Friday, November 05, 2010

FO: Tartan-themed Wedding Outfit

The potential for disaster was all present and correct: a tartan-themed wedding invitation from a couple I had never met, golfing buddies of my dear FL.

It seemed unlikely that the tartan theme was ironic given the social demographic of the bride and groom (middle class, middle-aged golfers). So, as much as I would have loved to steampunk-it-up, I had to control myself and come up with a wedding outfit that would allow me to fit in without having the urge to run out of the church screaming. Though that was still an option ; )

So... I decided to use stashed brushed cotton Blackwatch tartan to sew another 50's-pattern va va voom top. This time it has 3/4-length sleeves, so that I can absorb it into my seasonal wardrobe on an everyday basis. I matched up the tartan at the side seams, but the multiple darts were always going to break up the check. Luckily it is quite a dark and subtle tartan, so I think it works. Shoulder pads were absolutely essential to support the shape at the neck - otherwise the keyhole collapsed in on itself in a most unflattering way, unless I thrust my chest out. No thanks! Perhaps a different bra would have the same effect. It may have turned out slightly smaller than the last one, but it fits most curvily.

The skirt design was not totally to-plan. I thought I would make something swishy and circular to wear with a net petticoat, to play up the 1950's vibe, but I didn't have enough fabric. I originally bought this satin thinking it would make a slinky blouse but it turned out to be too stiff. So I decided to go for something approaching a wiggle skirt, using the same Japanese pattern as my herringbone tweed work skirt. I shortened it by about 5 inches and raised it at the top, adding a waistband, rather like the Jenny skirt. I think the fishtail godet at the back makes it more sophisticated than tarty, which was always going to be a danger with a fitted satin skirt.

I sewed the zip "inside out" so that no stitching shows on the right side. By this, I mean I sewed the zip tape onto the seam allowances on the inside rather than top-stitching from the outside through all the layers. The satin fabric is more firm and "non-slippery" than I expected so it behaved really well. Given more time, I would have bound the seams. Although it frays easily once it gets going, a fierce zigzag stitch finish was sufficient for a garment I don't expect to wear very often.

The hem required some care though. I really wanted it to be invisible. But searching the web, I quickly realised that my best bet in the combined satin / fishtail situation was to aim for a tiny rolled hem, enclosing the raw edge of the satin to avoid fraying. I used the machine as I had run out of time to be fussy. I started this skirt on Monday evening (before I had even finished the blouse, which still lacked buttonholes) and finished on Friday morning... just in time for the wedding at 2pm!

1950's vintage Mccalls pattern 6245, sized down by pleating the pattern tissue evenly down the front and backs from shoulder to hem, shifting the waist darts over to ensure the bust point still fell in the correct place.
Less than 2 metres of Blackwatch brushed cotton from Little Shop of Treasures at eeebaaay. I paid a lot less than that by "making an offer".
One set of 12mm thick Shoulder pads.
Self-covered buttons using Prym metal blanks from eeebaaay.

Style 19 from "Everyday Skirts" (Japanese book ISBN4-579-10949-X) in size 11.
2 metres of satin from Croft Mill Fabrics @ £3.50 per metre.

Tartan accessories:
Pamela Mann tartan tights
Gobbolino giant tartan bow (yeah, I know I could have made one, but do have a rummage round this online shop if you have any teens in your house... or just a subversive streak that requires a bit of TLC. I love the shredded cat scarf!)

Irregular Choice - woo hoo!
And FL?

He hired a kilt in the Black Isle tartan, and chose a toning tartan tie, of unknown clan heritage. He didn't consider there was any need for us to match... and I am glad he went his own way on this. I was immensely flattered that he chose to wear his handknitted Golf Stockings... though I did wish he had washed them for the occasion!


feresaknit said...

You both look luverly and I'm just adoring these golf stockings. I was already wondering whether you'd knit them! :D

Anonymous said...



Some Chilean Woman said...

I have to say I love the way the laces were tied on your husband. I will have to convince my husband to tie them like that when he wears his kilt, I think it looks fantastic.

Now if only I cold get away with wearing tartan...

tea and cake said...

What a smashing outfit! And, I just love that blouse - well done, you.

christinelaennec said...

Wow! You look like a million bucks (as we say). I think you hit exactly the right balance - a wink for those who think to look for it.

My husband is admiring FL's golf stockings / kilt hose. Hmmm!

Well done you. Hope you both enjoyed yourselves at the wedding.

Uta said...

You look great! The blues suit you so well, and I think you accessorized them perfectly! I love the shape of the top; I may have to get into vintage patterns after all...

Kate said...

You both look the BIZNIZ.

Scruffybadger said...

You look fabulous (& so does your partner of course!) I think you got it right - it's individual, quirky & v stylish. LOVE the blouse (especially with gloves) & the skirt is perfect - I do like it being a fishtail slimline skirt.

Lucette said...

You both look so unique and stylish.

Susie Hemingway said...

I'm late again getting here! Playing catch-up this week, a tough one.You both look so good and with such wonderful style. I just love your outfit, the skirt is kinda racy - may I say that? - well I did and I love it! FL looks brilliant and so well also! What a very smart pair you both are.