Wedding guest outfit

My friend is getting married next week, and true to form, I have left sewing my outfit to the last minute. How else does one manifest self love than by piling pressure on ones self?

The bride is a Nigerian and, in keeping with wedding trends within the Nigerian community, her family and close friends have to wear the Aso ebi. I found this definition from the Urban Dictionary, and thought I should share it as I could not have explained the concept of Aso ebi better.
    aso ebi

(Pronounced ASHO EYBEE) 
Nigerian outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to a party, wedding, or funeral as a uniform. Wearing a certain aso ebi identifies the group of wearers. For instance, at a wedding, all the bride’s friends might wear blue and gold, the bride’s family might wear white and gold, and the groom’s friends might wear black and pink, and so on. Usually at weddings, the various fabrics for the aso ebi are decided by the bride, and are then announced to all the guests months in advance so they can prepare their outfits. Guests are usually expected to buy the aso ebi from the bride, but close friends and family members and certain prominent individuals may be presented with the aso ebi as a gift. Aso ebi for parties and funerals are generally simple, but aso ebi for weddings may involve many complex changes with entirely different aso ebi for different days of the wedding, and for the reception.

The Aso ebi colours assigned to friends in this case, are yellow and red. Yellow guipure lace, yellow silk fabric and a red gele (head tie).

Have you ever been to a Nigerian wedding? If yes, it’s possible you might have already seen the Aso ebi in action. Though people start with the same piece of fabric, the finished items are anything but identical. No one wants to be outdone, so women come prepared. Dressed to the nines, fish tail skirts and all. A simple google search should be enough to show you how serious women take the Aso ebi.
Now to the matter of what I will make out of my lace. I spent the last 2 weeks trying to find inspiration, and thankfully, Lizzy pointed me to a lovely dress, aptly called the Majestic Dress, which I absolutely fell in love with. She posted a picture on instagram of her modelling the dress, and I was sold. Hopefully I will look half as stunning as she looked when I am done with mine.
I have never sewn with guipure lace before, so any piece of advice would be much appreciated. I scoured the internet for tips, and came across Carolyn’s posts about sewing with guipure lace. I also read a 2006 Threads article by Susan Khalje on sewing different types of lace, which is all well and good, but I still am not sure how to proceed, and I still do not understand the descriptions on how to do the zip area. Dense much?
Copying Carolyn, I intend to work with four layers of fabric. The lace, silk organza, stretch crepe, and silk habotai as lining. 
I did not have the lace with me when I bought the silk organza so I was not certain of the colour to go for. There was a deeper shade of yellow that matched the lace, but I thought a paler yellow would be better. How wrong I was. It kind of ruins the look for me, so I either have to go back to Goldhawk road for the correct shade of yellow, or, sew the lace directly to the main backing fabric, or, horror of horrors, applique the lace to the finished dress, one rose at a time. What do you think?
For the pattern, I am still trying to decide between Vogue 82880, view A, with cap sleeves……
……and New Look 6123, view C but with the sleeves of view A. This pattern actually represents my best chance to recreate the Majestic dress, but I really love the sexy neckline of the Vogue 8280. Which would you go for? 
I have 24 hours to decide before I cut into my muslin later today, so I am going to bed now, to hopefully dream up a choice.



  1. July 18, 2014 / 6:22 am

    When in doubt, always go darker. This goes for choosing a thread color, a lining color, embellishments, etc, to match your fashion fabric. Great tip given to me by a valuable lady from the fabric shop years ago.
    Also, if you've sewn V8280 before, go for it. If not, based on the reviews I came upon over the years, save yourself some trouble with fussy instructions and go for New Look.

  2. July 18, 2014 / 6:51 am

    The lace is beautiful! I'd go with the New Look. Keep the pattern as simple as possible. Can't wait to see this.

  3. July 18, 2014 / 8:01 am

    New look. The lace doesn't need the fussiness of the vogue pattern.

  4. July 18, 2014 / 8:21 am

    Ah. Wish I had known that before. I think I will go back for the darker silk organza and use this current one for something else.

  5. July 18, 2014 / 8:22 am

    So true. I will definitely go with the newlook. I only have a week to sew it so fingers crossed you will be seeing soon… nervous laugh….

  6. July 18, 2014 / 8:24 am

    Thanks Dee. Now I don't even know what I was thinking by contemplating the vogue. I read through the instructions again and they are still as confusing as when I first made the dress.

  7. July 18, 2014 / 9:13 am

    I think the Vogue pattern unless the lace is very drapey. However you decide, I am very excited to see the finished outfit. I googled aso ebi and the ladies are so colorful and beautiful! I especially like the headresses.

  8. July 18, 2014 / 10:59 am

    I've never heard about ask ebi before but what a great tradition! I love the idea… nigerian wedding must very beautiful. I found your yellow lace very pretty and I'm sure you're going to be stunning in either pattern. Anyway, I would go for the New Look with the sleeves of view A, as you suggested. I think it will be the prettiest option for a lace dress. Good luck for your project… Can;t wait to see it!

  9. July 18, 2014 / 12:37 pm

    I think the lace has to do the talking, so let the pattern remain simple. This is going to be fabulous and I look forward to seeing it completed. Good luck!

  10. July 18, 2014 / 1:28 pm

    Can't wait to see your finished dress! Love the lace, beautiful colour.

  11. July 18, 2014 / 2:54 pm

    This dress is going to be amazing. You know, maybe look up tricks on sewing with sweater knits? Lace and sweater knits are similar enough in properties that they might have related techniques for zippers. You could also bind the zipper edge with a color matched bias tape – maybe your organza? maybe a cotton? You know the other people I would look into for info on sewing such fabrics are
    1. Sandra Betzina (she's lots of tips)
    2. the woman, Sarah?, who blogs under Goodbye Valentino (works with high end fabrics & designs, plus makes similar style dresses to what you've sewn.)
    3. Kenneth King – maybe his Threads blog… ?

    Susan Khalje is a great source. I wonder if you looked up people who took her cocktail dress class… "cocktail dress, susan khalje, blog" or throw in review to that set of search terms.

    Great luck to you. I'm eager to see your results. I love the yellow lace and would love to attend a Nigerian wedding. I picked up some hand-dyed Ugandan fabrics that I need to sew with. And I drool over many other African fabrics, especially batiks.

  12. July 18, 2014 / 4:56 pm

    Ahh Aso ebi things. I am Nigerian and also have some lovely guipure lace for a wedding in a few weeks. I KNOW I will be sewing late because I have a bunch of dresses to make so I too will be going for a classic pencil silhouette.

    I love all the fabric you have selected – definitely looking forward to the result

  13. July 18, 2014 / 8:57 pm

    Gah!! LOVE that fabric! I'd go for new look – the lace is so elegant I think the simpler the style the better.

  14. July 18, 2014 / 9:44 pm

    Oh I'm so excited to see you make this! I'd definitely choose New Look. My dress is very simple.
    If the lace is underlined surely you can set the zip in by hand picking it?

  15. July 19, 2014 / 2:25 am

    I cant wait to see the final project

  16. July 19, 2014 / 6:42 am

    This is going to be knock out! You can do it, Dibs!

  17. July 19, 2014 / 9:06 am

    What a cool tradition – can't wait to see what your dress looks like!

  18. July 19, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Wow- they are both lovely. I will just sit back and enjoy this ride.

  19. July 19, 2014 / 12:43 pm

    The lace is stunning and what a wonderful idea to come in matching colours. Sounds festive and beautiful for photos.
    Good luck with the sewing!

  20. July 19, 2014 / 6:01 pm

    Wow the photos from this wedding are going to be awesome. I'd go for the newlook pattern.

  21. July 19, 2014 / 7:34 pm

    Oh boy am I excited for this 🙂 the lace looks fab in yellow, I so can't wait to see your dress!

  22. July 20, 2014 / 9:02 am

    I have never heard of Aso Ebi dresses, I clicked on the google search, and these dresses are beautiful! Nigerian wedding must be amazing. I love your fabrics, good luck with your dress, and I shall look forward to seeing it. Have a great day at the wedding.

  23. July 21, 2014 / 10:16 am

    The colour is beautiful and the roses on the lace are so individually well-defined. Very tempting to do a cutout applique job. Can't wait to see what you decided on.

  24. July 22, 2014 / 2:28 pm

    You got this! It's going to be amazing! I'm really, really excited to see your dress!!!!! Is it worth dyeing the organza to match? That's probably a lot of extra work if the closer match on Goldhawk Rd. is a good price, but I guess it's an option in a pinch! I've never been to a Nigerian wedding, but now I wish I would get invited to one just to view all the lovely outfits!

  25. July 22, 2014 / 3:56 pm

    Good luck Dibs, you'll make a fantastic dress, I'm sure! The New Look one is a good choice – you don't need the extra work and headache when you're having to sew to a deadline! Cannot wait to see the finished article!

  26. Anonymous
    August 4, 2014 / 9:16 pm

    love the dress on instagram. esp the shoulder details

  27. August 5, 2014 / 8:35 pm

    The New Look pattern – for it's simplicity and 7 million existing reviews.

    can't wait to see it!

  28. October 30, 2014 / 9:36 pm

    I have a weakness for yellow and lace, this combo is heaven!

    Aso-ebi makes the wedding day really colorful and I spend half the time looking round the reception hall for design ideas for my next sewing project. Nigerian women love their fashion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *