Back in May two of my good friends from college got married. I knew I wanted to make a dress for the occasion, and the dress code was black tie optional. This make required some serious thought (and investment), so I went to my local fabric shop, Mulberry Silks for inspiration. I was only looking for ideas (silouette, color, fabric type), but walked out with the Burda 6994 pattern and 4 yards of a gorgeous Vera Wang sateen. Fortunately they have a student discount!
Because I knew this dress was going to be expensive, I made the lining my muslin. It is made out of a pretty nasty gold sateen from Joann’s. I would’ve chosen a nicer color, but the reds they had were all wrong, and this gold was cheaper than some of the other neutrals. The lining pieces are significantly shorter than the dress, but I cut them full-length for fitting purposes. Then, once I was satisfied with the fit, I cut off the extra length to use this as the lining before hemming. The major changes that I made were to 1) shorten the length of the dress, 2) use smaller seam allowances at the side seams around the lower hip, 3) take out a wedge of fabric at the center front from the neckline through the knees (because the princess seams were too wide), and 4) omit the halter strap.
PSA: If you even make a close-fitted backless garment, make sure you know what bra you’re going to wear before making your muslin. I took the lazy approach and wore a traditional bra through the muslin fitting stages. Big mistake. Once I made the real dress, the bust area was much too large because I didn’t account for differences in bras.
All is well that ends (relatively) well, though. You can probably tell that I had some difficulties shaping the bust area to myself with the fashion fabric. There are some weird wrinkles in that area, but I was afraid I was making things worse the more I played with it. This fabric does not really like the iron. It requires a lot of patience to stay in place, and will change colors (anybody know what the technical term is for this?) when it gets too hot.
The original dress has a little train to it. I decided this was too much for me, so I put the gown on my mannequin and hemmed it to the floor all the way around. It turns out that you actually don’t hem a floor-length dress to the floor. Rather, it should be about 1/2″ off of the floor so that you can walk properly. I’m constantly learning through sewing… I wore flats to the wedding (hello Achilles injury!), but left the hem wide enough that I could redo it if I ever felt compelled to wear it with heels.
When Brandon first saw me try on this dress, he said I looked like Jessica Rabbit. I’ll admit I didn’t know who that was and had to google that to see if I should be offended or not, but now I’m pretty sure it was meant as a compliment. I was certainly happy with the dress. I walked home in the pouring rain after the wedding, though, and then the dress sat in a drenched pile and got crazy wrinkly. I have not been able to get out the wrinkles, so please forgive them in these pictures (taken post-wedding). Hopefully a trip to the dry cleaners will do the trick!
Pattern: Burda 6994, size 10
Fabric: 4 yards Vera Wang sateen from Mulberry Silks @ $14.95/yd & 3 3/8 yards gold sateen from Joann’s @ $5.99/yd
Notions: Invisible zipper, interfacing
Cost: $59.30 fabric + $20.23 lining fabric + $1.50 zipper + $3.30 microtex needles + thread and interfacing from stash = $84.33 ($99.28 with pattern)
Time: 25 hours