Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making My Wedding Dress: The Wedding Photos

All photos in this post by Mara Page

Nine weeks ago I walked down the aisle on the best day of my life wearing a dress I made myself. It was nothing short of a fairytale and I'm so excited to share the photos with you!

If you followed along while I was making my wedding dress you would have seen the inspirationthe many muslins to get the bodice right, the many muslins to get the skirt right and then me freaking out over the fabric and embellishment for the dress. There were seriously so many facets to making this dress.

The story is I bought this beautiful champagne coloured silk and two different shades of tulle to make the entire dress. I carefully constructed the entire bodice using some couture sewing tips I had picked up from Gertie's bombshell class and from reading through Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture book. Once that was put together I carefully constructed the skirt using the silk and the two layers of tulle. It wasn't until I sewed the entire thing together at the waistline (which believe me, took hours) that I realised I didn't like the bodice. While the fabric was beautiful it was just so simple and plain looking. The fit needed a bit more work and the silk was looking a bit too man-handled. It was pretty but in a very plain and simple way and I wasn't excited to wear it.

So I changed my mind.

Let's be clear that this all happened 5 weeks out from the wedding as I was meant to be finishing the dress, not starting again. As luck would have it I had taken a trip to Tessuti a few weeks prior looking for some special fabric to make myself a little bolero to go with the dress. I talked myself into buying this matte champagne sequin fabric and I'm SO glad. So while I was freaking out over having to start the bodice all over again I was also quietly excited that maybe I could make it out of this fabric and wear sequins on my wedding day.

And wear sequins I did.

There was one weekend in there where I attempted to drape the sequinned fabric and do some kid of tulle overlay but that didn't really work out for me and I could see that as I was working so I scrapped it and started again.

The blur that was the last 4 weekends before the wedding involved me cutting out my pattern pieces in some kind of stable, stretch cotton I used as underlining to get the fit with the stretch right. Then I used my pattern pieces to cut the sequinned fabric out and assemble it altogether. I think I spent somewhere between 30 & 40 hours cutting sequins out of the seam allowances of all 8 bodice pieces before sewing them together. Luckily I was able to take parts of the discarded bodice I had already created and put them into the new one, like the bust cups and padding. I ended up sewing the underlining completely together and the sequinned fabric completely together and laying them over the top of one another before attaching the actual lining which had the boning in it. The verdict on the sequins is that they were stretchier than my underlining and so there wasn't enough negative ease factored in. Then there was the moment where I tried the finished dress on 6 days out from the wedding and the zip broke. This meant I had to go back, unpick the zip, and install a new one but leaving more ease in the bodice so it wouldn't pull on the zip so much. All of the above factors meant that the bodice was not tight enough and so it crinkled and folded on the day. I'd like to say here that at this point in my life I was working with what I had. I LOVED the silhouette and I LOVED the fabrics I had chosen. I wasn't about to let a zip break on my wedding day and ruin this entire year long process. It was about salvaging what I had created and wearing that damn dress on my damn wedding day.

So all that aside I have to say I was ridiculously excited to wear a handmade dress on the day. I don't care about the wrinkles, I don't care if the skirt didn't drape 100% the way it was meant to. I made that thing with my own hands and my imagination and I was so proud I could have burst.

The following video is a stop motion animation of the making of my wedding dress which shows you every step of the construction.



Now for some photos!

We got married in the bush reserve directly behind our house. You can probably just see the peaks of the marquee in the left hand corner in our backyard. We had a our reception in our backyard which we spent more than a year landscaping. It all looked so pretty on the day!


















So that's the story of my wedding dress. I never thought I'd be able to say that I'd made it but I can.

It's funny that I had a sewing machine for 4 years before I even attempted using it because I was so afraid. My fear was so overwhelming that even as I started sewing and started this blog I named my blog after my fear. I was literally Scared Stitchless. I've come a long way in 4 years and while my sewing is not perfect I'm really proud of what I've achieved. Also I've learnt something new about myself in this process.

I'm not afraid anymore.

50 comments:

  1. Awesome photos.... but that last one is GOLD! Get down :D

    Such an amazing achievement. I don't know if I'd have the confidence to tackle something of this scale. And I love that you're so happy with it even if it wasn't *exactly* as you envisaged. Yay for celebrating what we can do & not moping about what we can't!

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  2. Oh Jodie.. What a gorgeous story.. Might even have a wee tear in my eyes..you looked beautiful and oh so happy..

    Thanks for sharing. No you are not afraid ANYMORE..

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  3. Yeah that last photo should probably come with a disclaimer - I'm a pretty shit hot dancer ;)
    I think it's nice to keep these things in perspective. I set out to make a beautiful dress and I made a beautiful dress to the best of my skills and that's all I can ask for. I'm sure there will be things I make in the future that will be better than my wedding dress and that's ok because I'm on a journey. Pretty damn happy with it though!

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  4. You have amazing sewing skills, party planning skills, video skills. I'm in awe of what you've achieved.

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  5. It was a fairytale and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
    Losing all that fear this year has probably got something to do with my inability to stop sewing and shoemaking at the moment. Nothing will get in my way! :)

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  6. Thanks Maria. I'm a little in awe of myself, which is a nice point to be at!

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  7. The fit looks pretty amazing from here! Congratulations!

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  8. Oh I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for more! Totally worth all the pain in the end, because it's such a gorgeous dress on you!! I LOVE the sequins, and am so glad you found that fabric and was able to work it in!! The dress I originally was going to make was sequinned in an almost identical colour, but I couldn't find the fabric at the time. So does this mean you need to change your blog name now? hehe. All the very best to you both!! xx

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  9. I so loved this post. I can't imagine how happy & proud you must have felt. I love weddings that are just brimful with simple love & joy, they really are the best days of our lives.
    What a beautiful dress, wedding & reception. What I love the most is the story of love & empowerment that goes with it.
    Much joy & happiness to you both. xox

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  10. Yay! Such a wonderful story and I am SO proud of you for not letting your dressmaking struggles getting you down. It's so easy to get freaked out by things that seem so huge leading up to the wedding that are trivial in retrospect. You have a stunning dress and it looks like a lovely and happy wedding. And the moral of your story is the best! "I'm not afraid anymore." Yay!!

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  11. It's never 'just' a dress :-)

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  12. Oh the things you can make mountains out of molehills about when planning a wedding! It really was a beautiful and loved up day. The struggles pale in comparison to the elation of the day. Wouldn't change a thing.

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  13. What a wonderful post Jodie! A heartfelt congratulations to you both. I think you look beautiful! Now, where did you find (or did you make?) those gorgeous bridesmaids dresses?

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  14. Thank you!
    No way, no how. I didn't make my bridesmaid dresses.
    I did, however, fall in love with this picture on the internet.
    I sent it to a dressmaker and had them all made.
    None of them fit so all of them required alterations which is a whole other story.
    So I can't really be of more help there.

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  15. Simply gorgeous. What a lovely wedding, that reflects who you both are for each other and your friends and family. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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  16. Your dress looks fantastic, way to go! And congrats on your marriage. Looks like it was a fantastic day. :)

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  17. Beautiful dress and a beautiful wedding! It looks like you had lots of fun, and you should definitely be proud of what you've achieved!

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  18. You're dress is amazing! You look absolutely beautiful! It looks like you had an amazing day! I can't believe you changed your bodice 6 weeks out! The dress looks beautiful, and I love the sequins. It makes the dress! I loved reading your process! I'm glad that you're not scared anymore! :)

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  19. Simply. Amazing. What a journey you had with your frock but the end result was totally worth it. You looked stunning and your day looked amazing. Congrats again and here is to exciting new adventures! (side note: your landscaping is inspired!)

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  20. This is incredible and that video is literally the best thing I have seen all year. Just awesome.

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  21. Thank you, I twas everything we wanted and more. A magical day.

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  22. This is wonderful. - Thank you for sharing your journey, you look radiant, and such a huge achievement - the day looks perfect, love the scenery & all of the visuals - Congratulations, on all aspects ;)

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  23. Thanks! I still loved that dress and it was an incredible day.

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  24. It was a lot of fun and I've loved looking over the photos and sharing it with everyone.

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  25. Ha! Neither can I really, it was a bit stressful right at the end there. I agree the dress wouldn't have been the same without the sequins so in a way I'm glad it didn't work out the first time.

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  26. Thank you. It was quite an effort doing all the wedding planning, backyard landscaping and wedding dress making in a year but it all paid off. We had a blast!

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  27. That video was so much fun to make. It was pretty awesome to watch the whole thing back and see what I'd created from a pile of fabric. Fun times!

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  28. Thank you. The day was such a fairytale and a happy blur. I'm so glad everything came together in the end. Best day ever.

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  29. What an absolutely gorgeous dress! Biggest congratulations for not just an amazing dress but your wedding too! Hard to believe you've only been sewing for 4yrs?! I've only been at it for about 1 1/2yrs now and still cringe at some of my sewing. But I'm at the point where I don't care and wear it with pride...cause I made it myself!

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  30. What an awesome looking wedding! Your dress is beautiful. You did a phenomenal job.

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  31. Wow! This is a DAMN good dress! You should be so proud of yourself and definitely not scared to conquer any other sewing project on the horizon. A wedding dress is the epitome of sewing!

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  32. Divine wedding. Beautiful dress - and you look so wonderfully happy. Congrats on the project and on your nuptials.

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  33. You look beautiful. That's a true labour of love! I can't believe you started again so close to the wedding you crazy lady, but so glad it worked out well in the end!

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  34. So you should be wearing handmade things with pride! I also cringe at some of my sewing still but if I'm happy to wear it that's all the matters. The dress was still pretty and I loved wearing it.

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  35. Thank you! It was nice and low key which suited us both fine. We were blessed with beautiful sunshine. We couldn't have asked for more. Such a great day.

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  36. Thanks Maddie! It really was a bit of a dream. So it was a little wrinkly, who cares! I swathed myself in sequins, silk and tulle and twirled my heart out on the dance floor!

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  37. We were wonderfully happy. It was such a beautiful day. Thank you!

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  38. Crazy lady indeed! I can't quite believe I started again so close to the wedding either! Luckily it worked out in the end. I didn't really have a back up plan!

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  39. Such a gorgeous and spacial dress! I am sure you will remember this experience forever! You are so patient to start it over! It it were me, I would burst into tears, rip the dress off and buy or sew something from scratch. Congratulations to the newly weds! :)

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  40. That's awesome!! Congratulations on the wedding and overcoming your fear! Your backyard looks amazing as well as the dress? Thanks for sharing!

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  41. This is an amazing dress. If I get married one day I'll also make mine, you've inspired me!

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  42. Errrmegheeeerd 5 weeks before!? You're amazeballs. And so was your dress

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  43. What an achievement Jodie! Some one else would have given up half way through. The end result is absolutely gorgeous, well done. Congratulations to your wedding and an absolutely wonderful day

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  44. Gorgeous, good work
    :)

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  45. Haha! In retrospect I probably should have sewn something new from scratch but I wasn't going to let that dress win. I'm glad I stuck it out. It was worth it!

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  46. Thank you, it was all so beautiful on the day. Magical.

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  47. Yes, you should! Practise makes perfect and you can have the exact dress of your dreams!

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  48. Haha! Thanks lady! Times got crazy there but I emerged on the other side triumphant! That dress was NOT going to beat me.

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  49. Thank you. It was still an incredible experience even if it was stressful beyond belief!

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