Put your hand up if the following apply to you:
- You’d rather get dressed than get dressed up.
- A clutch of weddings either has or is about to rain down upon you.
I know the Year of So Many Weddings will seem like a safe harbor when I’m swimming with the sharks of Look at All These Babies, Do I Really Have to Remember Their Birthdays, but literally every weekend but one from June to October 2018, I went either to a wedding or a wedding-related event. And I wore the same few outfits to every last one of them! And so, honored guests, let me welcome you to the next few posts on my blog: what I, an un-fancy person, wore for chronic wedding attendance, a.k.a., The Summer of Love. Part One!
I have THOUGHTS about weddings in general (thoughts on thoughts on thoughts! So many patriarchal rituals! So much free labor, usually performed by women! So much dang money! But also the possibility of spending that money locally, often at female-owned businesses! Thoughtful marry-ees are working hard to erode the gendered baloney! Also I like passed hors d’oeuvres and theme parties!) which is why I look forward to never having one myself, but I do have fun at other people’s. I consider my main duty as a wedding guest to be 100% danciness all night long.
This familiar friend is V1501 (Rachel Comey mock-tuck dress for Vogue) and you’ve probably seen it everywhere. I saw it first on What Katie Sews and now looking back, did I make the wrong size? Hers is sassier! Oops, I guess your marriage is annulled, friends. ANYWAY, this satisfies dancing requirements: it’s comfortable, the skirt’s swishy, and nothing is going to pop out. That seems like faint praise, but it’s about as high as dress-up clothes are going to get.
I did have fun sewing this though! I used my favorite yarn dyed linen/rayon blend, Kaufman Brussels Washer in Redrock (the same one I used for my very first post on this blog!). The skirt is a size 14, and when I wrapped the waistband pattern piece around my waist I made the instant call to add 2.75” inches to its length. I must have made a bizarre tracing error, because the lengthened waistband fits me comfortably, if a little loosely (I could have added 2.25” and been okay), but when I went to attach it, the skirt top was 2” wider than that (but hooow?).
I added another 1” dart to each skirt back, so now there’s 4 darts in total. I’ll have a close-up later, but it solved the problem, even while leaving me, to this day, baffled and confused.
The skirt pieces are wider at the top than the hem! I’ve never seen this before! It makes sense, I guess – I’m wider at the hips than the knees. They’re seamed at the center front and center back, and the extra-wide front pieces allow for generous pleating.
Swiiish! I used the selvage edge for those seams, since they’re straight lines and I’ve never met a millimeter of fabric I didn’t want to scrounge and save.
I made a whole buncha changes to the top. I shortened the back bodice by 3”, topstitched the front pleats (why?? I don’t remember! Well, too late now), and raised the split at the sides by 4”. I did this little by little after the bulk of the bodice was complete, so I could push it juu-uu-ust to the edge of my bra. But if you have a cute bra you want to share, excelsior!
Consider them dancing vents! I made this adjustment to the angle from hem to side, to make it more acute. The width at the hem of the bodice is unaffected, but the side seams meet higher up. I think in my fabric choice this dress is right on the edge of frumpy, unless you have the drama or gravitas to carry it off. I don’t! I don’t wear makeup or heels so I was comforted and sustained by the little bit of visible side.
Naturally when I finally tweaked that angle to my own satisfaction it was also the time I hemmed the back inside-out. Tra la la. You can see the double darts here if you look closely, and the invisible zipper without looking closely at all! I still struggle with invisible zippers! Either you can see them, or I break them. This seemed the lesser of two evils.
I followed this EXCELLENT tutorial from Crafterhours to sew the all-in-one facing. I did skip the gussets and shoulder pads, so I can’t speak to integrating those with the facing! Finally, I took a cue from many bloggers who have sewn V1501 before, and sewed the top and bottom as separate pieces, joined by buttons on the inner waistband.
My buttonholes are not centered either vertically or horizontally because I was slapdash! That’s between you, me, and the mulberry tree. I can store this puppy on a hanger no problem, though. Flex.
I might use the skirt separately, with a tank or cami, for like…a summer fête? If I ever need to act ladylike on a riverboat? A grift where I pretend to lose the church roof fund and also carry a lace hankie? IS THIS WHY PEOPLE DRESS NICE?
More wedding guest outfits coming soon, in this the Summer of Love!
Pattern cost: $10.29
Size: 12 top, 14 skirt, with variations, above
Supplies: 3 yards of Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Redrock, fabric.com, $33.42; buttons, zipper, Gather Here, $3.60; thread from stash
Total time: 13 hours
Total cost: $47.31