Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

On making two velvet bridesmaid dresses of dreams

The main reason for the lack of consistent blogging over the past few months has most definitely been down to my little sister’s wedding!

I was in charge of making two bridesmaids dresses and a wedding dress (as well as a bunch of other bits) so I was kept pretty busy! The wedding was last week (it went well if you were wondering!) so I can finally start sharing what I made!

And I’m going to start with the bridesmaids dresses first!

I was practically given free rein with these dresses. There were only two bridesmaids – my older sister and me – and because we have quite different body shapes I wanted to make two different dresses but with the same fabric so they still looked cohesive.

From the start I had a good idea of what I wanted – something long and flowy and with sleeves! (I was feeling that boho chic look 😂). I tried out the Deer and Doe Magnolia dress earlier this year – check it out here – and knew this would be the perfect base for our dresses.

My dress

I kept my dress pretty similar to the original pattern with some little hacks to tweak it!

– I changed the sleeve to make it fuller and longer and added a proper cuff to the end. I purposely made the opening of the cuff come towards the front instead of the back to show of the pearl buttons!

– I removed the side zip and waist ties.

– I added a centre back seam to the back bodice and skirt. The back bodice was kept open to the waist and held together at the neck with a button in a exaggerated keyhole.

– I added a zip in the centre back to the top of the waistband.

– The bodice was fully lined.

My sister’s dress

Cat’s dress was loosely based on a dress I saw at the Dior exhibition earlier this year. I remembered her loving the back of this one dress with had a low back and cross over straps. I knew she’d be able to pull off the look and so I tried to replicate it!

The skirt and waistband of her dress is the same Magnolia pattern. I then used the bodice pattern as a sloper to draft a sleeveless/ strap version of the dress!

This had to be toiled a couple of times (I used calico from William Gee, if you’re wondering) and I had to make a lot of adjustments to get rid of the built in ease and get it fitting right.

We got there in the end though!


The fabric choice was a hard one. We wanted autumnal colours since it was an October wedding – we were very much in that rust/ spice/ mustard zone! We umm-ed and aaah-ed over whether to go for a print or plain and what kind of substrate.

On a whim I ended up on the Sacré Coupons store website. I’d discovered this shop whilst I was at the Paris Sewcial in May and knew there were some gems to be found!

We were in luck as I came across a silk viscose velvet in a gorgeous dark rust red tone (they actually still have it in stock here) with enough meterage for both dresses! At €50 for 3 metres I thought it was pretty reasonable and I managed to get away with just 6 metres needs for both dresses.

I’ll be honest though, it’s not the easiest fabric to work with. I used the same type of velvet for part of the wedding dress too and nearly cried! (More on that another day…). It moves about like crazy during cutting and sewing and I had to just allow a certain amount of tolerance for seams being slightly off.

In the end, it didn’t matter. The dresses fitted well and you’d never see any of the sewing mistakes that went on there!

I love love love these dresses and I’m so proud of them! They came out exactly as I imagined them and we felt so glam on the day!

Now I just need a excuse to wear it over and over again!

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    1. Woah those are two amazing dresses! I love the fabric choice 😀 I’m considering to make one too for Christmas with long sleeves and maxi skirt. But do I really need 4 meters of fabric?

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