Life in London, Sew
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The Commitment Dress

A couple of months back, I bought a wedding dress.

Which, if you know me, you will know has absolutely nothing to do with any desire to get married.

(As an aside, before you read more, I should say that if you are someone who hates seeing old clothing get cut up, then this is not the post for you.)

I have a little bit of a problem with second hand shopping (to the point that I’ve now had to do a ‘buy nothing July’). I also have a bit of an obsession with natural fabrics

Anyway, for a very long time, I’ve wanted a forest or emerald green silk dress. Not something soft and silky a la Kiera Knightly in Atonement,  but something a bit more ‘every day’. Enter Raw Silk.

The problem is, raw silk is expensive, and I’m not really a good enough seamstress to trust myself with anything over 10ish dollars/metre. So you can imagine the little jig my heart did when I saw this advertised on a second hand clothing ap:

It was advertised as ‘Size 14, 80s wedding dress’.

Now I know what you’re thinking: the 80s do not really scream ‘natural fabrics’. And there was nothing there in the description about the material type. Possibly the seller didn’t know or care, which might have been why the laced monstrosity was only priced at 15 pounds.

But the close ups looked convincing.

I sent the photos to my mum, and she concurred. Either silk, or something trying darn hard to look like it.

After some weeks of contemplation, and a bit of pressure from my mother (and she says she’s not a hoarder), I bought the dress.

It’s quarantine after all. Worst case scenario, I just spent 20 pounds (dress + postage), on a packet full of mystery. Anything to break up the day.

The dress arrived, I stroked its silky glory (yep, it feel like nature), and shoved it in the wash (I don’t believe in ‘dryclean only’, but do wash at a very low temperature). Once it was dry, I tried it on. Only to find out that it didn’t fit!

Turns out that Size 14 in the 80s, is smaller than a Size Tegan of today.

So how am I squeezing myself into the finished dress product, you ask?

The great thing about well-made fancy dresses from Times of Yore, is that they tend to have a bit of seam allowance (actually, I think this is just considered good practice for wedding dresses). I took out the seams, and then set about with my alterations.

  1. Cut off all that train and extra fabric. No way do I need more ‘fancy dresses’ (especially in covid times).
  2. Remove the lace and sequins.
  3. Remove the roses. The roses then became material for the new shoulders.
  4. Remove the puffed sleeves. I know I know, but Tegan, you LOVE puffed sleeves, how can you remove them, what would Anne of Green Gables say?!. As it turns out, even I have my Puff Limits.
  5. Slit the shoulder seam, and add a ruffle. I like ruffles, but I also have boobs and a long torso, which can make things a bit of a tight fit.
  6. Lift the basque waistline. I’m not convinced that this style suits anyone, and I don’t really feel the need for an arrow towards my vagina.

And then I had a dress.

Oh wait.

Number Seven. Add pockets. Deep ones.

You may have noticed that the dress is very much not green.

That’s because halfway through making it, I decided that I quite liked the cream. I put it to an Insta-Vote, and enough other people liked the cream, that I decided to keep it for a while.

I do in fact already own several green dresses (although no silk ones.. no wait, only one silk one.. but it is a very satiny silk), but nothing in the cream-white-off white family.

Probably because I am a muck.

One friend very wisely pointed out that I should keep it cream for a bit, and I can always dye it later on. Probably this will happen when I inevitably spill something on the dress, or when I wash it with red socks and it becomes slightly pink.

Ok, on with the photos.

   

(^I definitely have lipstick on my front tooth. I blame the tooth, which, after my bike accident, is very much not in the location it is supposed to be in.)

Look, it was probably a mistake to try to shoot outside in the sun. I overexposed the hell out of these, and for that, I say ‘I’m sorry’ and also point out that I now have extreme respect for wedding photographers.

It is of course completely my own fault for shooting on auto. Next time I will switch to manual and  STOP IT DOWN with the aperture. Which will also help with the focus, given that my camera currently has a broken remote sensor and doesn’t do super well with face-tracking when also on ‘multi-photo timer’.

Ah well, you live, you learn.

One thing I didn’t change much about the dress is the back, although I also raised the waistline to take away the V. Which is why, although I don’t think this looks very ‘weddingy’ anymore, I’m still calling it the Commitment dress.

Because getting in and out, via all those tiny buttons, is still a lot of work.

Here’s me with different earrings, cleaner hair, and less lippy. I realised that the first set of shots didn’t really show off the skirt enough, and display how delightfully voluminous it is:

So I did this, which- let’s all be honest- only makes it look like I am trying to pee on my zucchini plant.

 

That’s all for this little refashion. I thought I’d finish with the famous ‘maniacally grinning blurry Tegan’ shot, which is pretty much my go-to look.

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