Ladies and gentleman, I would like to introduce to you the mother of all copy-cat dresses:
The Pippa Middleton bridesmaids dress.
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.
... 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!
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.
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)
Yes, that's right, the knock-out model wearing the dress I made is none other than my spunk of a sister, Angeline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The dress is fully lined and the fabric shell is made of luscious 100% wool crepe which drapes and sews like a dream.
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.
The cowl neck folds in and and looks like this when it's pulled out.
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.
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.
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.