Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bridesmaid and Flower Girl Dresses

How to make 3 bridesmaid and 2 flower girl dresses:

1. Find the perfect pattern and material.
After searching for quite a while, Miriam picked out McCall's Evening Elegance pattern #3954 for the bridesmaid dresses and Simplicity pattern #9497 for the flower girl dresses. Her wedding colors are plum and white, and after looking for a long time, we finally found the perfect color satin at Hancock's, along with the same color sheer overlay for the bridesmaid's and white braid, and a white overlay for the flower girl's at Hobby Lobby.

2. Cut out the dresses, making sure you have multiple measurements and making alterations as needed.
I cut out and began sewing the flower girls' dresses, then when Miriam was home one afternoon, she and I made a great team cutting out the bridesmaids' dresses. I chalked most of the pattern pieces on the fabric, making alterations as needed - a lot of them needed lengthening for the tall bridesmaids! Miriam came behind and cut them out. I also made the necklines a bit higher, as the pattern made them a bit low, and after Miriam didn't like the too "poofy" sleeves on the first dress, I took those out and used a different pattern's sleeves instead.

3. Spend hours sewing at away at your sewing machine.
My serger helped a lot, finishing seams nicely, and making lovely rolled hems on the flower girl dresses.
4. Enlist help as needed.
Meet Miss Dee-Dee! Her real name is "Dear Dummy" but she's a bit sensitive, so I call her Miss Dee-Dee for short. =) As a thank-you for making the dresses, Miriam generously bought me a dressmaker that I picked out off of Ebay! It was so wonderful as I made each dress, to be able to adjust the dressmaker to match the measurements of each woman, and fit the dress to it, since the bridesmaids live rather far away and wouldn't be able to come for fittings! This made sure that they'll fit right (hopefully!). She's been a great help!

5. Add the finishing touches.
Isn't the braid lovely? It adds the perfect finish to each dress.

It was time consuming to sew it all on by hand, but I managed to do it while watching things or listening to the radio. I finally finished the last dress on Thursday evening, staying up later then I should have sewing the last two rows of braid, but wanting to finish the dresses once and for all!

6. Enjoy being done!
Here's proof of the finished results. I really enjoyed sewing them all, but it is a relief to have them finished. =)

Miriam's maid of honor is our sister Lydia, and her bridesmaids are two of her good friends from college.

The flower girls are our sweet neices, Sara Rose, age 4, and Lisa Beth, almost 2!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! I am very grateful for all the sewing I've done over the years, in order to prepare me for sewing these more intricate dresses! Thankfully, the different kind of fabrics weren't too hard to work with, and my machine didn't mess up, praise God!


Anonymous said...

Those dresses are BEAUTIFUL!!! I envy your sewing abilities!


Darelina said...

You do such great work! You could make a living with your talent!!!

Ellen (or Beckett) said...

Beautiful work!

Do you have any tips for making gathering less of a pain? I have been sewing a lot lately and gathering continues to flummox me. I have a lovely apron pattern I want to try but it has lots of gathering in it.


Sammybunny said...

You are such a talented seamstress! I confess, I still only have a vague idea of how to sew! I especially love the little flower girl dresses! They are so beautiful and precious! Congratulations!

PoetLady said...

My girls' flower girl dresses are lovely, it's nice to finally see them!:) Thanks for working so hard to make them, Anna!

Your sister,

Anonymous said...

Beautiful job, Anna! The flower girls' dresses are so cute! :)


Ella said...

The flower girls dresses are so cute! They look like something your could get at JCPenny or some other clothing store!

Beverly said...

Absolutely lovely! God has blessed you with real sewing abilities, and I'm so glad you could serve your sister in this way!!

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Wow! Great job! They are beautiful! I am glad you have Dear Dummy... um, sorry... MISS DEE-DEE to help! I love the colors too!

Amelia said...

How sweet! My sister will have to be my 'Anna' for me!

Sloan said...

OH my Anna! That is all I can say! Your ability to sew must be SUCH a blessing for you. As I grow older I find I need to sew more and more. Where do I start? How do I start? My Mom is going to get an intructor, but I think I could at LEAST try for myself.

Sloan <><

Mrs. Hart said...

Hi Ellen,

I've been sewing for more than thirty years and I still don't like gathering. I'll do it if the pattern requires it, but I can't honestly say that I enjoy it. (and setting in gathered sleeves...grrr!) Give me godets, pleats and tucks anyday over gathering!

I think part of my issue with gathering is that I tend to be perfectionistic when I sew (or so I delude myself) and no matter how carefully I gather, the finished product never looks like I envisioned it :-(

Have you ever heard of this technique for gathering? I heard about it years ago, but haven't tried it yet. I think I will try it next time I have to gather something.


If you do happen to discover or invent some magical method to make gathering a delight PLEASE let me know about it!

Mrs. Hart

Abigail said...

These dresses are beautiful!

You do such an amazing job - I think if I was getting married, I just might hire you! : o )

These dresses really look professionally done -

A job well done!

A fellow blogger,

Anna Naomi said...

Glad you liked the pictures! I have thought that I could sew for people if I ever wanted a home business, but with all I have to sew for just family members and people I know, I don't know that I'd have time to sew for pay! I certainly don't right now! =)

Ellen: Do you make two rows of gathering stitches? It often helps gather more easily, and if one thread breaks, you can usually complete it with the other row. Also, make sure that your gathering stitches are nice and big so that they're easy to pull. Also make sure the thread tension isn't too tight, because too tight stitches can make it almost impossible to gather. Another thing is to start a new line of stitches at each seam. That way you have a smaller amount to gather between each end of stitches. (Hope that made sense - it's hard to explain sewing things online!)

Ella: I'm glad they look like they could have come from a store (in other words, well made) but part of the reason we made the dresses is because we couldn't find things like them at a store. Almost all formal dresses these days are strapless or spaghetti strap, or in the rare event that they even have sleeves, they're often too low in the neckline, etc. We had fun deciding exactly what we wanted to make!

For those who are interested in sewing techniques, I did do two posts on sewing called "Steps to Successful Sewing". You can read part one here: http://maidensofworth.blogspot.com/2006/11/steps-to-successful-sewing-part-1.html and part two here: http://maidensofworth.org/2006/12/steps-to-successful-sewing-part-2.html

Mrs. Hart: That technique looked interesting! So far, regular gathering has worked well for me, though. The part I dislike more than gathering skirts is gathering sleeves... I always tend to sew them in wrong at first and have to re-do re-adjust them! To each their own annoying thing, I suppose.

Abigail: Thanks for the thought, but right now I'm not up for hire. =) Maybe one day... we'll see where God leads.

Ellen (or Beckett) said...

Mrs. Hart,

Thanks for that link. I think I will try that method - I'll report how it goes.

Anna, I ran across this tutorial the other day and thought of you (I think it's because of this line: "I really like the word workbasket. I'm not actually sure it's a word, but it seems like women in classic literature often have them.") http://www.ohfransson.com/oh_fransson/2008/07/vintage-sheet-project-1-workbaskets.html

Of course, I imagine your workbasket would be much more pink and floral. :)


Maria Pauline said...

Those are the cutest flower girl dresses I have ever seen. Good job, and congratulations on your new acquaintance! About time you got assistant. :)

Under Southern Skies said...

How lovely! You sew beautifully!

Meshaay said...

These dresses are beautiful! I wish I knew how to sew like that. What a gift God has given you.

Zoe said...

Wow, y'all have such talent at sewing! I sew some also, but have trouble finding the time to do it.

Debbie said...

Your dresses are beautiful!

Jennifer said...

What beautiful dresses!! That is the exact color I want when I get married one day!! You did such a great job on them!! There so beautiful...love your blog..
Love in Christ