handmade wardrobe · inspiration · sewing

Black Tie Wedding Guest Dress

Today I wanted to share a dress I made (and wore) back in November, that I didn’t get around to blogging about!

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Drew and I were invited to two black tie weddings last year (both co-workers of his), and it was the first time I’ve been invited to such formal events. The first wedding in July resulted in my refashioned bridesmaids dress, and I originally wanted to make a black tie dress from scratch for the November wedding.

I had planned on making this Leanne Marshall pattern, and came across a really beautiful sequined vest I thrifted to use as the bodice, but all plans went out the window when I found an even better bodice option.

I found this amazing piece at a local Goodwill and couldn’t let it go. It’s 100% silk, beaded in India and a size small (perfect fit) for $5.99. At the time I had no idea what to do with it but this is one of those extremely rare thrift finds that you just have to buy (or is that just my logic?).

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I decided it was destined to become part of my dress for the November black tie wedding. The only problem was I didn’t want to cut into the embroidered bodice, and didn’t want to attach it to a dress I could only wear once. After mulling ideas around for while, the lightbulb went off (gotta love when that happens) and I had a plan!

By making a base bodice and an over-skirt, I would be able to tuck the embroidered top in and have it look like one full piece. Seamwork Ariane felt perfect for under the embroidery because wearing a bodysuit meant I didn’t have to worry about a tank top riding up all night and the pattern was already in my library. (For size reference, I’m just under 4’10” and made an XS and did not shorten the pattern)

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For the skirt, I drafted my own pattern. It is a simple A-line skirt with a gathered chiffon overlay. It’s a very basic skirt, but I really wanted the top to be the show-stopper. I loved the idea of a chiffon overlay, and went with a satin for the skirt. I do wish I went with a lighter fabric for the skirt because walking around and dancing felt heavy after awhile, but it still worked out.

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I am very happy I decided to make separates, and am so thrilled I didn’t need to cut the embroidered top to make this dress work!

Drew and I had a great time at the wedding, and they even had a mariachi band and donkey during cocktail hour! I had to beg Drew to take a picture with the donkey, and now he’s the one who loves the picture and shows everyone!

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Fabric Details:

Bodysuit: Techno Scuba Knit, Black (fabric.com)

Skirt: Telio Adore Duchess Satin, Black (fabric.com)

Skirt Overlay: Telio Zoe Chiffon Solid, Black (fabric.com)

 

I have two weddings to attend this year and am already planning my makes. They aren’t black tie, so my attire can be a little more relaxed. Here’s this year’s inspiration!

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I am obsessed with Colette’s latest pattern, Myrna (middle photo). Maybe it’s the fabric that drew me in, but I love the bust details and the short sleeves, and think this would be a great pattern for a summer wedding.  I’ve also been loving cap sleeves lately, and I’ve been craving to make a dress with an interesting back.

(Top left is from Modcloth, top right from Rent the Runway, the other two no longer have working links)

In reality, I have so many handmade dresses in my closet that I really don’t need to make any new ones. But it’s always a good idea to stretch your dress sewing skills every once in a while, right?!

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4 thoughts on “Black Tie Wedding Guest Dress

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