was very original and made the dress unique. To even out the blue and the white, though, I added a blue and white flowery trim that matched the jewellery and emphasized the basque waist.
As you now know, I decided to also make a simpler, less “glamorous” one for the actual ceremony (which shall be featured in a later post). This one, on the other hand, seemed perfect for the late afternoon/evening reception. It did look more of an evening dress to me.
The evening reception was hosted by my parents in their countryside house in the Pas de Calais, 3 hours from Paris (near Montreuil, for those of you who know Les Misérables!). This was exactly what Seb and I had been dreaming of – a simple outdoor reception, in my beloved, beloved native countryside. It is also 5 minutes from my grandma’s, and that had been another reason for hosting the reception there. It would have allowed her to be part of the party. As you know, this was not to be – but she was in our hearts.
Here is the gown, half-zipped on my dressform (my dressform’s back is larger than mine, which is a huge PITA, so I can’t put close-fitting garments onto it).
This was a picture taken to check the bolero’s fit (it was still a bit large so I adjusted it further after the picture); it shows the back of the dress well.
As you can see, I made a bolero jacket from the white taffeta to go with the dress; in the end, though, I only got to wear it to walk from my flat to the church in the morning, and later in the evening when it got chilly.
- Base pattern: New Look 3618 (with alterations). Highly recommended, but with modifications to the fit and construction. A muslin was absolutely necessary. The empire lines and basque waist are gorgeous, this is a great pattern.
- Main fabric: dupioni silk in Windswept Blue, by the Silk Baron. Absolutely, wholeheartedly recommended. (Thank you, Summerset, for mentioning him on your blog some months ago!)
- Secondary fabric: white taffeta, a gift from Becky. I could have used white dupioni, but liked the contrast of the smooth, smooth fabric against the more textured blue dupioni
- Lining and underlining: cotton and poly-cotton German batiste.
- Dupioni Fabric = 33 euros (with shipping)
- 100% cotton Batiste Lining and poly-cotton underlining = 10 euros (w/ shipping)
- Pattern = 7 euros (purchased locally)
- White taffeta = part of Becky’s birthday gift (she gave me a GC to an online fabric store)
- Total cost = 50 euros
- Actual value = priceless. How do you price a unique, custom-made, made-to-measure dress, born from your own dreams and which you spent a hundred hours on, trying to put as much love for your grandma into it as your heart may hold and your hands may express? (I wrote and sewed a message for my grandma into the lining of the dress.)
I must confess that I am proud of this dress. There are a lot of couture details – lots of hand-sewing; a lining and an underlining; boning; an inner waist stay; a tiny invisible slipstitched hem. I learned *so much* through this dress – about the handling of silk, the making of a formal garment. I would never have managed it without Susan Khalje’s Bridal Couture, without the first SewStylish issue (Get Red Carpet Ready), and above all, without your continued encouragement.
Special thanks to some very wonderful, talented and exacting seamstresses out there (you know who you are), whose blogs are an unending source of wonder and motivation. There were times when I grew a little weary and considered taking shortcuts – but the ever-renewed inspiration offered by your own scrupulous work always put me back on the right track and helped me to strive for nothing but excellency in every step of the process.
Take care, everyone. Love to you! Thanks to all of you who accompanied me in this process.