Monday, August 6, 2012

Finished Project: The Wedding Guest Dress

Annnd, we're back!

I've returned from my time off vacationing and participating in friends' wedding festivities. The past week or two has been a bit of a whirlwind  - and now it's AUGUST! What? Where did half of summer go?!

Anyway, as promised, I've got all the juicy details on my latest finished project. Just for the record, I did complete this dress in July, so it still counts toward my one-finished-project-a-month goal - yay!

On the pretty patio at the wedding with Tom.

Dressmaking Details:
  • On the bodice, I lowered the front neckline by 1.5" 


  • Added 2" to the back of the bodice to help hide my bra, but then somehow ended up liking the final look better without one!
  • I made all of the darts inside, instead of outside as the bodice design prescribes.


  • I lined the bodice with muslin and half-assed some bias facing to finish the armholes, since I didn't construct the bodice as I should have in order to properly incorporate the lining (like this). Maybe next time I'll do it right!
  • Ended up just making a small hem for the circle skirt without too much trouble. It isn't perfect, but looks ok to me. 

circle skirt hem and sad (but functional) armhole finish

  • Tried French seams for the first time on the unlined skirt. 
  • I'd wanted to do something interesting in the back since the design of the dress is fairly simple, so I created a tiny key-hole thing with a bow clasp.  

    I used a sturdy clasp and some small snaps to secure the back bow. Note: photos were taken after wearing (and sweating!) in the dress all evening!

  • Didn't actually follow any instructions when constructing the dress, other than the waist-stay tutorial. It was fun to kind of just "make it work" as I went along - even though it didn't result in the most perfectly finished garment.

Waist stay details - sorry for the wrinkles!

Outfit Details:
  • As for my hair, I just put it up in a bun and pinned back my "bangs" (they're almost too long to be called that) in a little swirl.


  • Opted to pair the dress with a thrifted red belt, rather than making one - much easier!
  • Wore with a pair of white wedges and a vintage straw/woven purse. 

vintage(?) straw purse
    • I got the purse at an antique store in Napa, CA a year or two ago when Tom and I were vacationing there. I have no idea what year or decade it's from, though I did notice a tiny "Made in China" tag inside, if that's any indication of its age. I love wearing it because it's just big enough to hold my phone, camera, wallet, and sunglasses and doesn't weigh a ton.

Results of Wear:
  • Let's just say that sitting in the hot sun in 90+ degree weather during the ceremony had me doing *some* sweating, which ended up causing several of the red spots on the fabric to BLEED. I should have seen this coming, since there was a little bit of slight bleeding/running of red-ish dye when I originally washed the fabric prior to starting the project. 

bleeding dots :-/

  • Also, the skirt is now totally wrinkled and creased in a million places - oh well!
  • The back bow kept coming unsnapped whenever I moved, but that wasn't a serious problem, since the clasp stayed firmly closed (keeping the dress from falling off!). It just resulted in one side of the bow flopping around a little bit while unsnapped.

slightly crooked back closeup!

  •  The back did get a little scrunchy/slouchy at times as you can kind of see in the photos.
  • The waist stay started to feel a bit constricting by the end of the night. I definitely unclasped it for the car ride home!

All in all the dress was a hit and I'm pleased with the final result. It was my first go at making a circle skirt, a waist stay, and improvising the back bodice closure the way I did. :)

Yay dress! and Congrats to Mike and Alison! (and yay, food! The salad I've clearly demolished in this photo had edible FLOWERS in it!)


  1. So SO pretty! I love this - it's like summer in a dress and I'm smiling because I'm thinking of warm weather (I've got the heater pumping right next to me atm). The back is equally as gorgeous as the front. I'm guilty of this too, but I find it hilarious how we seamstresses expect our self-made clothing to be perfect at all times. I know when I look at photos of things I've made I'm instantly thinking how annoying this/that creasing/crumpling is. But your dress doesn't look crumpled or non-normal at all. Oh yeah, and love the hair!

    1. Thanks, Melanie! I know exactly what you mean - I'm always critical of my own makes! Also, I'd gladly trade you some hot weather for some of your chilly temps right now. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad It's finally done...and didn't fall apart or malfunction when I wore it. :)

  3. It's really cute! I love the keyhole, and it all looks great on you. I'm glad you had a good trip!

    1. Thanks, Gill - and double thanks for guest posting while I was away!!

  4. Super cute, Sue :) And hey, those armholes are lookin just fine, if it works, it works!!

    1. Thank ya, Jill! I like that attitude. :)

  5. Just too cute! I had plans to make something like this actually. Yeah, probably not happening anytime soon.. Be proud, it's so gorgeous :)

  6. Yay, I've been so looking forward to seeing how your dress for this wedding turned out. You look fabulous! Love the circle skirt, the polka dots, the cool back bow, everything. Pretty hairdo & great accessories. And your date looks pretty cute, too! Hope you got lots of R&R at the beach.

  7. Gorgeous! I'm really impressed with the construction details, esp. the waist stay!

  8. Oh my goodness, I adore this dress...literally everything about it looks perfect to me. The back detail is to die for! I know you stated a few 'issues' with it, but if it was mine, I think I'd want to wear it every day!!!

  9. Adorbs! I love the detail in the back, clever girl. I'm totally going to steal that idea. It's too too too cute. You look like a doll!

  10. You look beautiful!! I love this dress! The back is so pretty! Way to go!

  11. Sue, your dress turned out beautifully! I bet you were the best dressed guest at the wedding :)

  12. This is ADORABLE! I absolutely love it! Great job, girl!!

  13. Great job! Love the polka dots and love the adjustments you made to the dress - the back is spectacular!

  14. Especially love the back detail! That was a great idea!

  15. What a lovely dress, yay for the polka dots! And I really like the back bow detail!

  16. You look absolutely gorgeous and I adore the material and the back! Looks like you had a ab time! I'm new to your blog and lovIng it, definitely following! XxxX

  17. This is so lovely!!! You look gorgeous - well done on such a cute dress. Really love the bow detail you added to the back.
    Shame about the bleeding dots!

  18. I love revisiting old posts!! I thought I have commented on this already.... ah well. Here I go again - love the dress and the fabric, and the bow!! I need to make a dress for a wedding in March, I think I'll draw inspiration from this dress, I've only made one spotty dress in my life!!


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