Tag Archives: wedding dress

Dress Reveal

As part of our photography package, we got an engagement photo session. We weren’t really interested in engagement photos. Our photographer was kind enough to switch it out for a wedding dress session. Scheduling this was the motivation I needed to complete the dress! Enjoy!

I even was organised enough to schedule my practice hair day before going to the shoot. I was so proud of myself!

She wouldn’t let me wear my sunglasses!

I was really glad I wasn’t wearing a larger or heavier dress. It was hot and humid. Because July in Florida is like that.

Then I decided to run away, or something.

In case you want to try this dress on your own, here is where I found everything.

I’ll be showing off more of Candi’s photos with my other wedding posts. If you are in need of a photographer in the Winter Haven area, I highly recommend Candi. She is easy-going and professional. She was great fun to work with. Check out her website, Holden Memories, for more details and to see her other work. She also has a facebook page.

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The Rest of the Dress

All Layers Back

Just as when I made my wedding dress (I completed the bodice and then didn’t work on the skirt for a couple of months) this post has been on the back burner for some time. Now I am excited to share other wedding projects, but I feel I can’t move on to those until this is done. Quick note, if you click on each photo, they are linked to Flickr. My Flickr page gives a further description of the photo.

The Lining Layer

After working on the bodice for what felt like million hours, the skirt portion was a simple undertaking. The dress didn’t have any crinoline or fancy under-skirting to make it poof out any. It was a basic A-line-ish skirt with a small train. The only difference being that this dress had a lining, the main fabric, and the lace overlay.

Lifted Overlay

Because I was using expensive (at least for me) and not easily replaceable (everything had been bought online or from far away), I didn’t want to send it through my serger to create finished edges. Instead, I opted for French seams. This doubled sewing time since each seam needed to be sewn twice.

Main Fabric Layer

A French seam is similar to an outside leg seam on blue jeans. First, you sew the fabric together from the outside. Then, you turn the garment inside-out and sew along the same line just far enough away to encase the edge between the seams. Doing this prevents the fabric from unraveling and leaving strings all over.

It really was quite boring doing this portion since all I was sewing was long straight seams over and over and over and over again.  I was delighted when I finally got to baste (temporarily stitch) the three skirt layers together.

French Seam

When it came time to stitch the bodice to the skirt, I found another conundrum, the bodice was decidedly longer than the skirt opening. Even with my decision to attach the bodice further down the skirt than the normal 5/8 inch. I discovered with the different seam and the multiple layers, the skirt was narrower than the practice copy. Thankfully, the skirt flared out and by lowering the bodice, I was able to make it fit nicely.

Lace Overlay  Seam

My solution to the extra bodice length was to add fancy buttons and loops rather than the usual hidden hook and eye. Doing this also added support to help keep my dress up!

By the time I got to hemming this project, I was over the whole thing! Really, I just don’t like hemming stuff. I often have a handful of projects hanging around waiting for hems. Five minutes of work, but I just don’t do it. In this case, since I lowered the bodice, I didn’t have much to work with for hemming. I decided to do a rolled hem with my serger. Doing this meant I wouldn’t have to iron and pin each skirt. Instead, I could just sit down and start feeding the fabric through the machine and it would come out with thread encasing the edge of the fabric. What could have been a massive hours long project was quickly completed in less than an hour.

I was finally finished!

All Layers Front

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The Bodice

Wedding Dress Bodice

After cutting out the dress pieces, the bodice was the most intensive portion to construct. Yes, construct. This wasn’t your basic dress top. This small portion of the dress contains 5 layers of fabric. And boning. It was also the most interesting portion to make as I have never made something quite this elaborate before.

Wedding Dress Bodice

The 5 layers include, from outside to inside, lace, Peau de soie, underlining, interfacing, and lining. I decided to go all out with my fabrics and use silk linings. I used silk chiffon for the underlining and silk habotai for the lining. There was no iron-on interfacing on this dress. I used sew-in interfacing. This was heavy-duty stuff; adding this enabled the bodice to stand on its own.

Wedding Dress Bodice

Underlining is like stay stitching. It is added to a garment to add stability. It is also used to place markings so you don’t have to mark on the nicer outside fabric. Thankfully, I only needed to use it on the bodice. In my research, I learned that it is often used over the entire garment. What makes using an underlining time-consuming is that you hand stitch the underlining to the main fabric. Once done, you treat them as a single piece.

Wedding Dress Bodice

Next, you add the interfacing. I also hand sewed this in. I don’t recall my reasoning, but I did. The interfacing is very sturdy. The bolt was labeled for use in bodices for strapless or formal gowns. Right now, I can’t recall specifically what kind it was.

Wedding Dress Bodice

I somehow managed to miss a step at this point and didn’t add the boning to just the linings and main fabric. I skipped ahead and added the lace overlay. Thankfully, thanks to the type of fabrics I was using, I was able to mostly hide the stitching when I added the boning casings.

 Wedding Dress Bodice

As my deviation from the pattern, I eliminated the pleats in the lace. I rather liked small pattern of the lace on its own. Before adding the lining, I decided the bodice needed a little piping along the top. I used some of the scraps from cutting out the dress and made matching piping. I wish I had also added it to the bottom of the bodice as well. At the time, I was planning on making a belt to wear with the dress. I changed my mind/ran out of time to do this.  I will probably add this detail when I refashion the dress into a sun dress!

Wedding Dress Bodice

It was about half-way through the construction of the bodice that I realised why wedding dresses are so expensive. I also established my price should anyone ask me to make them a wedding dress. My fee, not including materials, will be five thousand dollars. That sounds like a high price, until you calculate the cost of time. I spent about a month working on the bodice. I will admit to taking extra care on each step as well as giving thinking time to consider details. I wanted this dress to be amazing.

Wedding Dress Bodice

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Work Begins

I may have purchased my fabric in November, but it wasn’t until May when I finally started work on the dress. I have a myriad of reasons (excuses) why I didn’t begin sooner. Too busy teaching school; lose a little more weight; doing research. They were all a little bit true. But in fact, I was terrified to get started. What if I did something wrong? What if it looked horrible? What if I had to drive all the way back to Miami and they didn’t have anymore lace?

As the school year neared the end, I knew I had to get started. I spent some time reading about wedding dress construction and realised I needed linings and stabilizers and boning and interfacing. I spent a little time finding and ordering such items. (I’ll share resources in a later post.)

Finally, I got to work. Normally, when I cut out a pattern, I layer fabrics that are multiples of the same piece. I would cut out the lining and the outer fabric in one go. It saves time. There was no way I was going to layer the fabrics for this job. Each fabric would be cut separately, beginning with the least expensive fabric. I figured a little practice wouldn’t hurt before cutting into that marvelous lace.

The Cutting

 

I wish I had taken more photos of this process. However, my full concentration was required to make certain every piece was facing the correct direction and I cut the right number of said pieces. Never has cutting out a pattern been so stressful!

 

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Wedding Dress Woes

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to make my own wedding dress. Over the years, my idea of the ideal wedding dress has changed dramatically from a simple shift to the grand puffy Cinderella style gown and back again. At one point, I had even purchased a pattern. I’m sure it was 99¢.  I wanted it shiny and silky, then muted and taffeta. I swore up and down it would never be lace!

Wedding Dress Fabric

The only detail that remained the same were the sleeves. There was never a plan to have sleeves. I remained steadfast that it would be sleeveless with a neckline that went straight across. No sweetheart necklines for this girl!

We had a fairly long engagement, so I had much time to ponder just exactly how I wanted to make this dress. I spent hours scouring the internet for inspiration. I finally settled on 3 similar designs. One was made with eyelet lace. The other was made with Alencon lace (which I later learned is very, very expensive). The third seersucker.  The debate between these three dresses was decided when other details about the wedding were settled. I didn’t want to make a simple dress and have an elaborate wedding. I didn’t want an elaborate dress and a picnic wedding.

Option 3

Option 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I finally settled on a sort of vintage/homemade vibe for the wedding, I solidified my dress decision and bought the fabric. Full on lace covered dress here I come. Even then, it wasn’t until I bought the fabric that I was sure this was the right idea.

Option 2 – The winner!

 

My inspiration came from an Alice Padrul wedding dress called the Adele. Which, I discovered has a little sister pattern made by Butterick. They aren’t exact, but I didn’t need exact, I just needed a base to start my dress.

No ordinary fabric could be used to make this dress, this required a special trip to a fabric district. I wasn’t so crazy to demand to fly out to New York City or Los Angles (I did consider it.); I headed to Miami. This was the closest place I could find. I couldn’t fathom ordering such important material online. I needed to touch it and see it in person.

Wedding Dress Fabric

 

I found the perfect fabrics at Carol Fabrics Inc. (sorry, no website). The service there was superb. The lady (whom I believe was Carol), was very patient and kind. She offered suggestions, but ultimately left the decision up to me. (This was not the case at all the shops I visited that day.)  I intended to find the fancy Alencon lace, but wasn’t able to find Ivory. I found a much less expensive lace that had caught my eye when I entered the shop. I would have saved much time if I had just gone with my gut in the first place.

I promise, these wedding dress posts get more exciting.

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