My friend Karen got married on April 12th and so I very optimistically decided I would start making a dress for the event on the Sunday morning before. The same day Mad Men premiered. Giving me roughly 5 hours to make a dress. Not impossible, certainly. But considering that this was going to be a fabulously fashionable wedding (Karen and her friends are some of the best dressed folks I have the pleasure of knowing), I knew that one of my homespun, charming (read: hastily sewn together) quilter’s cotton dresses would not cut it.
I remembered I had bought a bunch of dark green taffeta during the holidays with dreams of making a holiday party dress. That clearly never happened. Busy schedules and life and suddenly no time for sewing —
By the way, I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been neglecting this blog for month and months. That would be rude and disingenuous. That you are even still reading this is touching and undeserved.
So yes, dark green taffeta. With a black plaid patten and an iridescent quality to it. It’s even kind of seersucker, dare I say. It’s all synthetic and slippery and lovely and a TOTAL PAIN TO WORK WITH. So naturally, I figured I’d cut it on the bias because I just want to make things harder on myself. And why did I cut it on the bias? Well, to make chevrons, of course! I’m such an asshole to myself sometimes.
See, optimistic and ambitious. And possibly a little stupid. But certainly optimism and ambition would never be if not for a little bit of stupidity too.
Another challenge with synthetic taffeta, not so fun to iron. D’oh! Got a bit carried away with the heat settings.
I somehow managed to cut out the front bodice without totally fucking it up. The stripes matched up perfectly and the pleats worked out well. This is one of those patterns where you just have to blindly trust the pleat guides because it looks like total insanity when you’re pinning it. But somehow, it all turns out lovely.
I actually finished about 90% of the dress before Mad Men started at 6 (watched the East Coast broadcast because we weren’t about to wait when we didn’t have to). Yay, for dolman sleeves and no buttons! Always makes for a quicker dress assembly. All that was left was putting in the zipper and hemming the sleeves and skirt, all of which I did by hand. I’ll pretend I hand-picked the zipper to be fancy, but really it was just so I could watch TV while sewing.
Oh, wait. Did I mention I made a matching tie for Joey? Sure, why not throw that in there too because I like to stress myself out. I also managed to finish all the machine sewing on the tie before Mad Men and did the hand-stitching later. The tie pattern I have is from the early 80s, so rather than make a wide tie that my husband would hate me for, I just use the narrow end-piece twice. Voila! 1960s skinny tie. Incidentally, making ties are pretty easy. It’s a fun thing to do with any leftover yardage you have and it helps with finding your husband at the end of the night. You seen a guy wearing a tie that matches my dress?
So how did it turn out? Pretty fucking great, if I do say so myself! And considering all the other fabulous attire on all the other guests that night, I was glad I put in the effort and didn’t mar the otherwise STUNNING landscape of everyone’s best glad rags.
See for yourself.
Horrible photo of me, but this is one of the only full length shots of the dress anyone got all night. Sewing vanity above facial vanity.
And the beautiful, happy couple, Karen & Jon! This was seriously one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to — and my dress had nothing to do with this (though it didn’t hurt). Karen & Jon are two of the kindest, greatest people I know and it truly showed in all the wonderful people that filled the hall that night. So many great friends and new friends and old friends everywhere. Not a damn dud in the joint.
So, © Copyright various friends, 2013. There, now I’m slightly less of a dick.