Saturday, October 5, 2013

Making My Wedding Dress - The Inspiration

Picture source here


I'm going to be one of those people who makes their own wedding dress. The most important dress I'm likely to wear in my lifetime. And I'm making it.

I knew as soon as we got engaged that I wanted to sew my own dress but I had absolutely no clue where to start. I researched patterns online, I pinned like crazy to my Wedding Dress board on Pinterest and I went and tried on a whole bunch with my bridesmaids and my mum.

Doing all of this gave me a much clearer idea of what it was that I wanted but it didn't get me any closer to knowing how to do it. I hunted and hunted and hunted for the perfect pattern to bring together all the different elements in my dress and got a little bit overwhelmed by it all and just stopped looking. My brain, however, was obviously still mulling things over without me knowing it.

I had a wedding dress epiphany on the train some time ago. It may seem like such a simple idea but it suddenly occurred to me that making the perfect wedding dress wasn't about finding the perfect sewing pattern. It was about breaking my dress down into features that I really wanted to have and trying to frankenpattern that with some resources that would really, really demystify all of my fears of working on the most important garment of my life. And with that thought I was free.

Suddenly I could take any pattern at all and pick out features that I like and that I know will flatter me and combine those elements into my perfect sewing pattern. Not one made by a company but one made and altered and fit to my measurements and figure. I was now free to pick and choose and muslin the crap out of this thing.

So what am I attempting to make?

Good question.

At the moment I'm leaning heavily on the idea of a bodice something like this.

Picture source here.                                                                     Picture source here.

And a skirt something like this.

Picture source here
The bodice was the thing that was frightening me the most until I realised that I could just take Gertie's Bombshell Dress on Craftsy. Let me tell you now that this course is SO worth it. Couture sewing techniques, demystifying spiral steel boning, waist stays, zipper guards, you name it - it's got it. Gertie has a gift for explaining how all of these elements can be sewn easily step by step until you see this incredibly polished looking end result. I've only just finished watching this course (which is much longer and more detailed than I could ever have imagined) and now I'm so ready to jump right in and get this bodice thing worked out!

I have this idea that since I'll be making an SBA on the cups of the bodice it should be slightly easier to muslin. I'm hoping to just pinch out some fabric like Gertie did and not need too many muslins. I hope.

So now I'm a little terrified of the skirt. I really love the idea of a tea length fuller skirt but with light, floaty fabric so it doesn't feel heavy. As far as I can tell the skirt on the left is a whole lot of circle skirts laid on top of each other whereas the one on the right seems to have layers gathered at the waist. Whichever way I decide to go with the skirt my biggest fear in making this dress is attaching all that fabric to the bodice. Eek! Technically it would seem easier for circle skirts as there's no added bulk of all those gathers but I'm hoping to play around with all that in the muslin stage.

So if you happen to have made anything similar to this kind of skirt or have any words of wisdom for me please leave me a comment - I promise to take all advice onboard! I need it.

Finally this dress of mine needs to be appropriate for a wedding ceremony most likely in National Park and a reception in our bush backyard. With a bit of bushwalking to get to some nice photo spots. Maybe this will give you a better idea of why tea length is going to be SO much easier for me to move around in - also I love this length.

I'll leave you with a picture of our backyard when we decked it out for our engagement party. We have intentions of doing a LOT of work to it over the summer so it will look spectacular for our wedding but it will give you some idea of what the whole shebang might look like.



So it's now 1 year to the day that we get married and I'm so ready to get started! I'm off to print off my pattern and order my muslin supplies so I can get cracking on my dream dress.

Wish me luck!

40 comments:

  1. You are starting in the right direction with Gerties class for the bodice. I have no ideas about the skirt. Take your time and muslin like crazy and you will get the dress of your dreams.

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  2. Thanks, yeah Gertie's class is invaluable, I'm so glad it exists!

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  3. I recommend Susan Khalje's book Bridal Couture (available via her Website) as well as her Craftsy class The Couture Dress. Both will help you produce the most beautiful and highest quality dress for your big day!

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    1. Thanks for the tip I actually bought Susan's Craftsy class to complete after I do the bombshell so I'm glad it's worth it. I've also got to source that book because everyone's raving about it.
      Thanks for the advice!

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  4. man i wish i was sewing when we got married!!! i envy you, even moreso because your bodice skirt picks are beautiful :)

    gertie's class is the bomb. shell. and your backyard is gorgeous!

    so much envy, so early in the mornin...

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    1. Haha yes I've seen your gorgeous bombshell! I figured it was so well documented and so many people have loved the pattern that it would allay my fears of all that technical sewing and fitting - and it has!
      Can't wait to share this journey!

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  5. Oh! it would be great to do your own wedding dress, is a dress we all (well most of us) dream about since we are little, and if you don't find the dress of your dreams, what is better than doing it your self? the inspirations dresses are lovely! I'm sure you will do it perfect! just practice and practice with your muslims. I haven't seen Gertie's class but I'm thinking in buying it!

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    1. Yep, I'll be muslining the crap out of it. I've got a year so it can be my longest slow burn sewing ever. I'm ridiculously excited for the final dress.

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  6. Beautiful!! My sister is getting married on Oct 3rd, 2014!

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    1. Oh wow! Once we set our date I found out that there's 2 other couples that we know who got married that weekend. It must be wedding season!

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  8. For the skirt, what about making a yoke at the waist that has a 8" drop and is under the top skirt. You could then attach the other circle skirt layers to that yoke which would reduce bulk at the waist but still give you the fluffy layers at the hemline. Just a thought.

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    1. Ooh, that's a bit of clever engineering! I'll research that for sure! I may also just attempt a muslin with it and see if it reduces bulk.
      Thank you.

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  9. I think I've got a vintage retro pattern that might have a similar style skirt- I'll have a look. I think you might only need three layers with a full circle skirt, and you could make the chiffon layers detachable if necessary

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    1. I was actually wondering how many layers would be circle skirts and how much of that volume might be a petticoat? I guess I can only make 3, a petticoat and see how it all falls. If all else fails I'll keep making circle skirts.

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  10. Wow - I agree with Sharon, Gertie's course is a good starting place. I also don't have any ideas about the skirt, but if I find something I'll let you know.

    My only other advice is to make sure you buy wedges rather than heels to wear with your dress. I attended a backyard party many years ago and spent the whole time pulling my heels from the earth and this was even after they laid flooring everywhere! Good luck! I look forward to watching your progress!

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    1. Oh my god yes! I wore wedges to the engagement party in our backyard so if I go for heels they'll for sure be wedges. Otherwise maybe the prettiest flats that ever there were? My fiance is the same height as me so I wouldnt feel so bad with flats.

      So many decisions!

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  11. You can also make a gathered circle-skirt -- just cut the waist opening a bit larger and gather it to fit!

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    1. That's true. That would give a lot of volume. Thanks for the tip.

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  12. Oh Cool! I think I have every single one of those pictures pinned :) I'll be so curious to hear about your bombshell bodice once you get stuck into it. My only advice would be to muslin in fabrics that have a similar hand and drape to the ones you'll eventually want to sew the real thing with. In my experience... fabric selection is so critical to getting the outcome you want! I would think the left side skirt be from a drape-a-licious fabric like silk double georgette with some soft tulle under skirts, whilst the one on the right has a circle skirt underneath supporting by a light crinoline, overlaid with gathered chiffon. So much fun!

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    1. Haha maybe every wedding board is exactly the same??

      Thanks for the awesome info on the fabrics. Once I've made a muslin for fit I will for sure make one in very similar (but not as pricey) fabrics.

      Choosing the fabrics is going to be hard but once I've made a muslin for fit I'm hoping to have a clearer idea of just how I want it to sit and drape.

      I saw your tweet about already buying your fabric - exciting!!

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  13. I love the idea of a floaty, multi layered mid length skirt - so pretty and perfect for an outdoor wedding. Will you be making sleeves, those delicate lacy ones on your first bodice photo are very beautiful

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    1. I will actually be making some kind of sleeve/strap. I like the look of gathered chiffon that will be the width between the shoulder strap and the shoulder bone - if that makes sense?

      I do love the little cap sleeve on that first bodice but I think a slimmer sleeve/strap will look better on my wide shoulders.

      Something more to play with in the muslin stage!

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  14. You will have a fabulous wedding dress journey, all your blog followers will be hanging off every post! My only tip to add to the mix, make sure you have a sewing friend that can help you with the fittings. Trying to fit yourself is a bugger (even when you have a dressform because sadly our IRL bodies are just not quite the same...) and a sewing friend will understand the tweaks needed (and will try not to stab you with pins!)

    Have fun!

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    1. Thank you.
      That's a great tip. In my head I was locked in my sewing room figuring all this out because fiance isn't allowed to see it but you're right. I will need someone to help me fit this thing - I'm sure I'll be able to find some willing people amongst friends and family!

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  15. Ooh! This is going to be so cool! Gertie's course is really good and I'm sure you'll have the perfect bodice in no time! Are you going to add the floaty sleeves? They are very cute!

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  16. The floaty sleeves look amazing on her but not on me. I'm going to try a gathered chiffon sleeve/strap that will sit between where the strap is on her dress and the shoulder bone.
    I'm glad you liked Gertie's course - now I know why everyone raves about it.

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  17. I love your plans!! How exciting! Your backyard is gorgeous so it's all going to be fab... but in the meantime, can't wait for the journey :)

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    1. It is a bit exciting! I've since put my pattern pieces together and I'm ready to cut up my muslin fabric once it arrives in the post. Woo!

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  18. Can't wait to see how it turns out! Good luck!

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  19. Good luck with your ambitious project. Your backyard is beautiful!

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  20. All design of dresses is trendy and fashionable and pretty. I like the all pattern of dresses that you show. Thanks for sharing for this great post.

    vĂȘtements

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait to make it a reality!

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  21. I finally just got the chance to check out your blog! (This is Annika from Expect Maternity.) Very impressive! We have some very similar ideas about our wedding dresses. Mine is also tea length with a circle skirt and fitted bodice. For the skirt, I ended up doing a full circle skirt over a petticoat. I used my own pattern, but this tutorial is really good: http://sugardale.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-make-petticoat.html?m=1 I also wanted tulle over the top so I did a mix of layers of tulle cut into the same pattern as my circle skirt as well as rectangles cut to the correct length gathered around the waist. The effect is full, fluffy and so fun! For the bodice, I built a corset and then draped the self fabric over it. I'm doing a lot of crystal applique on the top, so I needed heavy construction to support the weight of the crystals, the full skirt and the "girls" so to speak. I'm not nearly done -- so much hand work to do, but the major construction is done! Good luck with everything!!


    www.annikadotbenitz.com

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    1. Thanks for dropping by! Your dress sounds amazing. I can't wait to see pictures so I can peer at it and take on your tips! I may be picking your brain before the year is out.

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  22. Hi
    These are amazing. Thanks for sharing the details. I noticed some close up shots on your side bar of the lace effect, they just aren't able to do these kinds of things today. Just looking at the second gown from a distance

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