Once a bride... several times a bridesmaid
August 23, 2010
As the summer draws to a close, so too ends yet another wedding season, leaving closets full of retired bridesmaid's dresses. I know, bride's are always saying, "But I picked a dress you can wear outside of the wedding!" Let's be honest - you never do.
I have had several bridesmaid's dresses over the past few years (luckily, I have been a bride as well). Some I have donated, some I have burned (come on, you've been there, too...), but there have been a few I can't stand to just be done with. Two brides in particular have been fantastic friends, and I have always wanted to do something special for them.
The first bride, Alyson, was married to my husband's best friend (and the best man at our wedding) in July of 2009. Chad, my husband, reciprocated best man duties, and I was a bridesmaid (actually, my main job was keeping the bees from stinging the flower girls during the outdoor ceremony). Our dresses were a taupe colored and tea-length with a halter top and a brown sash for accent. The wedding was in the Lake Tahoe area (GORGEOUS!) and the weather couldn't have been better. The ceremony was beautiful, the reception was a blast, and the bride and groom were as wonderful and gracious as could be. Much fun was had by all, and the couple is still happily married and still very good friends with us.
I will confess that I started out with the intention of making something for myself out of the dress. I never seem to have a clutch that can function with both a dressier outfit and something more casual, so I sought to find something to pair with the satin to balance out the elegance. By the time I finished, I decided that I loved the bag so much that I simply had to give it to Alyson (my mind works like that).
Here's a quick summary of my project:
* For the pattern, I chose the Ruthie Clutch from Anna Maria Horner with a few small edits.
* I made the main body of the bag out of the satin from the dress (unpicked and cut carefully so that I had plenty left over). You could recreate this look with duchess satin.
* The top band and the flower are made from a lilac colored microsuede, which was a little more difficult to work with than a regular cotton would have been since it is thicker and didn't make fusing the peltex an easy task. Still, I like the contrasting texture against the satin.
* The pattern calls for a button closure with an actual button hole in the strap. I'm too lazy for that (I'd just leave it open all the time) so I modified the pattern to include a magnetic snap closure. I still used a pretty button for decoration.
* The lining and closure strap are made from a cotton print I had laying around (for the life of me, I can't remember the name of the collection).
* I used some pretty, complimentary trim to hide the craziness of my seams... I mean add an elegant accent.
* The flower is from a tutorial (that I LOVE), found here.
The pattern was mostly straight forward, but it got a little tricky when it came to putting the stabilizer in the band. Admittedly, it probably would have been a lot easier if I had read all the instructions before jumping right in. It wasn't hard enough for me to give up. It did, however, make me realize how badly I needed a pressing ham (the most underrated tool ever). In the end, I decided that I couldn't keep it. Instead, I am giving it to Alyson for a rather belated birthday present. I hope she enjoys it.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for the answer to, "What the heck do I do with a full length, ball gown bridesmaid's dress in midnight blue satin with a whole lot of fabric (to accommodate my then-pregnantly-round figure)?" I'll give you a hint - both the bride's daughter AND son should benefit from my creativity (if I can disassemble the dress correctly).
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