Friday, 13 November 2015

Making a Maternity Bridesmaid Dress - Part 2

As mentioned in my last blog post, I had set myself the challenge of making my own bridesmaid dress for my sister-in-law's wedding, not least because I was finding it a challenge to source maternity occasion-wear that was going to fit the bill.  Having made this decision, I approached the project as follows...

Phase one - adapting the block
My basic block still fit fairly well - with the obvious exception of growing bump and boobs - so in the first instance I adapted my block to allow additional fabric around these areas - a 'slash and spread' exercise, just on quite a large scale when it came to my tummy!  And top tip here, don't forget to true the centre-fold on the front, otherwise the dress just gets baggy round the mid-drift rather than simply having additional fabric to accommodate growing baby.


Phase two - drafting the pattern
One of my favourite stages when dress-making.  With the block now fitting my new shape, this is the more creative part where by, as long as you have plenty of pattern paper and calico to hand, you can just have a play and try different things you have in mind (but never be tempted to start cutting into the original block, it has to be re-drawn every time unless you want the tedious job of trying to stick it all back together each time you want to try something new). 
Pregnancy somewhat dictated an empire line (certainly the most flattering style on me at that time), and I knew a simple flair in a mid-length skirt would be ideal.  But the bodice part was a little more interesting.  I tried a couple of things, including a ruched effect to tie in with the style of the other bridesmaids.  But this didn't help with the whole looking busty thing I was trying to avoid!  In the end, a classic princess seam along with a boat-neck gave me a fitted look on top to off-set my larger bottom half!  I also added a V-shape at the back going into the zip, just to help the outfit feel more occasion-wear than office-wear in style, which ended up being a nice effect.

Phase three - sourcing the fabric and trimmings
I sent off for what felt like every sample of navy fabric that Tissu fabrics had (fabulous shop, you can find their website here).  Seeing them (around 20 pieces) side by side highlighted my challenge - some looked nearly black, others purple. In the end I went for a type of lycra which was a good colour match and had a nice drape. Being a stretch fabric meant it required some interlining to help maintain its shape (I always by mine from The English Couture Company.  You can follow a link to this shop here).
As the design ended up being fairly simple, I decided to go for a lace overlay on the skirt (not least because I love working with lace) and I found some lovely navy applique motifs on-line which I decided to incorporate into the neck-line to give the dress that little extra something (I was Matron of honor after-all, and how often to you get to wear things like that!)

At last, I was ready to go.  I'll let you know how I got on in my next blog post.

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