Invited to a Better Party
So, as mentioned, I made an after-party skirt for my wedding! I wore a RTW spring racing dress (so knee length and off the shoulder) from Hugo Boss for the ceremony, which I admittedly bought when Neil and I were first engaged. Not kidding, that was 4 or 5 years before we were actually married. I was very scared to try the dress on when we started actual wedding planning. I had learned so much about fit, I was worried about what past-Nyssa had done. Other than eat a few more muffins and pizzas than I should have, it was an amazing fit and nothing that some trips to the gym in the months leading up to the wedding couldn’t fix. Nice one! It was perfect on the day and Neil and I looked like a bloody catalogue because he bought his suit from the same store.
My Mum calls my after-party skirt a “going-away” skirt, and it’s apparently a fairly normal tradition where I’m from in Australia. I just wanted something different for the evening portion of our day — we actually went dancing at Brooklyn Bowl and a white dress wasn’t quite the look I was going for. (I love telling people that ?uestlove DJ’d my wedding reception despite the number of groans I get in response). I actually kind-of planned this skirt and knew exactly what I wanted when I saw this skirt by Martin Grant.
I made my version out of a DKNY taffeta purchased from The Fabric Store in Fitzroy (much thanks to the A-Team, Michelle and David, for the gift voucher). It’s very simple — I used a curved waistband and then just gathered a rectangle of fabric, finishing the whole thing off with a handstitched hem and invisible zip. I also included pockets, because they were definitely quite hidden within all that fabric. I attempted to attach a lining, but didn’t have anything in the correct weight, so I omitted it in the end. I stood on the kitchen table at my mum and dad’s house where my Mum helped me get the hem just right.
I learned a lot with this simple garment and it really helped me maintain some sewing mojo going forward, especially during the move when I got rid of a lot of handmade clothes and my stash. Ditching the lining was a great move, as it ended up being 30-something degrees on our wedding day and I did not need that much fabric in my life in that kind of heat. I always have my high-school sewing teacher telling me to line all the things in my head, and I’m trying to shake her out of there because how can I trust someone who didn’t teach us to press seams (no kidding, I seriously learned this much later on)? Another thing I learned to do was relax a little bit. I’ve been known to overfit garments and get hung up on making them perfect, even though the imperfections bothering me are ones I tolerate in RTW. A simple project, with no fitting challenges, was what I needed to remind me of what I like about sewing. And you know what, there are imperfections in the skirt — the tension on my machine kicked up a fuss and sometimes I wonder about those gathers and my pre-washing methods, but then I put this skirt on and feel like a queen. And nobody has ever said, hey, why are the stitches so tiny in that part of the seam? (You know why they don’t say that? They can’t see them! Nobody can!)
I sought a bit of help for this skirt too, which I don’t normally do. Alongside my Mum’s hemming, I asked my friend Nico for advice on pleats vs. gathers and he kindly took the time to explain what impact each would have on the garment. He also helped explain what kind of fabric I would need to get that drama happening. As a result of his expertise, I have a skirt that really comes close to resembling the original image.
So on the night I wore it with a white shirt from Uniqlo and sparkly pink ballet flats (which I am wearing in the pictures!), but these days, I team it with band t-shirts and just go to the pub. I mean, I didn’t put all this work in to not wear it!