Today Jonne and I have been married for the full 7 months! Yay! Times does go super quick. I know you might not be very much interested in marriage and/or weddings (it’s both a lot of fun), but who can resist a handmade wedding dress? I know I can’t. It’s one of those things I knew I had to write about, so here it comes. The very much-anticipated post of the month: the wedding dress post!
Let’s get to it! *warning: this post is LONG) If you just want to see the finished project: scroll all the way down 😉
How it all started
3 years ago I went to Paris with my mother and bought this fabric. The idea I talked about was to make this fabric into a simple shift dress. However, the sneaky romantic inside me knew it was destined for greatness aka the wedding dress of my dreams.
Now, I know a lot of people make their own wedding dress, but in costume design, it says that making your own dress is bad luck. Also: it would totally stress me out SO MUCH if I had to make my own wedding dress. To avoid unnecessary stress, I asked my sewing friends if they would want to help me out and they all said yes. Now I had 6 awesome, talented friends to make this wedding dress happen!
Wedding dress in progress
First, there were about 56 muslins to get the fit right. And about 6 darts in the front bodice alone. What I learned from being on the other end of the bespoke process is: even if you know how hideous muslin fabric looks, you will still think you look like shit in it. 🙂
After the muslins, and finalizing the pattern, we got to work on the bodice of the dress. The bodice was made from a corset with a lace overlay. The corset part took 5 layers of fabrics: Outer layer was interfaced silk satin (we used my favorite Vlieseline G785), next a layer of cotton, a layer of silk organza (cut the same way as the lace bodice, so it would continue above the corset, than another layer of cotton. The inside was lined with the same silk satin. Oh, and I almost forgot: we also added boning to the seams, to make sure the corset would stay up!
The lace outer bodice was sewn separately and mounted onto the silk organza from the corset at the neckline and at the arm openings. All seams were stitched with a small zigzag and the flowers of the lace were cut so they would form one pattern, the top looked seamless! We used a lot of techniques from Alison Smith’s working with lace class. First, we wanted to eliminate the center back seam, but luckely, before we cut into the fabric, my friend Astrid had a lightbulb moment: “how is your head going to fit through the neck opening?” So, a center back seam happened. (That’s why you need a wedding dress team, so you can actually get into your dress once finished :-p)
The corset layer closed with a sturdy zip, longer than the corset itself, so I could get in and out of the dress. Brilliant idea of my friend Lotte. The lace bodice closed with little buttons covered in the silk satin of the lining and loops. Covering this buttons was a party since they were so tiny!
The lace of the skirt was attached to the lining at the waist and side seams. Lieke and I decided on one deep center box pleat and two knife pleats left and right. The side seams are overlapping ,to avoid bulk and to create an invisible side seam. One side seam was sewn on the machine with a small zigzag stitch, the other one was sewn by hand (by the ever patient Anneke)
The lining was hemmed with a rolled hem and the lace was cut following the shape of the flowers. The skirt closed at center back with hook & eyes.
To make sure I wouldn’t freeze on the wedding day, we also decided on a really cute silk crepe jacket. As a base, we used the Decades of Style Three’s a charm jacket. We shortened it to hit me at the waist and added a silk satin lining.
Here’s an in progress shot. I only wore it on the wedding day for 5 minutes since after those 5 minutes the weather got beautiful! Apparently, when you say ‘it will be 25°C, sunny and there’ll be a warm breeze” every day for a year, you get your dream weather on your wedding day! YAY!
So yes, I’m so happy I decided on friends-made wedding dress instead of a store bought one! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. This group of crazy friends, they made me feel so beautiful and happy and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express enough gratitude for all their hard work!
What did your wedding dress look like? What would you do if you were to get married? Would you get it made for you or would you go on a shoppping spree? Let me know!
PS: all pictures in the final look section are shot by the amazing and slightly crazy Dries Renglé. If you are looking for a wedding photographer: he’s so much fun!