How to Sew and Dye Your Own Bridesmaid Dress: Part IV

This is the fourth and final post in the four-part series on how I dyed and sewed my bridesmaid dress. Make sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 for the full story.

Prior to starting my new job in August, I had a couple of weeks of downtime. Part of me wanted to pack up my bags and go on an impromptu adventure, but the practical, rational side of me advised me to stay put and save my money. Although rather than saving my money, I ended up spending it on sewing supplies and wool (which, I could argue, were very important purchases).

As many of you were aware, I was completely wrapped up in making some final adjustments to the dress. And by the dress, I mean the bridesmaid dress I sewed for my sister’s wedding and wrote about in Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the series.

Bonus Project: The Silk Bathrobe

What I did not mention, however, is that I was also frantically in the process of dyeing and sewing a luxurious bathrobe to gift to my sister as a wedding present. I had this amazing vision of a beautifully hand dyed silk kimono style bathrobe. How hard could it be, really? The fact that I had been able to sew my own bridesmaid dress gave me a tremendous boost of confidence in my sewing skills. Not only that, but after sewing a test scrap of silk fabric, I felt confident that this project would be much easier than the torment I had went through with sewing the horribly stretchy knit fabric I had used for my bridesmaid dress. I purchased 2.5 yards of the Silk and Soy Satin from Gala Fabrics in Victoria, BC. Expensive, but so, so luxurious!

Sidenote: Did you know that soy is also referred to as “the cashmere of vegetables” for it’s ultra soft feel? 

The dyeing process was so much fun. I had twisted the fabric into a bundle before setting it into the dyepot, so that the dye was distributed unevenly over the silk fabric. Although I was a bit terrified of ruining the silk fabric, I was in love with the end result.

Unfortunately, the sewing side of things didn’t turn out quite as well. There I was, with  just a day left of downtime before taking off to the start of a new job, frantically trying to finish the bathrobe (fret not, the bridesmaid dress was, at this time, fully adjusted and ready to wear).  It was a free Burdastyle pattern, and it wasn’t until I had sewn on the pockets that I realized I had made a huge mistake. I ripped out the seams impatiently, before realizing I had made yet another mistake on the collar. By this time, it was hopeless, as I knew I would never be able to finish the robe in time before leaving. Luckily, I had a backup plan. I purchased the most gorgeous lace bathrobe from Girl with A Serious Dream and it arrived just in time for the wedding. It fit perfectly on my sister, and made me wish I had bought one for myself as well!

Photo credit: Maria Wilde Photography

Here is a poor quality photo of the half finished robe I gifted to my sister later on.

Now back to the real reason for this post: the DIY bridesmaid dress (second from the right).

Photo Credit: Maria Wilde Photography
Photo credit: Maria Wilde Photography
Photo credit: Maria Wilde Photography

There were a few pros and cons of ‘the dress’ on the day of.

The pros:

  • The dress was comfy, and mobile. In anything I wear, this is essential. I could have just as easily worn this dress as a night gown to bed, which to me is a huge plus! (Also, easy to dance in)
  • The colour fit perfectly with the other bridesmaids.

The Cons

  • Although cotton was great for comfort and mobility. The wrinkles were difficult to get out the day of. And in between the frantic scrambling and rushing from place to place with my MOH duties, I didn’t take the time to make sure that my dress fit perfectly or was steamed to remove all wrinkles (okay, so maybe that’s more a fault of mine rather than the dress, but still). There are also more than a few tiny details, that, looking back, I wish I would have fixed beforehand (i.e. the fit around the bust, the right shoe combination, the lack of steaming,etc.)
  • I think I shortened it too much. Either that, or I just didn’t like the way it looked with the shoes. Note to self: test out the shoe combination prior to deciding on it for the wedding!
  • Also, I should mention that after my experience of sewing the silk, and the pure bliss at the feeling of draping the silk over my shoulders, I have decided that the next bridesmaid dress I sew must be sewn with silk. No question about it.

Overall, I loved the experience of sewing my own bridesmaid dress. Yes, it ended up costing way more than I would have paid for an actual dress (especially when you factor in the cost of all the dyeing equipment I had purchased specifically for the dress), but who cares? It was so much fun, and I learned so much. Most importantly, I learned that I love to sew, and that creating an entire handmade wardrobe full of clothes really is possible (unlike with knitting as I just can’t see myself wearing knit jeans to work).

What are your thoughts? Are you tempted to sew your own clothes after reading this post? Leave a comment below!

4 Comment

  1. Alice says:

    This is so impressive, your dress turned out beautiful. And I love how you went on to dyeing and sewing with silk right away!

    1. Susanne says:

      Thank you so much Alice! I was pretty into sewing and dyeing this summer – luckily I had a bit of extra time on my hands so it all worked out! Hoping I’ll still be able to find the time (and space) to do it after moving into our somewhat smaller apartment in Vancouver 🙂

  2. Jonathan says:

    Looks like it was a nice day ! And your dress looks fabulous. Did you have time to work on your speech too in between all your duties 😉

    1. Susanne says:

      It was an amazing wedding! Thank you 🙂 And yes – although I didn’t have time to memorize the speech, I definitely snuck in a few mini rehearsals throughout the day. 😉

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