The Dress That Almost Wasn’t

I went to a wedding last night.  It was beautiful!

lacedress3 (1 of 1)


I wore a dress I  made, but had very nearly thrown away while making it.

Hubby came home on Friday evening from work to tell me that he had seen an old friend who mentioned he was getting married on Wednesday and would really like it if we would be there.  Of course, my immediate thought was: but what will I wear?  Hubby’s suggestion was a hand-made dress, but the problem was, I didn’t have any ready to go or nearly done(and the dresses I’ve already completed weren’t exactly wedding guest type dresses).

Being the over-acheiver that I am, I announced I would make a dress!  I went to my fabric stash and pulled out some grey fabric and silver lace I had purchased months and months ago with the intention of making some sort of dress with it.  It was the nicest, most wedding-y fabric I had that wasn’t white or ivory(I have some beautiful white wool with silver threads and some stunning gold/ivory lace fabric) because I was not about to wear white to a wedding!

I looked up some inspiration photos and decided to make a fitted bodice with lace overlay, lace sleeves and a fitted A-line skirt(so somewhere between a pencil and an a-line).

The first problem I ran into was with the lace.  It’s a stretchy lace so it was very difficult to get it laid out and cut properly.  In the future if I am making a lace overlay, I will stay FAR AWAY from stretchy lace.  The bodice and lining came together fairly easily(in spite of some lace stretching difficulties).  I had to take the sides in at the arm-pits because they were too loose, but otherwise it seemed to be fitting pretty well.

I altered a skirt pattern to make the style of skirt that I wanted and attached the skirt lining to the bodice.  I did not have a zipper that would coordinate so I ended up going to two different Wal-Marts looking for a zipper and couldn’t find what I wanted.  I had planned to do a lapped zipper so I just needed a regular grey zipper.  I could only find an invisible grey zipper.  I used it like a regular zipper though(because I wanted it sandwiched between the lining and the dress), so maybe I could have done a lapped zipper still but I’m not sure.  I didn’t want to risk it!

So after I sewed the zipper to the lining, I tried it on and everything fit well…YAY!  Now it was time to attach the skirt to the bodice and the zipper.  I had my husband pin the bodice so that it was quite fitted and I used that measurement to take the back in a little more than 1/2″.  After some fighting, I got the zipper installed.  When I tried it on, the skirt was too tight and the zipper was bunching at my lower back.

I didn’t know why, so I thought maybe it was due to cinching in the bodice so tightly, so I unpicked the zipper and re-installed it with the seam allowance of 1/2″ instead of 1″.  It was STILL bunching!


By the way, this was all taking place at about 10pm on Tuesday night!!  I completely freaked out because the dress was unwearable and now I didn’t know what to wear to the wedding.  And furthermore, I had put off working on the dress I wanted to wear to my Christmas party on Friday and so now I had nothing to wear for that either!!

At this point I figured I’d just have to throw the whole thing away.  But I sat there looking at it and felt really sad because the bodice looked so nice and I had worked so hard on it.  It seemed like such a shame to waste it.  I started thinking that MAYBE the reason the zipper was bunching is because the skirt was so tight.  I went to my leftover material(which was much) and thought maybe I *might* have enough left to make a gathered skirt.  So, I removed the offending skirt and carefully mapped out pieces to make a gathered skirt(I literally used almost all of the material I had left).

I sat in bed gathering the skirt by hand and pinned it to the bodice, thinking I was carefully matching up the side seams.  Turns out I matched up the left side seams on the skirt and bodice perfectly, but actually matched the right side seam of the skirt to one of the darts on the bodice.  It turned out all right even though certain areas of the skirt are more gathered than others (I wore a ribbon and let the tails hang down to cover the seam line.)

I got up early to finish the sleeves.  I didn’t even finish off the edges, just left them raw because they looked fine and I don’t think they’ll unravel since they’re stretchy.  I hemmed it with the lace attached, but it looked too heavy and thick, so I brought the dress to work, cut off the heavy hem  and hemmed the underskirt by hand, leaving the lace hanging loose.

It’s definitely not my finest work and if I were to show you the “guts” you’d see all sorts of imperfections, but it photographs well and looks decent to those who don’t know that it’s home-made.



lacedress1 (1 of 1)



lacedress2 (1 of 1)


The bracelet is from my sister’s wedding(which she made), so it was nearly an entirely self-made outfit(shoes are Kelsey Dagger from Victorias Secret)!!

The only thing is, now I have to re-think my dress for Christmas Eve.  The dress I had planned to make is almost *exactly* like this one, only in black.

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So, I’m going to have to go through my patterns and my fabric and look at some inspiration photos to come up with a new idea for Christmas Eve!

In terms of the party tomorrow, well, I won’t be wearing a custom dress because there’s just no way I have the time or the energy to make a dress tonight after work.  So, I will either wear a dress I purchased from Kohl’s on black Friday, find a dress at the mall today(I want to try one on from the Target+Neimen Marcus collaboration), see if there are any bargains at Goodwill or wear a dress I already own.






7 thoughts on “The Dress That Almost Wasn’t

  1. Lorene Theodora says:

    You look so gorgeous in the dress u made! I only just learnt to sew with a sewing machine, it can be so frustrating at times. But its a rewarding experience!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      It is definitely a trial and error process. I only really started sewing last year…I did take home-ec when I was in Jr. High, but that was about it, till my grandma gave me an old crappy sewing machine last fall and I made my sister a Christmas gift. It broke half-way through and my husband bought me a new one, and I’ve been sewing like crazy ever since. We’re lucky to live in a time when there are so many online resources and youtube tutorials. I’ve learned most of my “skills” through those.

      I just love to sew. I never would have predicted it, but it’s my most favorite activity. Even though you can technically buy clothes more cheaply than you can make them(at wal-mart or f21), I still get more pleasure out of constructing my own garment. And I tend to like to use really expensive designer clothes as my inspiration. So I might try to re-create a $500 outfit for $50.

      • Lorene Theodora says:

        That’s what i am learning to do exactly. I’m using my mom’s sew machine and she’s teaching me. People don’t appreciate each individual piece of clothing ever since mass production started. Look forward to seeing your Christmas party dress!


    • guitargrl325 says:

      You know, I did want to give up multiple times but what kept me going is the fact that I had nothing else to wear(well, of course I did, but nothing I wanted to wear ya know) and I had spent all that time and effort in it and I didn’t want it to go to waste!

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