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Sewing that's Retro, Geek, and Chic

A 1930s Themed Wedding: Part 1 – The Bridesmaids

This past Sunday night, I finally got the text I’ve been waiting to receive since I started this blog…

Just two words – “found em”. The CDs of my little sister’s wedding photos had been found! (They had been missing for nearly eight years! Turns out my parents had them and they had been buried in a bag inside a desk.)

So the last couple of days have been spent sorting through all 1200+ pictures from that day back in 2004. Since there is so much to cover, I have decided to divide the wedding into 3 separate posts: The Bridesmaids, The Bride & Flower-girl, and The Retro Details.

Let me explain the back-story – no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

When my sister got engaged, I had promised to design and build the following items around a 1930s theme:

  • Custom wedding gown AND headpiece with veil – both with hand-beading
  • The necessary bridal undergarments to go with the dress
  • Retro dresses for 4 bridesmaids – all different designs
  • A flower-girl dress
  • The ring-bearer’s pillow

All this was going to be my wedding gift to my sister – she just had to pay for the materials.

My sister and her fiancé decided to move up their wedding date when they learned that the perfect location for their Art Deco style wedding was available much sooner than expected.

I got the bashful phone call from my sister: “Can you still make all the dresses for my wedding…in 2 months?”

Me: “Um…sure?”

Only for my sister.

Looking back, I honestly have no idea how I managed to do everything in such a short timeframe. We had (luckily) already purchased the fabric for all the dresses before the date changed.

I think the only thing I was truly disappointed with was the fact that the wedding photographers didn’t really take any full-length photographs of the dresses – they were too focused on capturing faces. I was able to crop a few things out of crowd shots and use some pictures that my uncle took (specifically for me) to supplement a few really wonderful shots by the photographers. (Word of advice to future brides: make sure you ask your photographer to zoom out and worry about framing & cropping things later!)

Aside from a few minor details not being completely accurate for the time-period, it all turned out rather well in the end. (Of course, every good wedding has a flaw or two.)

Ester’s dress was the easiest to produce. I used a reprinted 1930s pattern that was available in stores at the time. So I was able to buy the pattern in her size and fit a mock-up a couple days later.

Ester, friend of the Bride

Caroline was the youngest bridesmaid. (I believe she was 10 at the time.) Her dress was a combination of 3 different modern patterns that had the elements I was looking for to create a Thirties style dress that would be age appropriate. The godets at the hem were so pretty when she moved.

Caroline, cousin of the Bride

Courtney’s dress was the most challenging because she did not live in the same state. Amazingly, it all worked out because she came for a weekend visit prior to the wedding, and I was able to fit a mock-up on her. Her dress was a combination of 2 modern patterns – a blouse and a skirt. I kept the patterns as separates to make it easier and mailed the skirt to her un-hemmed. That way, she was able to have it hemmed to the perfect length after she had purchased her shoes but before she came back for the wedding.

Courtney, cousin of the Bride

Then there’s my dress. Like Ester’s dress, mine was also a reprinted vintage pattern available in stores at the time. Although it wasn’t my first choice in a design for myself, the double-train attached to the back of the skirt made it unique. It was the last dress I made for the wedding, and it was never completely finished on the inside (but at least you can’t tell!).

Me, sister of the Bride

More to come about the bridal gown and flower-girl’s dress…

L to R: Courtney, Caroline, Ashley (bride), Me, Ester, & Lucy (flower-girl)

Related posts:

A Retro Headpiece for a 1930s Themed Wedding

A 1930s Themed Wedding: Part 2 – The Bride & Flower-girl

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3 responses to “A 1930s Themed Wedding: Part 1 – The Bridesmaids

  1. Karen January 26, 2012 at 9:11 am

    This is so much fun to read. Can’t wait to hear and see more. Your sister will always remember this wonderful gift you gave to her!

  2. purplepincushion August 5, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Lol! I can’t tell you how many events I have gone to with incomplete detail work on my own clothing. Like you, I am always making sure everyone else has a completely finished outfit before I finish my own!

    • Brooke August 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

      I guess I’ve always figured since I’d be the only one who would notice something like that, it doesn’t really matter. Glad I’m not the only one who does this! =)

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