Well, August certainly got away from me there. The wedding has come and gone, along with the honeymoon and I have SO MUCH to post about! But, in the interest of brevity, I shall take it easy and press rewind a bit. Today we return to July and my bachelorette party.
Initially I told my sister that I wanted my bachelorette party to be a tour around St. Paul to eat my favorite french fries. I love french fries. But after an evening with two of my girlfriends (there may have been beer involved), we decided to have a glamorous 1920’s themed party in honor of my love for the decade. This happened to coincide with the active time period for this project (no surprises there).
The plan was for all my girlfriends to wear black and I would wear white. Then we would hop from cocktail lounge to cocktail lounge, chat, and look fabulous. For weeks, I looked for a white dress that would work but all the online beaded dresses were not affordable and the stuff I found in stores that were the right price were the wrong time period entirely. For some reason, all the white dresses this summer were ’60’s and ’70’s style. Disappointing.
So the week before the party, I finally got around to plan B – making my own dress. I bought a used wedding dress from the thrift store and started trying to take the beadwork off and restyle it in a ’20’s style. The result? A heinous disaster.
The dress was made of synthetic fabric that was draped to fall very precisely in an A shape. Everything I tried looked frumpy as the thick fabric refused to drape properly. After two days of trying, it became clear that this dress would never work for my purpose. Unfortunately, it was also two days before the party… Oops.
On Friday (the day before the party), I went to Jo-Ann fabrics as soon as it opened and hunted for jersey knit and/or rayon in white. It was really important that it didn’t look too fancy, otherwise it would look like a real wedding dress, but fancy enough to be a cocktail dress. After meandering for a half hour, I found in a sale bin the perfect jersey knit! It was cream with glittery pinstripes.
With some rayon lining in hand, I bought three yards of each and flounced out of the store with no pattern and only a vague plan ripped from Ruth Wyeth Spears, author of Better Dressmaking. (The Midvale Cottage Post blog has an extensive collection of posts about her.)
Using the above pattern as loose inspiration, the plan that I decided on was to cut a huge square out of the fabric and cut a circle out of the middle. Then I would assemble a rectangular bodice with a V-neck of the correct length and circumference. Simple geometry. Right?
This whole project was a miracle. Within two hours, I had the basic pieces together and I. Didn’t. Even. Seam-rip. Once. (If you’ve ever sewed before you know that this is a tremendously rare phenomenon.) And the most miraculous of all? It fit.
This dress was incredibly comfortable and soft. I spent the last hour putting my waistband together and finishing the seams on the lining with a zig-zag stitch (the glory of the jersey was that it needed no hemming). Within three hours, I went from having a pile of fabric to having a dress for my bachelorette! Perhaps much like my great-grandmothers, I had Ruth Wyeth Spears to thank.
The party itself was a delight! We went to cocktail bars around Minneapolis and I got to spend time with my girlfriends from near and far! My sister even concocted a game for us to play which resulted in, among other things, a round-table discussion of my most ridiculous moments. Throughout the evening the dress held up wonderfully! It was easy and comfy and I felt fabulous all night.
Now that I’ve gotten a taste of sewing sewing like great-grandma, I think I’m going to do some more of it. If this project was any indication, ’20’s style dress-making is really easy, mostly because fit doesn’t really matter. Do you look like you’re wearing an artfully-draped sack made of silk? Perfect.