Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Wedding Day: The saga of the bridesmaids' dresses

When we first got engaged, I didn't give any thought to possible attire for attendants. There were way too many other things to think about. However, my Oldest Friend (and Maid of Honor) started sending me links to bridesmaid dresses, so that made me think about what I might want the women who are doing me the honor of standing up with me to gird their loins with on the day of our nuptuals.

Honestly, I really don't care all that much. I'd like them to be comfortable, and to be able to wear whatever it is again. At first I was very hands-off about it, telling them that I didn't care At All what they wore. Then, Dan figured out what his attendants will be wearing - and while they won't all be wearing the same thing, they will match thematically and somewhat color-wise. I began to realize it might look a little strange to have the groomspeople coordinated and nice-looking and the bridesmaids haphazard. So I asked them, what did they want to wear? We tossed around the idea of staying with one color and doing variations of dress (top/skirt? dress? pants?). Or maybe everyone wearing a different color in the same sort of outfit. Or maybe everyone wear whatever they want, but I get/make them matching shawls. Or - I don't know. It seems silly to me for them to buy a dress they'll never wear again (though I know this is seen as common in this country) or for me to buy them a dress they'll never wear again.

Then, on the alternative wedding planning message board I haunt, I found a link to a company that makes these bridesmaid dresses that are totally customizable and wearable in a ton of different ways. For $300 apiece. Next to it was a link to a crafty message board, with over 100 pages of photos and stories people had written about their experience making, essentially, an identical dress. There was also a link to someone's blog, who had come up with the pattern and made the dress first - the other hundreds of people just followed her lead. And amazingly enough, it seemed pretty simple, for a dress that could be worn in a variety of ways, and such an easy pattern that it seemed anyone could make it.

I've made clothing before, particularly quite a few costumes. I've altered a lot of things as well. I have a sewing machine, and a decent working knowledge of sewing. So hey, maybe I could make these dresses for my bridesminions! It didn't seem terribly difficult, and looked like a dress that all of them would look good wearing, with about a million different ways it could be worn. After emailing them with the links and the explanation, they all seemed to be on board with the idea. The one caveat that I set was that I had to make the dress first, to see how doable the whole plan was, before we really decided that this was the way to go.

The day came on Sunday afternoon. I had several yards of (nonstretchy) fabric I'd bought to make a Ren Faire costume years earlier and never made. I had a sewing machine. I had scissors. I spent hours pouring through all 104 pages of examples and tips and troubleshooting and alterations for this simple dress pattern, a little apprehensive about measuring and cutting my fabric, unsure whether I could make it work. But eventually I got up the nerve to measure and cut, to make some changes due to the unstretchy fabric, to pin and eventually to thread my machine and sew. It's a one-seam dress (if you have the kind of fabric you don't need to hem) - I needed three, despite not hemming, because I cut a couple of parts wrong. Luckily, this was just for practice.

45 minutes after I began, I sat up and took the pins out of the dress. It was done. I tried it on. I tied it one way, and then another. It worked! Even with nonstretchy fabric, the dress worked, and now I have a summery dress to wear (after I hem it, of course), and I'm fully confident that I can get the pattern to work for all four of my henchmaids (even the one with boobs - luckily, lots of busty/curvy women had made the dress and given suggestions for alterations). Hell, if we can agree on some fabric (and I don't care if they all wear the same color as long as they're in the same color group), I can make all the dresses while we're in California, and they'll be there waiting until the end of March. The Oldest Friend/MOH won't be around, but the best part is that we're essentially the same size/height, so if it will fit me it will fit her. QIR and I are going fabric shopping while we're out there, possibly tomorrow, and the dresses may all be done by Christmas.



Sara said...

Very exciting! Good for you!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Dear mle,

when the apocalypse comes and we need people with skillz, I'd like for us to be part of the same end-times tribe. I offer cheese skillz in return.



Anonymous said...

My mom sewed all of her bridesmaids dresses too, and I think that's a pretty fucking awesome thing to do. Way to go, you talented thing, you.