Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making My Wedding Dress - Fabric and Embellishment

You'd think that the biggest decision when making a wedding dress is choosing the right silhouette, but it's not.  This bit was really easy for me because I tried a lot of dresses on and figured out what was flattering to my shape and size. My idea all along has been to create a silhouette just like the muslin I showed you.

However along with the silhouette comes this dilemma of how to make this the most special dress you're ever likely to wear. You want it to be dreamy without being over the top but how do you do that when the possibilities for fabric combinations and embellishment are literally limitless?

This has been my biggest struggle. You may think I'm mad for trying 3 different patterns for my bodice. You also might think I'm mad for drafting 3 different skirt variations for the bottom of the dress. But this part of the process has been easy. I've had a vision of what shape I've wanted all along but the actual look of the dress? No idea. Wait, no that's not right. Too many ideas. Way too many ideas.

I've let it be known before that I am addicted to Pinterest. I shamelessly visit at least every day. I started a secret board to collate images of wedding dresses and blog posts about people who had made wedding dresses before. But then I had to go and make another board to gather inspiration that would really hone in on details of beading, sequins, appliqu├ęs and so on. This has really helped me to think about the little details rather than just the whole dress at once. Because let's face it, a wedding dress is a really big frickin decision.

Confession time. I don't like lace. I don't like flowers. And I don't especially like white dresses. Dilemma much?

So the real reason that I haven't bought my fabric yet is because I just can't envision what it is that I want. I've found this really great heavy silk in a lush champagne colour which is going to be the body of the dress. I'm going back to buy this really soon but what to have with it? I know I want layers of tulle over the skirt and maybe a layer of tulle over the bodice with some kind of embellishment but what? And how much is enough? Or too much? 

So I've spent some time staring at the pictures in my Pinterest boards trying to narrow down just exactly what it is that I want. These two pictures are the closest. Just chop the right one off at the knee and you'll get the idea.

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Embellished from top to bottom or just the bodice? Embellish literally from the neckline of the dress or leaving just that small bit of fabric at the sweetheart neckline to do the shape justice? This one below is also appealing to me even though the skirt shape is different. The design is delightfully asymmetric.

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And then to add to all the decisions I have to allow for the fact that heavily embellished tulle on the skirt is going to affect the drape and how heavy it makes the tulle look in the final design. I'm also aware the if I want a heavily embellished beaded dress I have to start handsewing like yesterday. So there's that.

Because I'm not big on beading and bling I've also been trying to imagine what my dress would look like if I played with some draping, fabric manipulation, geometric shapes or really anything fancy looking that would add to the dress without making me feel like I'm trying to look like a princess. So although the below pictures don't have much to do with wedding dresses they're my kind of beauty. And if I choose not to have beading and do some fabric manipulation or something else instead that would be ok because it would be more me than finding whatever version of beading is tolerable for me.

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Ok so this set is a little bit wedding related.

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I know that most of these are haute couture designs and I'm not going to be creating anything like them but they give me inspiration and allow me to dream big.

So do you understand what I mean when I say I want a pretty, feminine and romantic dress without it going too princess? Is that possible on a wedding dress?

I'm going to mull over this some more in the coming weeks and torture myself by looking at every fabric on the internet. If you have an ideas/suggestions/opinions let me know!

20 comments:

  1. I am sure you will be able to pull off something beautiful that isn't ridiculous. Best of luck, and can't wait to see what you come up with. Champagne colour sounds lovely. I agree with you white is just too stark

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    1. Yeah champagne makes my skin tone look normal rather than pasty - hooray!
      I'm sure I'll come up with something I'm just a little stuck right now.
      Thanks for cheering me on!

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  2. Can totally relate. If I was you, I would keep it simple. Don't wear something that is not you just because it is your wedding dress.. I do love the first dress on your post, to me this is just lovely.

    Me? I love a few layers of tulle - at least have a bit of fun. Hope you find what you are dreaming of...

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    1. Yeah that first picture is winning. It's going to need a good petticoat but that's cool, my dress gets to have more tulle!
      You're right when in doubt go simple. Thanks for the advice!

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  3. You have chosen such lovely styles! I really like the more architectural styles of embellishment they are gorgeous.
    The option of a fully beaded/sequined dress is there, you just might need your own army of minions to help. I'm more than willing to come help hand sew if you need it?

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    1. Aww thanks lovely! If I get into panic stations later on I'll so take you up on that offer!
      Architectural - that's the word I was searching for!
      I might spend some time playing with tulle some more - draping, creating a design on it, anything that inspires - can't hurt.

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  4. Gah, so many options. I love your idea of playing with the tulle to make something architectural.

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    1. I know right? Yeah I think if I play with the textile I'll see how it can be manipulated and go from there?

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  5. Have you thought about using silk organza instead of tulle? It is a much more lux fabric, glows because it is silk and you can have a ball playing with it - flat ruches or pleats look delicious in it. I also think keeping it simple is a good way to go - you have lovely construction lines on your bodice, have you thought of piping them to accentuate them? That in itself makes the bodice interesting.
    However, about lace - I know you said you don't care for it but it is in the first few images. Instead of slapping it on as a shell, they have cut the motifs out and appliqued them on in trails. It's a delicious look - you don't need to go mad with beads and sparkles if you use a nice one to begin with. The great thing about this technique is that even 0.2m of an expensive lace can be enough - I did three dresses once with just over half a metre. You just have to look for laces with the right kind of shapes in them - leafy and spiky is better than big fat round flowers, and corded laces or chantillys, things mounted on tulle, are easiest/best to cut out. Hope that helps!

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    1. I really liked the look of the silk organzas I saw when looking for bridal fabrics. They'd have the same kind of romance with a little more structure - I'll look into that - thanks for the tip!
      I agree with you if I'm going to have a lot of embellishment it has to be from a panel of lace - I guess I just have to find one that suits me. Again, great tips thank you!

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  6. Wow, you have some wonderful ideas and agree that simple with the right amount of detail will be stunning, but getting there is going to keep you busy. Champagne colour sounds gorgeous, much better than stark white!

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    1. Yeah the champagne colour makes for a much nicer looking skin tone. And you're right finding the balance between detail and simplicity will be the winner.

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  7. So. Much. Inspiration!
    Such incredible ideas and all of a sudden you're stuck down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and a few hours gone - I know the feeling!
    I find it incredible that you've got this far and not yet bought everything you need... probably because for me the fabric came first. Weirdly, now I'm just a few hours away from starting to play with my lace I'm wondering if it's even needed - I love the dress as it is!
    I would say that seeing as you've made it this far without fabric... maybe just buy the base fabric so you can take your dress in which you can then match and place lace/beading directly onto it so you can tell what takes your fancy. If you're working with a champagne silk (drool) I doubt you'll have an issue finding something suitable because of the huge wedding fabric variety out there. But you know you don't have to pay any attention to me - do it your way!
    Looking forward to the next installment!

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    1. Yeah I think I'm overthinking the whole thing. I think you're right, I need to play with the champagne silk and the tulle and let it speak to me. I can look at inspiration all I like but I need to create something simple with features that are cohesive otherwise it will become a schizophrenic mess.
      It's so interesting to hear that we've come to our dresses from completely different angles!
      2 weeks out from your wedding! Aah! That's great that you've got the bridesmaids dresses made - I'm not adventurous enough to make mine too! I know whetever decision you make with the lace/not lace it will be stunning. Envision your dress in each backdrop on your wedding day and trust your instincts. I have everything crossed for you!

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  8. So much to think about! It must be great fun. For what it's worth I love the idea of the tulle skirt with the embellished top...to me it has a lovely ballerina vibe (that's a GOOD thing)!

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    1. It's really fun and a bit confusing all at once. I do love the ballerina vibe so I'm with you there!

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  9. I think I said it to you at lunch the other week - I'm so glad I got married before Pinterest existed because I would be drowning in too much inspiration and choices as well! You've picked out so many pretty options, good luck narrowing them down

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    1. Yeah it's been the greatest thing and the worst thing in this process.
      I guess I'm lucky to have lots of time to think about it and narrow my options down to a balance between what fabrics I can find, what I want it to look like and what I want to achieve.
      It's all part of the fun!

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  10. The very first one is so gorgeous. I knew the style and bling ratio I wanted since I got engaged and had my dress made haha so can't relate with the choices etc but I love all the styles you have narrowed it down to:)

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