Leggi questo post in: Italiano
On Monday a good friend of ours got married and we were honored to participate as a family in the civil ceremony. Italian weddings don’t have the same traditional roles for other people to participate in. My husband and I were the Italian version of the maid of honor and the best man (simply called “witnesses”) and my daughter, along with our friend’s daughter, were the flower girls/bridesmaids (roles put together simply as “damigelle“). Seeing as the wedding was mixed culturally (the groom is Canadian), we just decided to make my little boy the ring bearer, which doesn’t actually exist in Italian weddings, however in the end he just stood tugging my husband’s jacket asking urgently for water the entire time. (Sigh.)
Anyway, I proposed sewing the girls matching dresses and my proposal was enthusiatically accepted. There wasn’t enough time for me to draft my own pattern and get it right for both girls, so I started scouring the web for PDF patterns for sale. My daughter’s and my favorite was McCall’s M6690 and the other flower girl agreed to it (though I warned them that I would most likely not find cool butterfly chiffon fabric like the model’s). McCall’s has the option to buy their patterns online in digital format, which is fantastic because otherwise there wouldn’t have been enough time for the paper pattern to arrive overseas and for me to sew two dresses from it.
There are four versions of this garmet, two tunics and two dresses, with variations on the sleeves and bottom hem (ruffles, lace or plain). All versions have a lining with a lighter fabric over it. There are openings in the four side seams to slip through a belt, which is tied in a bow in the back. We loved the floatiness of the model and, as it was becoming ever so clear that the weather was being rainier and chillier than usual for this season, I wanted something to cover the arms somewhat, even though the chiffon of this model isn’t exactly the warmest fabric.
I’d like to tell you that sewing these dresses was a breeze… but it wasn’t for various reasons. First of all, I didn’t get the official ok on the dress until two weeks before the wedding and then, because of holidays, I wasn’t able to buy the fabric (peach-colored, as requested) at my town’s weekly market until exactly one week before the wedding. Then, in order to protect the pattern under copyright, all digital McCall’s patterns can be viewed only with a specific viewer, can be downloaded only once and printed only from one computer. Which would’ve been fine, except for the fact that my printer bit the dust. I couldn’t just put the file on a pen drive and print it somewhere else and copy shops weren’t willing to connect my laptop to their systems to print the 49 page pattern. Finally a printer repair shop agreed to do it and I sighed a sigh of relief. Oh, did I mention the pattern was 49 pages? That meant that I had to cut margins off of and assemble 48 of those. Then I also had to alter the older girl’s dress to make it 7 cm longer.
It also just so happened that we had a guest staying with us for the week preceeding the wedding, too, so I didn’t exactly have much free time to work on the pattern, so I basically spent all of Friday to Sunday sewing. Oh, and those same three days before the wedding we came to the rescue of the bride procuring flowers and confetti (not the paper that you throw, but the sugar-covered almonds that Italians give to guests at weddings and any other special occasion). Let’s just say that things were quite last minute and hectic.
When I finally got to sewing, I got horribly confused on some passages. Luckily there is a full video tutorial by Professor Pincushion, to whom I was already subscribed on You Tube, and I got through with her help. When I got to the second dress, it was much easier because I knew what to do and got through it faster and with better results, because I was able to add in steps like serging fraying raw edges (if you’ve ever sewn chiffon, you know what I’m talking about), which for some bizarre reason was totally omitted from the instructions. I also figured out some time savers, such as using a rolled hem foot (affiliate link) to hem the sleeves and bottoms of the dresses instead of the long (and annoying) process suggested in the pattern.
But just to see these two friends together made it all worth it! My heart just melted seeing them spend the day together in their matching fairy dresses!
These dresses are really so sweet, so I’m sure that when my little girl grows out of hers (in a long while because hers is a little big, as her correct size, smaller than her age-based one, was in another pattern size grouping), I’ll be making her another one! She and I prefered version D of this pattern, full length with a bottom ruffle. I sewed version C for Daria, my friend’s daughter, because she didn’t want a ruffle. The one thing I don’t like about version D is that the lining stops where the ruffle begins instead of going the whole way down. (You can see this well in the picture to the right above.)
Is this dress not fantastic for twirling?!
But the girls also had no problems running and jumping and playing on the playground equipment outside the restaurant we went to after the ceremony and before the party!
If that doesn’t look like fun, then I don’t know what does!
You can really get a good idea of the transparency of the outer chiffon and how short the lining in the bottom ruffle version of the dress really is in the picture above.
These two flower girls were able to sample all the goods of the playground in full wedding gear, from the climbing rope thing to the slide…
…and from the regular seesaw…
…to the four-seated seesaw (with some help from the should-have-been-ringbearer Nicky and the interpreter’s son).
I’d wanted to sew Nicky a little tie or bow-tie, but I ran out of time. I decided to tie a little satin foulard that I’d made a week earlier for myself around his neck, but he didn’t want any of that, so it’s just as well that I didn’t sew him anything in the first place. I was worried about it being cold for the girls (though luckily the sun came out the day of the wedding!) so I sewed them two little rectangular stoles from what was left of the dress fabrics, with the lining on one side and chiffon on the other, however I actually don’t have any pictures of the girls using them (and my daugher’s is badly in need of a wash so I can’t take a picture now).
And what about me in all this wedding sewing activity? I mentioned in my Me-Made-May 2014 pledge post that I was planning something crazy for my own dress, however I wasn’t able to do it for various reasons I won’t get into, but I do still plan on doing it eventually. As with the girls and the bride, I had planned on a too-summery dress, so I sewed myself a rectangular stole, too.
I used shirt cotton in two different shades of blue because I wanted it to match a strip of denim-blue-colored linen at the bottom of my dress which was absolutely impossible to match with just one shade. Folding the top edge over, you’re able to see both colors, making it match well enough! I couldn’t find flat dress shoes that I actually liked to match my dress (I am incapable of walking in heels and my husband doesn’t want me to anyway because I’m already taller than him as it is) and the bride encouraged us to dress “artistically” (meaning “relatively casually”), so I wore some matching non-sporty sneakers. Which really was very comfortable for the afternoon party in a historic plant nursery!
Question of the day: Do you wear something different to every wedding or other important event or do you have a “uniform” that you wear every time?
I would find it so boring being a man and feeling socially obliged to wear a suit to every special occasion. I love wearing different things and accessorizing in different ways. Although I’ll admit that I did actually wear this same dress to a wedding brunch the morning after a wedding we went to ten years ago, however that was on a different continent with totally different guests, so I’m not worried about being too repetitive!