Wedcraft pt. 1 – Spoonflower Bridesmaids

As previously mentioned, on 15 February 2014, I married my bestfriend and lifelove Mr M. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter and (happy) tears. It was also a day stuffed full of crafty projects – executed by us and a whole team of talented, tireless friends and family. More on that later.

When it came to the bridesmaid dresses, I knew from the outset I wanted to make them myself. A bold (ill-advised?) move, considering I am a relative sewing newb, but what is life without a little risk eh? M and I designed the fabric together using Spoonflower – an incredible American site where you can upload any design (or choose from the thousands others have uploaded) and they will print it to order, on a range of fabric weights. To create our fabric design we started with various succulent illustrations, bought on Etsy, and then added in little icons that represented each of us – tea for me, coffee for him, spectacles for both of us, a Swiss knife for home… and an origami bear, just because.

IMG_2318

Since each of my girls has their own beautiful shape, I suggested different patterns for each of them. One was an Elisalex, one was a Cambie, and one was a vintage 1970s-does-1940s faux-wrap pattern (which I seem to have misplaced the sleeve for). The third was by far the most challenging, and really illustrated how brilliant today’s indie patternmakers are. Without the luxury of a clearly illustrated instruction booklet / online tutorial /sewalong it turns out that sewing is MUCH HARDER folks.

     elisalex         cambie

Also, a word of warning to other brides to be – making your bridesmaid dresses is not for the faint hearted. Especially if you have never really made dresses for people other than yourself. And especially if your ladies live in different cities/countries meaning that you get just the one fitting only before the big day. And especially if work is hectic so you don’t manage to finish them until the week before (THANKYOU to Ray Stitch for their wonderful basement where you can hire sewing machines by the hour, and they even make you a cup of tea – you absolutely saved my bacon).

Having said all of the above, I couldn’t have loved the dresses more. Whilst there were a few nagging fit issues that bothered me, I soon forgot about them and thought the girls looked completely gorgeous. (Wedding photos by our wonderful photographer Tarah Coonan)

150314-untitled-0021

150314-untitled-0021-149 150314-untitled-0021-152 150314-untitled-0021-155

And some details I was downright ruddy proud of. Can I get a high five for the pattern matching across the back here please??

photo

Mostly though, it just felt lovely to be able to give them something handmade as a little thankyou for being such wonderful friends.

150314-untitled-0021-296

150314-untitled-0021-635

Siobhan xx

Made by Marjorie 2 – Party Dresses

This is the second installment of my Made by Marjorie series and there’s material from the archives folks!! Today I’m talking party dresses. Granny has been making them since my very first birthday parties and each one has been different, creative, beautiful. Let’s have a look:

Purple satin dress (1990) – My fifth birthday party dress. A little girl’s dream in purple satin with a big bow at the back. Also note the coordinating hair ribbons for that all important french plait (my childhood self’s party hairstyle of choice). My Mum has many talents but hairdressing has never been one of them; french plaiting sessions would usually end in pain and drama. Fortunately Mum’s best friend Laura stepped in at some point as the party hairdresser, saving both our relationship and my scalp from further strain.

Purple party dress

Yellow party dress (1991) – I love this one. Were it big enough, I would probably wear it still today. Buttery soft cotton, big puffy sleeves, layers of flouncy skirts, little roses around the neckline. And styled with mickymouse slippers, natch. Mum had the dress framed a couple of years ago and I’m looking forward to having a wall big enough to hang it one day (in my “sewing room” perhaps?? I can dream…)

Yellow dress

Bridesmaid dress (1995) – When my Aunty got married, Granny made: My Aunty’s wedding dress, my bridesmaid dress, the two flower girl dresses and her own outfit. All shown below. Amazing non? On a side note, I like how I am distancing myself from the children in this photo – poised and attentive, with all the gravitas demanded of a 10 year old “chief” bridesmaid.

Rowena bridesmaid

Blue raw silk (2005) – This is, I think, the first”grown-up” party dress Granny made for me – for a university end-of-year ball. It was made from peacock-blue raw silk, with an empire line and long skirt. The silk was bought on a family adventure to India and has a delicious texture, scratchy and luxurious all at once.

              Bernadette birthday dress        Bernadette birthday dress2

Easter dress (vintage) – This is a dress Granny originally made for herself, that I was lucky enough to inherit. I have no idea what it’s made from. It’s this stiff, sheer blue stuff with flocked white flowers. I think of it as my “Easter dress” because I first wore it to an Easter party in 2007. This is me atop the “viewing platform” of an incredible Easter maze constructed by bestie (and now fabulous artist/maze expert) Bryony Pritchard, who is incidentally also the gorgeous godess standing next to me in the picture above 🙂

2007 easter

Orange silk jumpsuit (2006) – Another “ball dress” except this time I said I didn’t want a dress, I wanted a jumpsuit. Without batting an eye, Granny created this little number. Orange silk with a green and gold trim, and a floaty organza cape to match.

2006

Blue & Neon cocktail dress (2013) – A more recent creation, Granny made this last year to wear to a summer wedding. The design was inspired by Anglomania’s Sunday Bale dress. The contrast neon green was Granny’s idea and I think it’s just awesome. Saved by the Bell promdress in the best possible way.

IMG_0347

My wedding dress (2014) – And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate party dress. The bodice was silk with beautiful corded lace, which Granny carefully cut and worked into wonderfully wide straps. The skirt was silk with a textured organza overlay, which Granny embelished with motifs of lace from the bodice fabric, to make it look like one dress rather than a separate top and skirt. The shape was a gentle A-line that was lovely and swooshy but not too big to move around in. (Wedding photos by wonderful Tarah Coonan).

siobhan-maurizio-wedding-174

siobhan-maurizio-wedding-580

In the evening I switched the skirt for a knee-length ballerina number (Fanfaronada via Etsy) and an emerald green sash. The bodice transitioned beautifully well. Two gorgeous wedding dresses, one very lucky granddaughter.

Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane.

Siobhan xx