Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hey Mr, she's my Sister! Pippa Middleton Copy-Cat - Butterick 5710

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

Ladies and gentleman, I would like to introduce to you the mother of all copy-cat dresses:

The Pippa Middleton bridesmaids dress.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Yes sir! I was one of the many millions of viewers that tuned into the Royal wedding just over a year ago and oohed and ahhed over the many fancy-pantsy dresses. 

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

... And gagged too, let's be honest. What the H were Princess Beatrice and Eugenie thinking? Seriously, when did hats that resemble lobsters come in vogue? Dear God!

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

When Butterick released a copy-cat pattern of the bridesmaid dress (pattern #5710) I purchased me a copy straight away. I didn't have any plans to make it for myself but the stalker in me insisted on having it.

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710
Not so long ago I got this crazy idea that it would be fun to push my sewing skills and make a dress to fit someone else's body.
I don't know where this un-selfish epiphany came from - maybe I ate something funny that day - but it started nagging away at my brain until I decided I would seriously give this a crack. I started flicking through my patterns and this Butterick pattern commanded my attention.

The pattern appealed to me for a few reasons:

1. I'm a total sucker for a copy-cat dress.
2. It would a fun challenge to see if I could make a full gown and have it half resemble the inspiration dress, and
3. My sister Angeline would totally look ACE of BASE in this dress. (Coincidently Angeline was also my Maid of Honour at my own wedding back in October 2011)

Challenge accepted!

Yes, that's right, the knock-out model wearing the dress I made is none other than my spunk of a sister, Angeline.
julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

Is she a total babe or what?!!!

We don't look much alike I know. I think dad ran out of his Italian genes by the time Angeline was born; She's the fourth child and I'm the first.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

This pattern was a breeze to follow and well explained. The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias which gives such a lovely drape to the form fitting dress.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Instead of inserting an invisible zipper down the centre back, I used elastic looping trim and hand sewed 36 fabric covered buttons down the spine. I love the effect! I was pretty slow putting them all in as I wanted to make sure they were perfectly straight and spaced apart. It took soooo long, but it was worth it.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

I also added the lace trim before I attached the lining, just like you would do with piping. The pattern had you add the lace once the dress was finished, exposing a top-stitch which I thought was unnecessary. It was just as easy to add it before the lining and it makes it look much neater.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 

The wool crepe colour was white, but in reality it was more ivory than white. The lace trim I purchased was a stark white and looked almost blue against the ivory of the wool crepe.
Instead of buying new trim I dyed it using a natural dye; an Earl Grey tea-bag.

 

I filled a bowl with hot water, diffused it with the tea bag, and then put in the lace.I kept pulling the lace out every five seconds to check the colour of the lace; I didn't want it to get too dark. At about 20 seconds the colour was just right. I removed the lace from the tea water and left it out to dry. Once it dried I ironed it flat again.

 

The amazing part about my sister Angeline is that she is one of those rare people that is one pattern size all over. According to the back of the pattern, her measurements should have meant I cut out a size 12 but instead I cut an 8 and it fits perfectly.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

The dress is fully lined and the fabric shell is made of luscious 100% wool crepe which drapes and sews like a dream.

Dress Cost

I decided to record exactly how much this dress cost me to make, including fabrics and a basic wage of $25AUD per hour for labour. Here's what it came to:
  • 3 Metres of 100% wool crepe, 2.5 metres of lining from Clegs $160
  • Fabric covered buttons made by Button Mania $21
  • Lace trim and notions $10
  • 14 hours to make the dress - $350
Total Cost = $541AUD 

Bear in mind however that the original Alexander McQueen dress was reportedly around 20,000 British pounds ($31,600AUD) though that seems a bit excessive.

Also recently Sarah Burton, who designed the dress for Alexander McQueen started selling a silk-crepe version on-line for 2,118 pounds ($3,346AUD) and that version has an invisible zipper down the centre back instead of buttons and no lace trim. You can see it online here

So $541 isn't looking so bad for a fully lined, floor length, 100% wool-crepe dress! If I was to add a profit onto it and sell it in a store, I'd probably make the total price $700.

Don't know what I'm going to do with the dress now that it's finished. Maybe I'll see if someone wants to buy it!


I've never been a 'cowl neck' sort of gal, but I love it on this dress. It sits so perfectly with the wool crepe and the cut of the pattern is very flattering on the bodice.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

The cowl neck folds in and and looks like this when it's pulled out.

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710
There are no darts on the skirt front and back, and with the fabric cut on the bias, there would be a lot of ladies that wouldn't be able to get away with the bottom half of this dress. 

i.e. -Me

 julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Angeline has the perfect shape for this sort of dress. Though she is very petite, she still has a lot of shape and I think she definitely gives Pippa a good run for her money in the bottom department.

julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Actually, when the world went nuts over Pippa Middleton and her bum in that bridesmaid dress, I thought to myself 'What bum??!!!' Am I the only person on the planet that thinks that in order to hold the title 'The world's greatest bottom' you need to at least HAVE a bottom?

That being said, Pippa did look lovely in her dress.

So there you have it ladies and gentleman. I have made my very own Pippa Middleton bridesmaid dress and I am very happy with the results.
That's what's been keeping me busy these last few weeks! Has any one else attempted this pattern or are thinking about giving it ago? I'd love to see your versions!

A special thanks to my wonderful sister Angeline for modelling the dress for me.

Happy sewing!
julia bobbin, pippa middleton, butterick 5710

Julia Bobbin, Pippa Middleton, Butterick 5710, Alexander McQueen

51 comments:

  1. You did a great job, it looks very nice!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Julia!! This is SO beautiful!! Absolutely beautiful. Well done, Lady. As per usual.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My goodness, look at this dress! Kate / Pippa could have saved themselves a lot of money had they come to you instead! This is incredibly impressive...I'm totally in awe of your skills! Oh and you and your sister are both stunning!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, I am in awe. This is a seriously gorgeous dress. You deserve a giant pat on the back.

    You are not alone in the 'what bum?' department. Thought it was only me ;p

    ReplyDelete
  5. Super impressed that you invested the cash/time into an experiment. It turned out so lovely. I'm sure you could sell this NO PROBLEM.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is gorgeous, and all those buttons look amazing... I'm sure I would have gone crazy sewing them all on! And I totally agree with you about Pippa Middleton's "bum". As one who is overly blessed in the rear end department I couldn't understand how a lack of bum could attract so much attention!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very sweet dress and aren't you a sweet sister? Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The dress is beautiful and your sister is gorgeous! This would make a very lovely wedding dress if it didn't have the stigma of being a bridesmaid dress.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh. Em. Gee. This dress made me sit right up out of bed to read! What a good looking family, u and Angeline are both stunners!!!! Hahaha at your dad running out of Italian genes :)

    I can't believe how much it looks like the real dress! It's exact, in my eyes! Wow!!!!!! The buttons look AMAZING and it fits so darn perfectly. Completely envious that no mods were needed. Maybe Angeline can keep it and wear it for her wedding?!?!?

    This whole dress is amazing. I think once u can fit a dress on someone else and they are also happy with the fit then you have accomplished something big. It's easy to fit urself but I know it's harder to fit other people, I've sewed for my sister but nothing that figure hugging!

    Wow wow wow. Thanks for the post :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is just amazing! The buttons were definitely worth your time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. oh là là !!!!quelle magnifique robe
    Et quel joli mannequin Angeline

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautifully done! Absolutely gorgeous! What a great-looking family you must have!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Impressively stunning dress on your beautiful sis!

    ReplyDelete
  14. So cool to see someone else in Pippa's dress. You did a fabulous job and I love how you dyed the lace to match the dress and inserted it into the lining (instead of topstitching it). Very clever!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Incredible dress Julia! It's fun to see someone that made this, and made one that gives the original a run for it's money. Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  16. It is absolutely gorgeous! The buttons add a lot to the look, they make it look expensive. You made a wonderful job of fitting the dress to your sister. You are both beautiful young women!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Marvelous. You really outdid yourself, Julia! Your sister looks amazing, and that dress... oh every detail looks perfect. The buttons are wonderful. The tea dyed lace is really interesting, I will have to try that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That is so inspiring! You clever, clever woman. I think tallying your costs is a great way of gaining perspective - I'm a big fan of that approach.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's delightful! And who knew how useful tea could be!? :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great work Julia - the dress looks stunning but more importantly it makes your sister look stunning so you look at how gorgeous she is, not just at how gorgeous the dress is, which in my opinion is what good clothes should do.
    I think the Earl Grey was such the perfect English touch to the dress!
    My sisters and I also don't share the same colouring and I think people thought my dad was the milkman - genes are funny things!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ha I am commenting straight after my own sister on this post so you can see we really don't have similar colouring! I also find ti so extraordinary how when you take your measurements you are always a good couple of sizes larger but then when you make your usual size it fits perfectly??? What's with that? Gorgeous dress as usual would make a perfect wedding dress and your sister is gorgeous - you must both come from a good-looking gene pool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be to do with the 'ease' pattern companies add to the measurements? whenever I check the 'finished garment measurements' at the back bottom of the sewing pattern envelope (or on the pattern tissue) , there can be quite a bit of ease allowed for, meaning you could probably go one of two sizes smaller if you want a nice close fit..

      Delete
  22. Very impressed dress! Great job Julia:)

    ReplyDelete
  23. You excel yourself, this is absoloutely STUNNING. You could definitely sell that with a blink of an eye. Your sister and you of course are both very pretty. . . Look forward to seeing what else you can pull out of the hat.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Omg, this is fantastic! I have been looking at this recently as my sister has asked me to make her wedding dress. It is very interesting to see this made up, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Omg, this is fantastic! I have been looking at this recently as my sister has asked me to make her wedding dress. It is very interesting to see this made up, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Omg, this is fantastic! I have been looking at this recently as my sister has asked me to make her wedding dress. It is very interesting to see this made up, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Omg, this is fantastic! I have been looking at this recently as my sister has asked me to make her wedding dress. It is very interesting to see this made up, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Omg, this is fantastic! I have been looking at this recently as my sister has asked me to make her wedding dress. It is very interesting to see this made up, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am speechless, breathless...A wonderful dress, beautiful pictures, what a sweet girl and your blog is such an inspiration to me- again and again!
    Best regards from Germany
    Claudia

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is amazing! You did a very good job!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Waouhhhh!!!! congratulations Julia.
    You've golgen fingers.
    Sorry for my poor english ;)

    ReplyDelete
  32. What a gorgeous dress and a beautiful model!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow, what a stunner! I remember seeing an episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" (a wedding gown show) where the bride really wanted Pippa's dress, but the store didn't carry anything like it. How awesome that you can make such a lovely knock-off!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great job on the dress! It looks spot on! I agree pipa's bum, though very nice is teeny, tiny. (both Middleton girls have very slim, athletic, even boyish figures. Yes, yes I am jealous!). The whole dress was designed to accentuate curves and play down her shoulders. Raglan sleeves to reduce shoulder width and squareness, a bias cut skirt to add as much umph to the hips and bum as possible. This dress was an awesome example of the right design features and silhouette for a particular figure.

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a beautiful dress Julia and your sister is gorgeous. Great idea about dying the lace with a tea bag!
    Looking forward to your next creation after you get over this one.....especially sewing all those perfect buttons.
    Lorraine
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  36. This is absolutely lovely! Your sister positively glows in it! The lace and covered buttons are lovely touches. If you choose to, you won't have any problem selling this. The cost breakdown is great. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Lovely! Excellent sewing and I love the covered buttons.
    Double-check your tea dye instructions, you have a conflict in the amount of time--minuites vs seconds.

    Great challange for yourself to fit another person. I really enjoyed seeing it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Gees your version is so perfect! It looks just like Pippa's! I have to say when I watched it I didn't think 'bottom' but I did think it suited her perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love this, I am a fan of simple elegant design and this has it all. You're both so gorgeous, what a lucky family!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Gorgeous! As per usual.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Stunning dress. I would even have a dress like that as a wedding dress. Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Absolutely awesome work!

    ReplyDelete
  43. So lovely!!! I can't believe all those pretty buttons in a row (o:

    ReplyDelete
  44. Can't believe your sister doesn't want to hang onto that dress!! Fits her so well too. Great job, looks a dream.

    ReplyDelete
  45. what a beautiful dress. I am lost in admiration. You have overestimated the Australian basic wage by about $10 an hour, which would make the dress even more affordable!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi

    Give the dress to your lovely sister, and tell her to keep
    it for when you have daughter/s etc to admire as an heirloom, waer it and twirl round in it !!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Stunning. Do you still have it? My best friend who is getting married in March and she is love with pippa's dress. If you want to sell it that is!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog, I am an avid sew crazy girl myself and about to launch my very first collection in which all orders will be handmade by me, I am a bit nervous at how busy I might be hahaha, you can read some of my capers over on my blog http://obsessivecreativedesign.wordpress.com/
    I love the job you did on this and you sound just like me in the perfectionist way!! It always pays off though, I am now off to read the rest of your blog!!

    ReplyDelete