Updates on my wedding dressmaking project: the evening reception dress

I thought when I posted my idea for my evening reception dress that it would have been finished before the summer was over. I think I was getting a bit over-ambitious (or slacking?) because I’m still working on it. I was planning to work on a couple of other exciting dressmaking projects (here and here), but it doesn’t look like I’ll get started (or finished) before the wedding.

The good news is, I’m making good progress with the evening reception dress though with only 9 hours worth of cutting, pinning and sewing (by machine and by hand)!

With the white wedding dress, the skirt was unfortunately too long so I couldn’t keep the original scalloped edge for the hem. I’m still planning to go in and cut around it and stitch where necessary by hand so it doesn’t appear as a straight edge. With the evening reception dress, I managed to position the hem of the skirt pieces on the scalloped selvedge so that I don’t need to hem the dress.

I’ve found that working on the darts first usually means you finish the dress quicker, only because that’s the main fidgetly bit (that and pleats). Otherwise, it’s usually just a matter of lining up seams and straightforward stitching pieces together.

Bodice front in progress

Usually pattern instructions tell you to do the zipper last, but I’ve found that doing the front half (ie stitching the bodice to the skirt) and the back half (stitching the skirt pieces along the centre then attaching the two bodice back pieces at the waist to the skirt) is the best way to go. When you’ve got your back half, it means you can lie the back half flat and see how to get the zipper on straight. It also makes pinning a lot easier: you can turn the piece upside down, back to front and reach your arms under from the sides, which you can’t do when the dress is already put together.

Back half stitched

Front half

The cutting of the pieces alone took 3.5 hours because I had to cut pieces for each fabric (lace, silk backed crepe and lining) separately. You might wonder why I didn’t just put the fabric on top of each other and cut it all in the one go. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The lace is too thick to let you do this well
  • The lace, silk backed crepe and lining have different widths so I will have bought different lengths. You couldn’t accurately cut the pieces properly (without some pieces being shorter/longer) if the weren’t all of the same width and length
  • I’ve positioned the hem of the skirt pieces along the selvedge so I don’t need to hem it, but doing the same with the crepe would mean wasting a lot of fabric to scrap
  • With the Vogue V8667 pattern, the lining has separate skirt pieces which are shorter. Without wasting material (by cutting the skirt lining pieces the same length as the crepe and then shortening this), I couldn’t get the lining to be the correct length

When I made the Vogue dress before, I miscalculated the length of the zipper and ended up having a bigger gap than I needed. I had to go back and correct the centre seam so that there wasn’t an opening at the end of the zipper. Although I measured the zipper against the back half before pinning and sewing, it seems I’ve made the opening slightly smaller. I can still get the dress on, but because the mannequin can’t be adjusted and the bust and hips are bigger than my own, I couldn’t get the dress on the mannequin, so had to model finished shell of the dress on a hanger instead. You can get an idea of fit from the photos above though!

The collar doesn’t appear in photos as well, but it’s done in the same black silk backed crepe and gold lace as the rest of the dress

Now I’ve only got the lining to do so that I can attach this and take in raw edges of the arm hole and it’s finished! I’m really excited about how well the dress turned out. At first I wasn’t too sure if the gold and black contrast would be too much, or if the dress itself would be too much gold, but the black crepe and the black lace under the gold paint complement each other nicely. You might remember that I was hesitant at first with using black under the gold because it’s quite a sombre colour, but it really brings out the gold which is a great colour in Chinese culture. It used to be used only by the Emperor or Empress as the colour of royalty and is significant of wealth. With such positive connotations, how could I not love the colour?

Without intentionally meaning to, I’m also instantly reminded of Dolce and Gabanna’s royal 2012 A/W collection:

Source: Fashion for Everyone

Source: Swatchopedia

Source: Pinterest

Fashion Naturally

Source: Pinterest

Fashion royalty, anyone? What I’d really like is these D&G gilded gold heels to go with my dress!

Source: Pinterest

As always, I would really like to hear your thoughts! Let me know what you think about my evening reception dress by commenting below!

2 thoughts on “Updates on my wedding dressmaking project: the evening reception dress

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