wedding guest outfits

My Handmade Wedding Guest Outfits, Ranked

One of my favorite things to make? A party dress. Even better when that party celebrates the nuptials of good friends or family! But for all the hours I’ve put into sewing wedding guest dresses over the past few years, I have a pitiful amount of photo evidence to show for it. I’m usually too busy passing out programs or introducing myself to extended family or warming up with some Robyn or—you know—generally enjoying the company of others to bother with photos.

I did manage to document, however poorly, at least one photo of each of the wedding guest outfits I’ve sewn—some of which I’ve worn multiple times! And because I like rankings and lists, I decided to rank them based on three criteria:

  1. Sewing Enjoyment. Was it a breeze, or did it nearly go in the garbage disposal?
  2. Comfort. Was it secret pajamas, or secret sandpaper?
  3. Confidence Level. Did it make me feel fierce, or fiercely boring?

Rankings go by a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. Please note that Confidence Level is double-weighted, because that’s clearly the most important measure.

#6 – By Hand London Georgia Dress | August 2017

The Adams Family got a good one yesterday! #wattsupadams #mudmarc @byhandlondon #georgiadress

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  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 6/10
  2. Comfort: 6/10
  3. Confidence Level: 16/20
    Grand Total: 28/40

This is probably the most professional-looking dress I’ve made, but fitting it was a doozy! I ended up having to take it in quite a bit on the side and back panel seams. Then there was the issue of the spandex-sateen fabric stretching out A LOT over the course of the day and night, so much so that my strapless bra made several appearances on the dance floor. I take full blame for lining the bodice pieces with power mesh—I’m assuming the lack of structure contributed to the droopiness.

I felt great in this dress for a few good hours, and will totally wear this again on an evening that doesn’t require me to be up and about or wildly dancing for upwards of eight hours.

#5 – Vogue 8904 | August 2014

vogue 8904 marcy tilton shingle dress

  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 6/10
  2. Comfort: 8/10
  3. Confidence Level: 15/20
    Grand Total: 29/40

This was one of my first forays into sewing slippery knits, and the fabric nearly killed me. But it’s a fun project to look back on to see how far my sewing skills have come, as evidenced by the same dress made a year later.

The dress held up pretty well for the whole night, but damn was it clingy and unfriendly to carb and booze bloat! That said, this was the first wedding guest dress I ever made, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

#4  – Named Patterns Inari Dress | November 2017

knit inari dress

  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 8/10
  2. Comfort: 8/10
  3. Confidence Level: 14/20
    Grand Total: 30/40

I made this gold metallic shell for a New Year’s Eve party in Madison a couple years ago and figured it was a good option for a veering-into-holiday-season wedding. Because I’d already made a couple of Inari’s, construction was a piece of cake. I wore a RTW black knit slip underneath, and my main issues were 1. the slip is the same length as the front of the dress, which rode up at times, and 2. my stubborn bra straps are clearly visible. It’s not the dress’s fault that I forgot a strapless bra, but I have to ding confidence points nevertheless!

#3 – Named Patterns Delphi Dress | August and September 2016

Happy wedding day my lovely Maddie! Love you ladiezZz #weddinggram

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Love you Jamesy poo!

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  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 8/10
  2. Comfort: 9/10
  3. Confidence Level: 14/20
    Grand Total: 31/40

I clearly liked my accessories, as I wore the exact same outfit for two weddings within a month of each other. The fabric is super stretchy and comfy, but it’s also pretty shiny—something that you might see in the activewear section. I had a few moments of paranoia that I looked like a figure skater sans skates.

The Delphi Dress is meant to be a maxi, but I effing hate maxi dresses! The length works OK here, but the proportions are just a little off. Nitpicking aside, I’ve worn this dress multiple times and really like it.

#2 – By Hand London Anna Dress | September 2016, August 2017

  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 7/10
  2. Comfort: 7/10
  3. Confidence Level: 18/20
    Grand Total: 32/40

Anyone else think this Rifle Paper Company rayon is the perfect fabric? As you can see, a few yards found a home in my closet as an Anna Dress. The front facing flips out a little during wear, but that’s my only complaint. A+ twirling, dancing, sitting, talking, laughing, eating dress.

P.S. I actually blogged about this one if you care to read more!

And now for my favorite wedding guest outfit, based on very scientific evidence…

#1 – Sallie Jumpsuit | November 2017

sallie jumpsuit

  1. Sewing Enjoyment: 6/10*
  2. Comfort: 9/10
  3. Confidence Level: 20/20
    Grand Total: 35/40

“Uhhhhm, do I look like I’m going to the disco?!” I asked Marc several times after making this jumpsuit. I even asked the bride if it was OK to wear a jumpsuit to her wedding, I was so freaked out it wasn’t appropriate. I’m glad to say those apprehensions went away the minute I put the whole look together: red pumps, beaded belt, delicate gold chain, Morris blazer (for the ceremony), and some sparkly purple eyeshadow.

I loved wearing this despite the many, many dumb mistakes I made (not the pattern’s fault)* during the sewing process. To name a few: I cut the legs out on the wrong grain OOPS, I initially sewed the bodice on backwards D’OH, and I forgot to cut extra length to accommodate my height and heels and had to add panels at the bottom UGH.

Mistakes aside, I love this jumpsuit. It was a blast to dance in all night, and I even managed to use the bathroom without dunking the back straps in the toilet. WIN! This grainy photo doesn’t do the fabric justice. It’s an emerald sparkle bomb. But… a classy one. I think?

That’s it for now, but I’m sure there are many more weddings in my future. Do you have any go-to party dress patterns?

pendleton grainline archer

Pendleton Wool Archer Button Up

Do you ever buy a killer new pair of boots, or a fancy candle, or even a perfectly baked asiago cheese focaccia—and feel a pang of sadness on first wear, light, or bite? You’re not alone. Shopping-induced dopamine is a real thing! And so is the wistful feeling you get the moment your shiny new purchase isn’t so new anymore.

Anyone who buys fabric knows this feeling all too well, which is why so many of us hoard some of our most beautiful textiles. If we never cut into it, we can hold on to that shopping high forever… right?!

Wrong. If you’re anything like me (as in, you have the occasional neurotic tendencies), your fabric taunts you at every turn.Read More »

gorton's fisherman and rainbow fish

Happy Halloween from Rainbow Fish!

rainbow fish

Who here was obsessed with the book Rainbow Fish growing up? I absolutely loved it. What little kid doesn’t like adorable sea creatures and pretty shiny things? I believe the moral of the story is that it’s good to share with your friends…? Sure, why not. What really stuck with me? The image of that goofy little fish and his beautiful silver scales.

I struggled this year coming up with Halloween costume ideas. Then I remembered how much Marc looks like the Gorton’s Fisherman. I thought maybe I’d go as a fish stick, but then realized I could easily be mistaken for a Twinkie or a mozzarella stick or a worm.

So Gorton turned vegetarian for the night and took Rainbow Fish as his date to the party.Read More »

My First Quilt

Up until a few months ago, I was quilt-indifferent. I had nothing against quilts. In fact, I was very loyal to a particular twin-size comforter from Target all throughout college. It just never occurred to me that I should try to make a quilt. Quilting has always seemed so distant from the kinds of things I like to sew.Read More »

alcoholic seltzer

Alcoholic Seltzer: My New Obsession

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you might be wondering, “Where have all the cocktails gone?” It’s a valid question, and I have a few answers for you.

1. I started to second guess whether I was “qualified” to write about cocktails. I’m not a bartender! I’ve only taken one cocktail class in my life! I realize that those reservations are stupid. I love cocktails. I buy books about them. I make them at home. I order them at fancy (and shitty) bars. I share them with friends. And I will continue to write about them if I so well please.Read More »

Flint Pants, Meet the Flint Pants!

I could not get the Flintstones theme song out of my head when sewing these pants. I’m sorry if this song gets stuck in your head, too, because we all know earworms spread like the common cold. I could talk earworms all day—good ones (thanks Queen), bad ones (eff you Styx)—but we’re here to talk pants.

Specifically about these high-waisted, wide-leg, cropped Flint Pants by Megan Nielsen Patterns.

megan nielsen flint pants sewing pattern
Flint Pants
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sewing tools and notions

10 Sewing Tools and Notions Under $10

Some of these sewing tools aren’t very sexy. Some are—I’LL SAY IT—downright flimsy. But I love them all. If you’re new to sewing, this is a great starting point for your sewing tool kit. If you’re a seasoned pro, tell me what’s missing! Better yet, tell me which pieces warrant forking over a few extra bucks.

I’ll include links to exact or similar items, but FYI—this post is not sponsored! I simply find myself reaching for the same items again and again, and I figured many of you probably do, too. Sharing is caring. Without further ado:

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maritime shorts closeup back

Maritime Shorts in Canvas

When Rachel from Oak Fabrics asked me to take part in a photo shoot for an upcoming project, I figured “Why the hell not?” I’ve loved her shop for years now. I even took a pillow sewing class there (then called the Needle Shop) when I was a wee sewing noob.

The shop is a beautiful, well-curated oasis in Chicago, which is unfortunately somewhat of an indie sewing store desert. Obviously, I wanted in on whatever Rachel was up to!

maritime shorts grainline studio oak fabrics
Rachel made these to showcase the collaboration| Oak Fabrics

When I found out the project was a collaboration between Oak Fabrics, Grainline Studio, and Leah Duncan, I knew it was kismet. If you haven’t heard yet, Oak Fabrics is offering limited edition kits that pair Leah Duncan fabric with Grainline Studio patterns. Above, I’m wearing the Maritime Shorts with indigo Lines & Shapes canvas. And you wanna know how creative I am? Huh…. huh…. HUH?!

maritime shorts closeup

I made the same shorts from the photoshoot… for myself!

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