Fabric-induced frenzies (aka bridesmaid dresses)
By a chance of fate, Brother Bunting’s fiancee’s mother met a woman while golfing who, after they got on the topic of Brother Bunting’s fiancee’s wedding, turned out to be a seamstress. Did you follow any of that? No? That’s okay, the relationships aren’t important, it was just fun to say. Anyway, this bit of information was passed on to Mother Bunting and after further investigation we learned that this seamstress was not only very passionate about sewing, but very experienced.
image via Male Pattern Boldness
Ha, there’s no way a good sewing machine is the only thing you need for success. You can hand me the best sewing machine there is and I wouldn’t know what to do with it. This seamstress, on the other hand….
She had worked in a prestigious bridal gallery for a number of years but then left when she got tired of them mistreating (and ripping off) their customers. Word of mouth travels well, however, and many of her satisfied bridal clients passed on her name. Long story short, she stays busy with freelance wedding work right out of her home. Mother Bunting and I initially visited her to see if she could alter my dress (the details of which are for another post) and soon discovered that she was not only altering wedding gowns, but making bridesmaid dresses.
That got my little thinking gears churning. I wasn’t fond of the stiff taffeta look of many bridesmaid lines, and most of the dresses are so expensive that I’d feel guilty for making my bridesmaids buy them. Kinda silly, I know, but true. But here was this woman with years of professional experience, making high-quality bridesmaid dresses for next to nothing. I thought surely there must be a catch – the prices were too good to be true. There wasn’t a catch. She works full-time as an accountant so the money isn’t important. Her sewing is her creative outlet and she loves doing it, so to her this is a relaxing hobby.
I admit I had some initial hesitation about having a seamstress make the bridesmaid dresses, but after having Grandmother Buntings inspect and approve the pieces she was working on (they’re so much more knowledgeable when it comes to seam quality and things than I am), we decided that this was a great opportunity to get bridesmaid dresses that are custom-tailored, made of the fabric and color of my choosing, and in the style of our choosing – all on a budget. It opened up a lot of freedom, let me tell you. I’d show her photos of nearly anything, and she would say, “Yeah, we can do that!” I like this yes woman.
Our first step was to start looking for fabric in the right colors. Hooooooo boy. I must have picked the world’s rarest colors, because this was NOT an easy-peasy task. We’d find some fabric in the perfect shade of peach, but it was too stiff and heavy. We’d find some flowy chiffon in blue, but it was too “baby blue” and not enough “aqua”. I was unwilling to budge, because I’m stubborn like that when it comes to color.
After months of waiting for the fabric suppliers to come out with their spring colors, we finally found some in the PERFECT shades of aqua, peach, and yellow. Annnnnnnnd I still don’t know if I’m happy with it. But before you judge, let me explain! The fabric is a light-midweight satin. Not heavy, but also not as flowing as silk or chiffon. I’m afraid that it might still be too stiff for what we have planned. You see, I asked my girls to pick out their own dress style of the flowy variety, and here’s what they chose (just imagine them in our colors):
image via Val Stefani / style 9118
image via Val Stefani / style 8881
image via Watters / style 7341
image via Watter Wtoo / style 7341
Pretty, right? Pretty flowy, right? Yeah, that’s because these are all made with chiffon. I’m afraid that if we try to make a flowy dress with a lot of ruching using the satin we found, we’ll end up with a hot poofy mess. I discussed these concerns with my seamstress, and she believes that the satin fabric we have is light enough to avoid any bulging poofs, but it definitely wouldn’t be as flowing and light as chiffon. Well then. What do I decide? To continue the search for chiffon in the perfect colors! With a month and a week before our wedding, I’m crazy, right? Because while measurements have been taken and patterns have been selected, the fabric has not even been cut at this point. I’m glad I wasn’t here at the ‘Bee yet so anyone could tell me how crazy I was not too long ago, because then I would have realized how close we’re cutting it and a freak-out would ensue.
Since then, I had a meeting with my seamstress scheduled to look at the new chiffon samples she ordered. I was rather bummed to receive an e-mail from her later that day saying the colors of the chiffon were way off. Game over for chiffon, I guess. Super sad, I know, but we just don’t have the time anymore. Well, we’ll just have to deal and make slightly less flowy dresses.
Are you having your bridesmaids dresses made or are you ordering them? Have you had as much of a difficult time finding the right fabric in the right color as I have?