When my beautiful friend called to let me know that she was engaged and planning a destination wedding in Hawai’i, I went down the rabbit hole of finding the perfect wedding guest outfit. My bride is one of my closest friends who radiates joy, happiness, and kindness. I wanted to reflect the vivaciousness in my own apparel.
The wedding was planned to be a small wedding at a scenic botanical bay on Kauai. It was bound to be a hot one in the humid Hawai’ian sun, so I wanted to make something floral, light, Hawai’ian influence, and most importantly happy.
It didn’t take long for me to set my hear on making the Charm Patterns Lamour dress. The sarong skirt felt like an appropriate of Hawai’i without it feeling like a costume or disrespectful to the heritage. I also hadn’t made a fitted, strapless garment since I made my high school prom dress. My skills have come a long way since then!
Within the pattern Gertie makes a strong emphasis on the importance of appropriate undergarments to make the shape of the fit. This is especially true for vintage silhouettes. I picked up Rago shapewear, but thought that the structured boning would take care of the bra situation because I hate strapless bras. I learned I was wrong.
For fabric, I decided to splurge on a stunning Liberty cotton lawn with the colorway Ciara Orange. The color palette is pretty far outside my comfort zone (I don’t wear pink much), but it felt very Hawai’i! It had a great overall impact and the bride adored it. I picked up a teal Kona broadcloth for the lining to minimize expenses. I also went for the spiral steel boning, a dramatic upgrade from the plastic boning used in my prom dress!
Of course, I made a muslin to check the fit and construction, as the Liberty was expensive. I initially had issues with the fit of the bust, and was looking at pinching out up to an inch at the apex. This was entirely my own fault. I didn’t heed the advice of Gertie. A quick trip to the local lingerie boutique secured me a surprisingly nicely fitting and comfortable strapless bra and boom! The bodice and bust fit nearly perfectly now that the ladies were properly supported.
I ended up pinching out 1/4 inch from the top of each center bust seam to reduce gaping. I made no other alterations, and it fit like a glove.
Making this dress was honestly such a joy. The instructions and drafting are impeccable, the fabric was a delight, and spiral steel boning was so much fun. I’m going to need to find more excuses to use spiral steel in the future.
The bodice came together easily. I added the bodice sash to mine because the swoop lined up beautifully with the sarong. The spiral steel boning added beautiful support without sacrificing comfort and movement. I was able to ride the golf cart to the site of the wedding without any issue or concern.
The skirt had some very interesting construction. It uses a skirt facing instead of a full lining, which helped reduce the bulk and made the garment feel very lightweight overall. I ended up cutting out my skirt facing pieces a second time to use a lightweight fusible interfacing. The mediumweight interfacing I had initially used added too much bulk to the sarong gather and made it stick out like a napkin. Lightweight interfacing though? The perfect balance.
The whole thing is finished off with a traditional lapped zipper. I took it for a test run to the Des Moines Sewing Collective 2022 Frocktails, and can confirm it was a knockout. For Hawai’i, being made entirely of cotton, it packed well into my tight suitcase and freshened up easily with a quick hotel steam for the wedding.
I am so pleased with this make. It was a delight to make, a delight to wear, and a delight to see my friend get married to her wonderful partner.