Sewing Circle: Searching for a shirred bodice pattern
I got a question from a reader about a beautiful dress for her bridesmaids! Can we help her find a similar pattern?
Q: I'm getting married in October, and I've been on the hunt to the perfect bridesmaid dresses... I found one that I love at J. Crew, but it's a little expensive. My sister lives in India and she suggested that I have them made there, and then I could get the fabric dyed the exact color I want. I have very limited sewing experience (close to none, with the exception of some curtains that I sewed) so there is no way that I know enough to sew anything or even to communicate how much fabric it would require, etc.
Thanks for your email, and thanks for reading! Glad you found my blog. That is a gorgeous dress! It’s absolutely something you can emulate. I recreate dresses just from the photos online.
As far as I know there isn’t ONE pattern out there that’s exactly right, but there are a few that are close. You could adapt one of these based on which elements are most important to you (keep in mind you can put whatever skirt you want on any of these bodices—the original looks like a not-too-full, gathered, long skirt). You actually could do this from any strapless dress pattern, cutting it to the lower empire waist of the original, and just cutting wide bias strips and pinning them for the draping. The cross-body ruching, or draping, isn’t something I’ve seen on a lot of patterns but if you have a mannequin to model it on you don’t need a pattern, just the wide bias pieces. Does that make sense? It looks like, depending on how long and how full you make the skirt, you’ll need 5-6 yards of 45” wide fabric. Here are some patterns you could use as a starting point:
- This McCall's
- This McCall's (would be very easy to do the shirring on—use the plain strapless bodice, then cut bias strips, gather on each end, and ruch/pin down at top right and bottom left, top left and bottom right.)
- This one’s made from a knit, so you’d need another pattern for the bodice and skirt, but the idea could be used elsewhere—they add long strips coming from the back and use them to play with and drape however they want. A great idea for bridesmaid dresses since they can be worn elsewhere in different ways: This McCall's
- Here’s a look at what the draping can look like—you’d want wider pieces. A Butterick
I hope that helps!!
Readers, have you ever seen a pattern for a similar dress? What tips do you have for Lela and her sister? (Or, have you seen a similar dress sold at another store for less than $350?)
Thanks for reading Sewing Circle!