Why hello there,
How the devil are we all? This is the post that has been slow cooking away for some time now and I hope is all the more rich and juicy for it ;-)
You would not be remiss for thinking lazy ol’ Miss D she's been sitting round with her curlers in and feet up in fluffy mules ever since she finished her cake heavy commission. This my dears has not been the case at all I've simply been in a wedding and post wedding walking whirl.
As I advance through my years life gets no less challenging and in the same vein no less interesting, thankfully. If you'd ask me at the beginning of last year if I thought I'd be making a wedding cake for one dear friend and several bridesmaid dresses for another I would have said it's more likely that I'll take gold at 2012! Reminds me more than ever what a difference a day can make.
As previously blogged I was asked last year by my very lovely friend Laura to be one of her bridesmaids. Hers is a thoroughly modern love story and one, which I’m glad to have been a part of from the very beginning. We met when we both decided to take an Erasmus exchange to Spain in our second year at uni. It was in fact at this time I made my first dress (very badly – see evidence below). It was a crazy few months to say the least but Laura and I became firm friends united by our ability to find humour when all else had failed including the heating. On our return from Alicante we started our final year and the fun continued. She unfortunately had a really rubbish housemate think 30 year old Veruca Salt. I on the other hand lived in a ramshackle 7 bedroom house with 5 lovely guys and 1 lovely girl. It was a true student house in every sense.
This dress was held together with sellotape by the end of the night but my love of polka dots was born :)
We used to have really great parties and Laura used to come along, which is where she met my then housemate Nick who was to become her beloved J Over the course of our final year they fell hard for each other and when we stayed on an extra year after graduation it cemented their feelings but as we all know life can sometimes play you a dud hand. Nick was due to spend the summer abroad and then go back to his hometown. His trip got cut short but home he went and Laura followed but things didn’t work out and studies took her back South and they decided to separate. When I went to get her it all seemed so sad but the old romantic in me believed true love would will out and indeed it did. Just a few weeks later Nick declared he could not live without her and would go whether she needed to be. That was 6 years ago.
Brave or crazy on the basis of only a few my outfits she asked me to make the bridesmaids dresses! I was both excited and a little nervous but when she phoned me in September last year October 2012 seemed a long way away - it came around fast. Thankfully, not long after I blogged about it the lovely Ginger Makes emailed me to say she'd embarked on a similar mission and time goes by quicker than you think. Taking that into account the bride and I came up with a timetable for the coming months to at least try to keep everything on target. This proves very useful when one your of bridesmaids is a touring opera singer, another is a very successful business woman running a cheerleading squad, the other is a swing trio singing mum of one with another bubba on the way and the other is me!
The bridal squad
Right from the start Laura had said she wanted us to go for a vintage look to compliment what she was hoping to find in her dress so we had a pow wow and we both decided we looking for a nicely shaped bodice, cap sleeve, a bateau neckline and a fuller skirt. I found two patterns that ticked the boxes.
Owing to Simplicity 3592 being a vintage pattern and not so readily available I set about making a muslin of New Look 6723 so we could give it a yay or nay early on in the process.
It was indeed a nay aside from the fact that the black tights and calico combo makes me look like a character from a Dickens' novel albeit a ver chirpy one the design just wasn't flattering.
So we shelved the New Look in favour of the vintage Simplicity pattern. Whilst I set about bidding for several on Ebay I also decided that all our proportions were so different it was probably best off to make bodice blocks for all of us and then an adapt pattern for each of us. I've actually only taken a pattern cutting course to make a skirt block but I found an ace tutorial on making a bodice block here and along with my trusted Winifred Aldrich Pattern Cutting for Womens Wear. Although this sounds like a lot of work I don't regret it at all it made the whole process so much simpler as I knew with just a few tweaks we'd have the right fits for everyone and then it was just a case of adapting the skirt pattern. It has also made me want to take the next level in pattern cutting at Sew in Brighton.
Anywho fast forward to Summer this year and we'd manage to snap up the fabric we needed from Goldhawk Road for the bargain price of £65. We went for a steely lavender cotton silk that showed lots of different colours when it was caught by the light. Laura and I both agreed it would look lovely on our various colourings and was along way a way from the peach parachutes that bridesmaids in the 80s were fated to wear.
Both Laura and I wanted to avoid creations that would require facial anonymity!
As well as finding the fabric Laura who herself had started to sew was going to make one of the dresses because Louisa the swinging, singing bridesmaid would have her new baby by the time the wedding came round. It was easier for Laura to fit Louisa as they live close to each other but, which left me with lovely pleasure of making a baby bridesmaid’s dress J
The baby bridesmaid dress pattern Simplicity 2235 so sweet
The months whirled by in a flash and before we knew it was July and we were on Laura’s hen do in London doing the last test fittings. There were some minor adjustments but things were full steam ahead. At the same time another very lovely friend of mine who you may know, Zoe ;-) asked me to help out with the fitting of her wedding dress and to make the cake for her and Pat’s wedding. I was absolutely over the moon. We only met in February 2011 so to be given the honour of such a special baking project was really touching.
Me being me had also taken on the cake skirt for Macmillan as well as squeezing a trip to Berlin over the summer so it was pretty much nose to the grindstone from August right through to the end of September when Zoe and Pat got married. They had decided they didn’t want to go for a cutting of the cake affair so instead they asked me to bake 120 cupcakes and they both jumped on my suggestion of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties ;-) In the end the cupcakes were a mixture of vanilla, chocolate and Guinness with a Bailey’s frosting, lime with a tequila frosting and tiramisu with a mascarpone frosting (recipes for all here). They were all decorated with royal icing card suits to match Pat and Zoe’s theme. I was ably assisted I hasten to add by two of my very creative friends Miss Aymi D of picture perfection and Kirstin Stride of many a piece of hand drawn jewellery and more recently purveyor of pretty pants. The girls were invaluable letting me getting on with the baking while they coloured the icing and cut shapes. I couldn’t have done it without them so thank you.
What did slip my mind at the time was the fact I hadn’t got round to making my dress for the wedding :s There was no way I could go in RTW especially not with Zoe being so supportive of my sewing endeavours. So I did want any good seamstress would I cut out my dress the night before then had some port and sewed it in the morning. It was to the wire but I still had time to make a hair bow because I thought the beehive needed a little gigi. I will add though it wasn’t meant to be so last minute because my original plan had been to sew Simplicity 4908 as gifted to me by the very excellent Lana of Lazy Stitching. It didn’t happen though because the bodice pattern hated on me L (princess seams are meant to be winner for curves I'm convinced in my case this is not the case) I fell back onto the bodice pattern I’d designed for my bridesmaid dress and the skirt from 4908. It was a match made in heaven and I even got a mention in the speeches for last minute nature of my clothing.
I called the look Latina Minnie Mouse
As you’ll have seen from Zoe’s posts she look an absolute picture and so did Pat. It was a wonderful wedding where I cried and danced.
A pair of handmade crackers :)
Any thoughts of resting any longer than the Sunday were out the door quicker than Mo Farah on the track because the following weekend was Laura and Nick’s wedding. The week was filled with final changes and hemming and by Friday I was good to go.
All sewn and ready to hem eek!
Not for the first time I found myself travelling across country on a train with multiple garments and a sewing machine. Thanks be that I came for the rehearsal though because I went to several wrong churches before I found the right one. Honestly I felt like Dustin Hoffman at the end of The Graduate J Once we had the rehearsal we did one last fitting and then Laura, her Mama and I headed to the hotel for a well deserved dinner and relax with chocs and wine aplenty.
Laura and her lovely Mama
It was a super emotional day and the first time I choked was when our very beautiful bride clocked how lovely she was in the mirror as pictured below.
Just perfect :)
The whole day was just a massive show of love from the tears in the church with Steph aka the sister-in-law singing opera, Laura's Mama's beautiful speech, Louisa singing the first dance with her trio the Spitfire Sisters with little baby Poppy strapped to her.
A whole of love in this photo.
Spot the baby bridesmaid so sweet :)
Despite having a whole wedding to plan and a business to run Laura made us all individual presents. She's a complete doll xxx
And finally my crafty skills performed one last win.
I always have a needle handy and handy it was when it came to popping Laura out of her dress at 1am
So there you have it that was my wedding whirl and whirly it was but my heart definitely got a bit bigger over that fortnight and I still get a bit teary when I think how touched I was to be able to be a part of the start of the next chapter for two very dear friends of mine. I love you girls and I raise a glass of the good stuff to you and your beloveds may the road rise up to meet you at every turn :)
All this celebratory talk brings me nicely to the fact that I forgot my own celebration. My blogiversary passed me by on the 24th October. I can't believe I've been waffling on for a year and people are still reading but for this I thank you. I write for a living so to do it for pleasure and to know that people out there are entertained by it makes me very happy. So to send a proper thanks I'm doing my first giveaway and it's wedding related.
Just leave a comment to win the bridesmaid dress pattern, the almost was wedding guest dress, the first vintage dress I ever made for my friend Lana's wedding last year and 3 metres of polka dot crepe
You've got until midday until on Saturday 15th December GMT and the winner will be chose at random and I'll post worldwide.
Phew if you're still with me well done bit of an epic post but you wait until the next time when I tell you what I did to relax after the weddings. It involves a dog, several mountains and a very sore foot.
Until next time remember always carry a needle because you never know when you'll need to pop a bride out of her frock.
Love always Miss D