Saturday, October 19, 2019

Wedding Dress for my Daughter: Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy, Funny Face

Mother of the Bride and Bride
Audrey Hepburn inspired dresses

My daughter (C) and I had been collecting vintage patterns over the years that would lend themselves to a lovely dream wedding dress for her.

Then, her boyfriend started talking marriage, but no proposal yet. Meanwhile we knew the day was coming so like most gals, we talked about dreamy plans. One idea was to use Vogue 8874, the long version for her and the shorter version for her bridesmaids.

Vogue 8874
Vogue 8874

Then life became incredibly crazy. Crazy. CRAZY.

Through all that the ring was purchased by the two love birds, together at the Golden Ball Silversmith Shop at Colonial Williamsburg. The actual proposal was imminent. And did I mention life was crazy?

And through all that C decided to order her wedding dress on-line. She definitely wanted vintage style. She definitely wanted a short dress, knee length. We found an affordable dress on-line through a major site. I suggested she request fabric samples and color swatches for the dresses she had chosen for her dress and the bridesmaids.

When they arrived she brought them to me. She wasn't so keen on the colors of the bridesmaid dresses. She did not like any of the fabrics. What to do?

I told her I knew of a vintage pattern that might be pleasing to her (having seen her on-line choice of ready made dress), and that I'd be happy to sew for her. We could go shopping on her next day off from work to look for fabric and she could basically design her own dress. She liked that idea, so we visited a few of the Jo Ann Fabric stores in Northern Virginia, which sadly had a horrible fabric selection. She was discouraged yet again.

I wondered if getting out of the "city" would improve our selection. It seems crazy, but I've learned over the years that the Washington DC area has fewer choices on anything I've ever shopped for as compared to my previous home in San Antonio. about Culpeper? She liked that idea so the next week we drove down to Culpeper.

C found not one but two fabrics that she loved: lovely brocade and a gauzy net with daisy spangles sprinkled throughout the netting! Which to choose? I suggested both. The brocade for the bodice and the netting for the skirt.

An she tried to picture that I dug the vintage pattern I had in mind out of the pattern drawer. Butterick 5748, first introduced in 1960.

Butterick 5748
Butterick 5748

Also the look reminded me of Audrey Hepburn's wedding dress in Funny Face, designed by Givenchy. Granted it's not a perfect match. But it was the closest pattern I could find in a short time on budget. Over lunch I showed her pictures from the movie, to remind us of the overall look. Tea-length, full skirt, brocade and gauze, veil, bow. The overall look she liked!

The most magnificent exit on any catwalk must be the wedding dress, and Funny Face is nothing if not a fashion show. The Givenchy bridal gown in this film is romantic, but also briskly modern: a full ballerina-length skirt of white net, with a slim-fitting drop-waisted bodice, and the high neckline that Hepburn favoured. A two-tier veil, pinned to Hepburn’s scraped-back hair with a tiny bow, echoes the unusual proportions of the gown.-The Guardian website, Funny Face: a film in love with fashion

So we took the basic elements and made them C's own. In effect she would be designing the dress herself, with the Givenchy version for inspiration. She liked that! The overall look she loved. She was assured to go tea length instead of knee length (she was mainly concerned about tripping over long skirts). She wanted a subtle petticoat. The veil, maybe.

Now for construction details:

(Many thanks to my son for taking these photos.)

1 Wedding Dress Full
Wedding Dress front

The bodice fabric which she swooned over in the store definitely carries the 18th century Colonial Williamsburg theme (ring, lanterns, and honeymoon).

2 Wedding Dress Fabric Closeup
Wedding Dress Brocade Bodice

The daisy spangled netting totally imbues my daughter!

3 Wedding Dress Sequins Closeup
Wedding Dress Daisy Spangled Net Skirt

After the dress was sewn together I sewed a sample (bodice fabric to skirt fabric) which we took to the store. The sample allowed us to audition various trims. That turned out to be a great idea, because we auditioned quite a few lovely options. But only one seemed to fit the occasion. She settled on a pearl interwoven into netting.

4 Wedding Dress Waistline Closeup 1
Wedding Dress Pearl Trim

5 Wedding Dress Waistline Closeup 2
Wedding Dress Pearl Trim

I handpicked the side zipper.

6 Wedding Dress Zipper Closeup 1
Wedding Dress Handpicked Zipper

7 Wedding Dress Zipper Closeup 2
Wedding Dress Handpicked Zipper

After all that was sewn, we shopped for petticoat fabric and trim. She wanted this mini-ruffled lace to edge her petticoat. I forget how many yards I used. She wanted some poof but not too much. I made one layer. After trying that on with the dress, she decided on another layer. By the time I finished the second layer life became CRAZIER! The house went up for sale! We had to start packing! And finding new homes! She was wedding planning! Alas, there were no more fittings. Although the dress length was cut evenly, sewn evenly (I thought) and seemed to hang evenly, it wasn't even when she wore the dress. So I planned to adjust that after she settled on the final petticoat fullness. However she just told me not to worry about it. At her preference I sewed the petticoat into the inside of her dress and we called that done. I stored it into a clear garment bag to await the big day.

8 Wedding Dress petticoat and ruffles
Wedding Dress Petticoat with Lace

She wasn't certain of the veil. I told her I could make one and she could decide at the last minute whether and how to actually wear it. The main thing was she didn't like the veil as high on the head as Audrey Hepburn wore, or the bow front and center. I told her it could set further back, and she liked that. So from the bodice fabric I added a bow.

9 Wedding veil
Wedding Veil

10 Wedding Veil Closeup 2
Wedding Veil

11 Wedding Veil Closeup 1
Wedding Veil

Then life got CRAZIER! The first weekend in October the kids and I moved our stuff into each of our own storage units. Oct 10 we closed on the house. That night we stayed in a hotel. Oct 11 we drove an hour to our church for the wedding. My daughter gifted me the surprise of a Mom/Daughter night at a local historic Bed and Breakfast. And October 12 she was married!

A friend of hers did her hair and makeup. And yes, while she wore her lavender satin robe.

When I slipped the dress over her head and zipped her up, oh my! She had lost a lot of weight! The poor dear. So much going on. But she danced at her wedding! Stay tuned for the wedding photos, next! Again, courtesy of my son the stunning photographer!

One of the bridesmaids noted she did look like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face! So again, not a perfect rendition, but the overall effect was reminiscent of Hepburn's style, charming, and perfect for C on her special day!

Oh, and the Vogue 8874 became my Mother of the Bride dress which turns out to also have been Audrey Hepburn/Givenchy inspired!


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