Wedding Dress Sewing: Rehearsal Dinner Dress

While we wait to get some wedding dress photos back from the photographer, I wanted to show you my rehearsal dinner dress, aka the place for all my leftover wedding dress ideas.

In my wedding dress inspiration post, I talked about how I narrowed down a lot of pretty inspiration pictures to get my design. But that didn't mean the ideas stopped coming. Or, more accurately, that every time I logged onto Pinterest I didn't see a ton of more inspiration pics. Since I was wedded (ha!) to my wedding dress design, I decided to incorporate some of the leftover ideas, so to speak, into a dress for my rehearsal dinner. Conveniently, I was also able to use my leftover wedding dress fabric for the under dress. 

Pattern: Lining pattern of Simplicity Cynthia Rowley #1104 for bodice with an A-line skirt
Fabric: 3 yds ivory beaded 3D lace and wedding dress silk viscose remnants
Cost: $95

The main inspiration for this dress was the amazing lace. For some reason, I got it in my head that I wanted to pick some of the most over-the-top, wild white lace for a dress. I browsed for a few months and finally decided on this one. It has beautiful 3D flowers over some of the embroidery, as well as beading at the center of each flower. The gaps between the rows of flowers left a lot of room to add things like darts and shaping, while the scalloped edges at both the bottom and the top were perfect for the hem and sleeves. 

Unfortunately, the seller messaged me and asked if they could send the fabric in two pieces and, stupidly, I said yes. When I got the fabric I realized that I wanted the full three yards for the skirt. Oops. I then had to piece it back together. This turned out well, however, because I got to practice my lace piecing technique and it was actually really fun. The result is pretty flawless and the seam was hard to find even when I was looking for it. The piecing is shown in the photo on the left, straight down the middle of the picture, and it is nearly impossible to tell if you're not examining it up close. It worked out so well, in fact, that I pieced the center back seam of the dress up to the zipper and had a beautiful skirt all the way around. 

As I mentioned above, the underdress is made from the remnants of my wedding dress fabric. I had saved just barely enough to eke out the skirt and bodice, even piecing the front bodice down the center front. And because of the demure length of the lace overskirt, I was able to cut the underskirt at a very short and flirty length. It felt daring and fun but with the added coverage of a bit of a lace. 

The pattern is my tried and true Cynthia Rowley #1104 dress, although this time I used the lining pieces instead of the main pieces as my pattern. While the original dress has great tucks and princess-seamed shaping, for this dress I needed simpler shaping to not interfere with the lace detail. The lining pieces, while preserving the same neckline and look of the dress, provided the perfect solution in a pattern I knew would fit. I then added an A-line skirt for the under-dress and a pleated skirt for the lace dress. The lace dress also has some pretty flutter sleeves, which I stole from another pattern in my stash. 

Originally I had thought about making these as two separate dresses, which would have allowed me to wear the lace dress over a different colored dress in the future. However, the lace fabric, with all its 3D flowers and beading, was actually very heavy and I knew it would be too heavy for the mesh bodice on its own. For this reason, I sewed the lace bodice to the silk bodice at the waist seam, and then attached the two skirts as one dress. 

The rest of the construction was fairly straightforward, and I was able to borrow some of the techniques I'd used on my actual wedding dress. The organza of the lace is bound in bias binding on the bodice, and the bodice is sewn together with small french seams to enclose the raw edges. The underskirt is trimmed with horsehair braid for added fullness. 

I also underlined the silk bodice pieces with some scrap white cotton to give them a bit more body, serging them together at the ends to prevent unraveling. I used a not-so invisible zipper at the back - the fabric was too bulky for some other zipper treatments, and I was afraid to sew too close to the zipper coils because I knew the thick waist seam might not zip if I did. 

It was a bit of a squeeze to get this dress done in the two weeks before the wedding, but I finished it on a Sunday, four days before we left for the wedding. And I never mind the excuse to hole up in my sewing room for a bit!

I was glad I did because the dress really did make me feel special. It was also a fun little sneak preview of some of my ideas for the real thing. All that was left to do was take pictures in the beautiful garden at the restaurant and drink (white) wine with our guests!

My mother-in-law did a truly beautiful job throwing us a rehearsal dinner. Some photos from the event:

I suspect it may be a little while longer before I have some proper wedding photos to show you of the final wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses, but I'll be back next week with some other wedding sewing I had up my (lace) sleeve. I just couldn't help it!

[Find the full list of wedding dress posts here.]

1 comment:

  1. wow that is beautiful. I hope you are on a great honeymoon vacation because you deserve it. And also some fun/easy sewing in your future!


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