The Haunting Lessons of Bridesmaids Dresses

Wedding time! Talking to Tierney last week, I realized that I don’t talk much about my upcoming wedding both through Say Entirely or in everyday conversation. I’m partly trying to avoid those sappy Facebook statuses — “I said yes to the dress!” or “Six months from now, I’m marrying my bestest best friend!!” If that’s you, cool! Share your sappy love to the world. Me and my partner, on the other hand, are a bit more reserved when it comes to promoting our relationship to the world.

Although, this is a major change in my life, so I’d like to leave a few solid stepping stones behind on our journey to the wedding day. Here’s a little something-something I’d like to share with you wonderful friends.

To catch you up on what’s happened so far, I’ve sent out the save-the-dates. That’s it. Really nothings ACTUALLY happened as of yet. Everything else is just talk and plans continue to float around daily. Am I a tiny bit stressed about it? Just an itty bit. Will everything get done? Yes, yes it will!

One of the plans that has been driving me mad was what my bridesmaids will wear. It’s a challenge because they’re all individuals who have different styles. For a while, I like the idea of choosing a color and they could pick the style of dress they wanted to wear. Then, I went through the decision of long or short dress (it’ll be November, so the weather will be colder). Soon after, I changed my mind completely and kept finding different dresses. Finally, I got so frustrated by the cost of the dresses and the fact that I wasn’t happy with the look that I just gave up and decided to make the dresses. So, that’s what today is about. This weekend I started making my bridesmaids dresses, and here are a few lessons I’ve learned thus far.

Lesson #1: Check the pattern doesn’t have any errors.

Yes, printed patterns that you purchase can have errors and in my case, it was a really weird one. One of the pattern pieces showed the incorrect hemline. Now that may not mean anything to you, but the important thing to note is that my bridesmaids will not be walking around with lop-sided dresses now that I’ve spotted this!

Lesson #2: Triple read the pattern, measure twice, cut once.

I knew the whole “measure twice, cut once” theory. It’s a solid piece of advice. The problem I’m having is half reading instructions, then I wind up having to seam rip or have a freak out because I cut the fabric incorrectly. I think it’s fair to say that I should really be reading the instructions more slowly rather than assume I know all the steps.

Lesson #3: When ma says don’t bother with pockets on the dresses, then don’t bother with the pockets on the scrap dress either.

I made what I call a scrap dress in hopes to make fewer mistakes on the bridesmaids’ dresses. Since it was only a scrap dress I figured I could leave the pockets on the design. I wasn’t going to include them in the real dresses, but I thought I could always use the practice. Well, I sure did get my practice in of seam ripping!

Lesson #4: When the bobbin shutter is making a crunching noise, stop and find the problem. 

It’s super easy to ignore mechanical problems on sewing machines. Especially, when you have no clue what the problem is or how to fix it.  I always thought of myself as a non-mechanical person and the minute you bring gears, levers or oil in the mix, you’ve lost me. But there is something about using my common sense that seems to save me in these moments. I’m working on a machine that hasn’t been used in 10, 20, maybe even 30 years, so it hasn’t been looked after lately. While sewing the machine started to really struggle and the crunching of the bobbin got so loud, I had to worry. Found out all it needed was some dusting and a few drops of oil on the shutter and away it went! Using common sense in these situations is helpful. I should do it more often!

Lesson #5: Take a tea break. Always take a tea break.

During the scrap dress, I felt like everything was going smoothly. That’s when the mistakes happen. I looked up to watch Rosemary run screaming from her crazy husband (yes, I was watching the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, what of it?!) when I sewed a pocket inside out. This goes back to lesson #3, no need for pockets in a bridesmaid dress. So in those moments of frustration, I declared it was time for a tea break and finished watching the terrible ending to Rosemary’s Baby. Tea’s good for the soul and it gives you some time away from the machine.

As of right now, the bridesmaid dresses are going smoothly. I’m predicting they’ll all be ready for their first fitting this week. Funny enough, they won’t actually get to be fitted until the end of August when I travel back to Minnesota. So, my dear bridesmaids, you’ll just have to wait! But I’m loving the look of them and working on this project is getting me more eager for the big day! Before we know it, it’ll be November! Ah!

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