Dressmaking project: the Maid of Honour dress

With work having been quite hectic, I had to put my wedding dressmaking projects to the side. It wasn’t easy as I’ve still got 1 maid of honour and 1 bridesmaid dress to do. All the details were hashed out ages ago and I was lucky enough to have just the right pattern (the Simplicity 2579 that I bought for another project maxi dress I was working on) for both dresses.


I had looked around for dress ideas and when I had come up with my ideas for dresses and presented them to my sister (who will be my maid of honour) and a really good friend of mine (my bridesmaid), both were very keen on the idea and it just went from there.


Colour scheme idea for the bridesmaid dresses. Source: AliExpress

It was decided that because my sister has an aversion to pink, that purple would be a nice contrasting/complimentary colour to my pinks. I liked the idea of having a lavender/lilac dress and a contrasting dark or royal purple ribbon.

Once work started letting up, I armed myself with the measurements my sister gave me, went fabric shopping and got to work.


Materials for the bridesmaid dresses

Like the white wedding dress, I got a top fabric (this time chiffon instead of lace), base fabric (satin backed crepe) and lining for the bridesmaid and maid of honour dresses. My sister wanted the sleeveless dress with the ribbon for a belt, so that’s exactly what I made. As I’ve made a similar dress before, I thought I would start with a style that I’m familiar with first.


Altering pieces according to the measurements I was given

Most patterns ask you to make gathers (or ruching) around the waist for a gathered look to nip in the smallest part of your waist. You can do this by making basting (or tacking) stitches close to the edge of the fabric with the longer width.

Next, aligning the side seams of the two pieces you want joined, pin them together and shift the gathers until you’re happy with the placement. Then, pin the rest of the way and sew.

I tried to make gathers for this dress, but in the end decided to go with my usual pleats as it feels neater and is more orderly for my slight OCD/perfectionist nature.

Something else I did differently from what the pattern calls for is the skirt itself. I wanted the bodice and waistband to be fitted, but I wanted the chiffon layer to be nice and flowing. I couldn’t do this if I had to sew the chiffon together with the silk backed crepe for the skirt. If you want to achieve a similar look, sew your chiffon pieces together first and hem it and do the same for the silk backed crepe or your base fabric of choice – you’re basically sewing two skirts separately. The next step is to align the two skirt pieces at the waist (to the bodice) and centre back (of the chiffon and silk backed crepe skirt pieces) together with the raw edges folded in – you’ll then be pinning and aligning this with the zipper so this is where it all connects. You’ll have a nice, fitted bodice and a flowing chiffon skirt that moves when you walk!


My sister’s finished maid of honour dress

As I did with the white wedding dress, I assembled the lining as a separate dress and joined this to the dress itself along the neckline, arm holes and along the zipper. For the ribbon belt, I bought the widest ribbon I could get (I believe it’s 2 inches in width) and left the centre slightly off kilter so that one end was slightly longer on one side so that when tied it will hang at different lengths. To prevent the ends from fraying, I snipped the ends at an angle then carefully burned the ends at really low heat so that I could keep the ends straight.

I think the dress turned out quite well for 14.5 hours work and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. When I showed my sister, she couldn’t wait to get her dress so she could try it on 🙂

What do you think of the maid of honour dress? The plan is to get working on the bridesmaid dress this weekend. I will post an update soon!

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