Tag Archives: handmade

my wedding dress

Before I was even engaged, I knew that I’d be making my own wedding dress. It wouldn’t really feel like my wedding if I didn’t. I have a lot of pictures to share, and a fair bit of explaining, so lets get to it!

I started as most brides do, by trawling through the Wedding category on Pinterest. This is a deep, dark, rabbit hole, and if you’re not careful, you will fall down it and never come out! I quickly found elements that I loved, a soft, layered skirt; tiny cap sleeves; lace!

Then, I saw this dress… SWOON! That soft blush-pink colour was so lovely and feminine, I knew I needed it.

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I also tried on a few RTW dresses, just to get a feel of how big I wanted the skirt. I knew there wasn’t any danger of falling in love with a RTW dress and wanting to buy it. By this stage I was 80% sure of what I wanted, and knew I’d never find it in a shop.

I sketched out a few different styles, playing with the bodice and shoulder strap design. The skirt stayed the same with each new sketch.

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Finally, I came to a decision. I would be making a boned, strapless under-bodice, a lace-bodice overlay with small cap-sleeves, and an open keyhole back. The bottom of the dress would consist of an underskirt with a small sweep, and a layered, full circle over-skirt.

With my design nutted out, I called on the help of the most talented pattern maker I know. Monica is an absolute magic-making master, and I honestly could not have created such an amazing dress without her help and guidance. Thank you, Mon, for everything you’ve taught me!

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day – Thanks Monie!

We started with the simple bits, the under-bodice, lace bodice, and underskirt. Then, we tackled the over-skirt. I really wanted something where the layers weren’t too structured, I wanted them to flow and move in unexpected ways. We worked all day on the pattern, and basically came out with something that looked like this:

I know this looks a bit like an egg, but stick with me...

I know this looks a bit like an egg, but stick with me…

We started with a basic, full length circle skirt pattern (which ended up being layer four). The next three layers were created in the same way, where layer three dipped down, I made the same point of layer two higher. A high point on layer two, made the same point on layer one lower. This would give the hem lines of each layer a really lovely flow.

With the pattern (and a series of toiles) made, it was time to go shopping for the final fabric! I bought some beautiful white, corded lace from the same shop I got the bridesmaids dress fabric from. The beautiful ivory silk (for the under-bodice and underskirt), and the white silk organza came from Elsegood Fabrics in Alexandria. The final stop was Tesutti Fabrics in Surry Hills for the dusty, blush silk organza.

With everything purchased, it was time to start cutting! I have never felt more nervous about the first snip! I cut layer one and three from the dusty pink organza, and layer two and four from the ivory organza. I also cut organza bodice pieces to layer over the ivory silk, so the overall look of the dress had a consistent colour.

I managed to sew the entire dress in seven days. I took everything to my parents house over the Christmas break and worked on the dress from 8.30am until 5.00pm, every day. I kept track of what I did each day:

Day One – Cut out base cloth for under-skirt and bodice Apply fusing to bodice Cut out tear-a-way for bodice necklines

Day Two – Sew under-skirt using French Seams Run overlocker around unfinished edges of under-skirt Sew lining bodice (including channelling) Insert boning Pin outer-skirt (pink & ivory) patterns to fabric

Day Three – Cut out all pieces of over-skirt Test French Seams on the organza Cut out organza for bodice Sew all seams of the over-skirt layers

Day Four – Sew the horsehair braid on all layers of the over-skirt

Day Five – Sew over-skirt layers together at the waistline Seam outer bodice Cut out lace bodice

Day Six – Sew underbodice, outer bodice and lace bodice together on front panel Construct the rest of the lace bodice using French seams

Day Seven – Sew all layers of skirt to bodice, leaving the lace and under-bodice free Insert zipper Hand stitch underbodice to waistline

All I had left to do now, was hem the under-skirt (I forgot to take my shoes!) and bead the lace bodice. I spent the nights on the lounge, slowly adding Swarovski beads, tiny seed beads, and chalk white sequins to the lace. It took me a few weeks, but was well worth the effort; it looked spectacular!

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Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I couldn’t be happier with my dress, it was so comfortable, and I just loved how the sun light picked up the subtle colour differences in the skirt.

I’d also like to say a massive thank you to our photographer, James Day. He was just wonderful on the day, melting into the background to get some of these beautiful shots, but was also very personable and entertaining with our guests. I’m so glad we asked him to shoot our day, I’ll be looking back on these gorgeous pictures for the rest of my life, with a smile on my face.

Well, that’s the last of my wedding-related posts, I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have!

Mitty x

bridesmaids dresses

I asked my two very best friends to be my Bridesmaids. These girls mean so much to me, they’ve stuck by my side through the good times and the bad. All I wanted for them, was to be comfortable, but also look fabulous on my wedding day.

I decided to create different dresses for each of them, and aim for a style that I’ve seen them wear before.

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I worked through a few different variations, but I knew that Nicole would suit a two-piece, and Nyome would be best in a full dress.

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Nicole’s top would be a crop style, strapless under bodice, with a lace overlay, 3/4 sleeves, and a boat neckline. It would have an invisible zip closure at the back going through all layers, and the lace would join at the nape of the neck using a cut-out keyhole design. The skirt would be slightly gathered on a straight waistband. I was going to put pockets in the skirt, but it just wasn’t sitting right, so I tool them out.

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Nyomes dress was similar to Nicoles, as she had an under bodice with a lace overlay, except her’s didn’t have sleeves, and the neckline was a little higher. The back would be the same as the other dress, and this skirt was more of an A line. The skirt length of both dresses hit just under the knee.

Once the girls we happy with their designs, I went shopping! I found the most gorgeous burgundy lace at Van Hung Fabrics in Cabramatta. This shop is well worth the trip, the staff were very helpful, and they had some really beautiful fabrics.

Sewing the dresses was pretty straight forward, though the lace didn’t always play fair. I broke at least one needle on the corded detail, and a seam or two needed extra reinforcement. When the dresses were completed, I added a few small burgundy Swarovskii beads.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I think the dresses turned out wonderfully! Nicole and Nyome looked stunning, and I love knowing that they were both thrilled with their outfits.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Mitty x

all the other bits

I’ve gone through the majority of decor items I (and a team of people) made for my wedding in previous posts. Today, I wanted to go through the other little bits and pieces that made the day warm and fuzzy.

I have to say a massive thank you to my green-thumbed mother, who cultivated and grew 120 tiny succulents to serve as place markers, and gifts for our guests. A week before the wedding, we wrapped each little pot in some hessian. I also tied them up with scraps of silk, left over from my dress.

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Once on the tables, we stuck small paper flags on toothpicks into the pots. They looked so adorable, and were a real hit with our guests.

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Another big thank you to mum, who cooked and assembled our wonderful wedding cake! I love “naked cakes”, and I think mum’s version was simply perfect! You’ll also notice a little BB-8 perched on top of the cake.. Mum made that as a surprise for Reags, who is completely obsessed with Star Wars.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I made the “How Sweet It Is” cake topper from some paper, stamps, twine and skewers. Who doesn’t love bunting?!

I wanted to give my bridesmaids a gift that they would be able to use all the time. I decided on personalized leather make-up bags from Mon Purse. I was really impressed with the quality of the leather and zippers used, I’m going to have to get one for myself at some stage.

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If you know of our photographer, James Day, you’ll know that he has an obsessions with bow ties. I’m talking, a real, full on collecting obsession. Plenty of his clients have given him bow ties as a gift, but I decided to go a step further, and knit him a one. I knew I’d done the right thing when he opened the box and stammered “…whaaaat? What!?” and gestured me for to put it on him.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

From James Day's Instagram

From James Day’s Instagram

Yeah, I think he was pleased.

To go with the gifts we gave out on the day, I made some really basic cards from grey cardboard from the newsagents. To pretty them up, I cut rectangles out of the left over lace from my dress, and attached it using gold brads.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Going back to the flower topic, the girls and I had so much fun sitting around making the boutonnieres for the boys. One or two of them may have been a tad too big, but it didn’t matter that much.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I tried so hard to make my flower crown the day before the wedding, but my mind was on so many other things, I just didn’t have the time to sit down and concentrate on something so delicate. So, I made it the morning of the wedding, after the arch was decorated!

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

The final bit of decoration I’d like to show you, is how we presented the seating plan. Each table arrangement was printed on brown paper (with a little bit of gold foiling, which we added later), and stuck onto a huge gold framed mirror. We propped it up on an easel, and sat it on a sturdy table. Nicole then attacked it decorated with greenery.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the inside of the marquee.

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Mitty x

frames, and a gold back drop

Photo booths seem to go hand in hand with weddings these days, and although we didn’t have one, I still wanted a few simple props that people could pick up and pose with. Picture frames were the obvious choice, they are light, and didn’t take up too much room.

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We picked up these second hand frames from a shop in Alexandria. I think we got the lot for $40. Even though the majority of them aren’t the right colours, there were quite a few gold ones that we didn’t have to touch.

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A drop sheet and a bit of paint had the frames looking like they were supposed to be at our wedding.

We strung a few up between two trees, had some beside the lounge, and the rest went in the marquee.

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For the back drop, I looked a a few different ideas, but settled on this design quite quickly.

I painted a stick white, then tied on about 20 lengths of fishing line. Using a large hole punch, I punched out close to 900 gold circles from cardboard. I then strung these onto the fishing line, and secured with double sided tape. I stuck another gold dot to the back, so that when they moved around, you mostly saw gold. I did leave some white, to add a bit of a difference.

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Time consuming? Yes. Involved climbing on a ladder? Yes. Difficult to store? Yes. All those bits of backing tape annoying to remove? Yes.

Pay off? Totally worth it!

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Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

Photo by James Day

The back drop sparkled and twinkled all night! It looked so beautiful! Our photographer, James Day, fell in love with it the moment he saw it. He wanted to take it down and use it was a prop. In doing so, we got some of the most amazing pictures I’ve ever seen!

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Photo by James Day

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Photo by James Day

And here’s how he did it, with help from two of my cousins (who were obviously loving the experience!)

I have one more post on our DIY decorations (I know, there were heaps!), then we move onto the fun stuff, AKA shoes and dresses!

Mitty x

white & gold bra

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I’ve been bra sewing again! I have a few other sewing projects that I really need to dedicate my time to, but I just couldn’t help myself!

I wanted to play around with the cup style, so I’ve added in a power-band, and I moved the cross seam up a little bit.

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I cut the majority of the cup from a beautiful white and gold lace from Boobytraps. The power band is a medium weigh, white lycra.

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I wanted a much lower cut style than my previous bra, so I took about 4cm out of the cups and bridge. Only after I did this, I realized that I didn’t have any under-wires to fit the lower style. I could have waited, and bought some, but I was being rather impatient, so I harvested a pair of wires from an old bra. I checked to make sure they weren’t bent out of shape, then I drew around them onto a piece of paper for future wire-buying.

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To show how much I lowered the bridge, I put the white bra on top of the pink bra. It’s quite a dramatic difference!

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The back is exactly the same design as my pink bra, and cut from the white lycra.

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I lined the entire bra (except the back wing) with bra tule. I love how it encases all of the seams, it gives a very neat finish.

I wore this bra yesterday, so I could report on the comfort level. OMG it was SO ITCHY! How is that possible? It’s fully lines with the softest tule and it doesn’t have any raw seams!? The only thing I can think of, is that I’m rather sensitive, having worn padded bras every day for the last 15 years. Has this been a problem for anyone else? I hope to get used to it over time, because I’d hate to never wear this bra again, it’s so beautiful!

Let me know if you’ve experienced anything like this, and if you have any recommendation to increase the comfort.

Mitty x

how to: insert an invisible zipper

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I’ll admit that invisible zippers used to intimidate me. They give such a professional finish, and I didn’t think that I’d be able to achieve the same results. I had a look around on the internet for tutorials, and found that there are a few different ways to put them in.

After a lot of practice (and plenty of mistakes), I’m happy to say that I can confidentially insert an invisible zipper. Go out and get yourself a zipper foot that fits your machine. I found an adjustable one, and it has made the entire process much easier.

I’m going to show you my most trusted method. Prepare for LOTS of big pictures..

First, you need to iron the zipper. Open the zipper and using a low to medium heat, gently press the zipper teeth as flat as possible. This step makes everything so much easier, so don’t skip it out.

Pin one side of the zipper tape to the right side of your fabric, lining it up with the raw edge. The teeth need to be facing away from the raw edge. I like to start pinning the zipper a few mm’s away from the neckline. This makes finishing the zipper much neater, but we’ll get to that later. Pin the rest of the zipper tape down.

Now for some sewing. Baste the zipper to the fabric. This first row of stitches doesn’t need to be up against the teeth, so pick a point a few mm away from the teeth. Take out the pins as you come to them. This row of stitches won’t be seen, and will stay in your garment.

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The basting stitches make the next step a lot easier, as you don’t have to worry about pins getting in the way. Place the zipper so that the machine needle is coming down as close to the teeth as possible. You don’t want to pierce the teeth at any point, so just take it slowly.

In the picture below, you can (just) see both rows of stitches, the one on the left is the basting, and the one on the right is the finish.

Repeat these steps on the other side. I find the easiest way to line everything up, is to do the zipper up a few cm’s, and from the wrong side, pin the seam allowance together matching any notches in the pattern. Then you can pin the zipper and fabric together where they naturally fall. Sometimes this method is out by a few mm, but never enough to really matter too much.

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Now you need to finish the top of the zipper, which will look something like this:

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Open the zipper, and on one side, fold the top of the tape over at an angle.

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Take the facing/waistband and pin it to the zipper tape, with right sides of the fabric facing each other. This is where that few mm near the neck line come in handy. By pulling the facing over the zipper, you get a very clean finish.

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Sew the facing to the zipper, making sure not to get too close to the zipper teeth. The zipper-pull needs to be able to slide up the back of the tape, without getting caught in the facing.

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Chop off the bit of zipper tape that hangs out, and turn right side out.

Repeat on the other side.

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Last step! Finishing the bottom of the zipper into the seam. With the zipper done up, pin the seam together, matching any notches in your pattern. Fold the zipper tape so the raw edges of the fabric are level, and insert a pin in the seam allowance, just below the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Still using your zipper foot, start sewing close to the zipper teeth (which are encased in the seam), just above the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Finish sewing the seam. The beginning of this seam is usually more than my normal 1cm seam allowance, sometimes 1.5cm or even 2cm. Once I’m past the zipper, I gently slope my seam back down to 1cm.

Give everything a good press with your iron, and that’s it! Perfectly flat, and seamless!

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I hope this has been of some help! Remember, this is my preferred method, but there are plenty of other ways to put your zipper in, if this seems too complicated.

Mitty x

boobytraps workshop

For all the time I’ve been sewing my own clothing, never did it cross my mind that I could make my own bra. When it finally did cross my mind, there were a few things holding me back.

  1. Far too complicated, with under-wires etc
  2. Too fiddly, it looks like so many different, small bits..
  3. I don’t even know where to start with sewing elastic!

I did what any normal person would do, I started researching. What I found was much different to what I expected. There is an entire online bra-making community! Everyone is so lovely and informative! I’ll link some of my favourite blogs at the end of this post.

During my research, I started looking for suppliers of bra bits. There are heaps of online stores, but what I really wanted to find was somewhere I could go and actually look and touch the laces for myself. That’s when I found Boobytraps.

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Boobytraps are primarily an online store, however they do open to the public on Thursdays and some Saturdays. They have an amazing range of laces, elastics, and patterns. I was so excited to see that they also hold bra-making workshops! I signed up straight away!

I chose to make an under-wired, soft cup bra. All of my RTW (ready to wear) bras are the padded, molded cup variety, I was really interested to see if I’d find a soft cup comfortable.

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This is my finished bra! Was it difficult? Not really. Was it fiddly? Hm, a little bit, but not enough to turn me off making more! Is it comfortable? Absolutely!

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Under the guidance of our teacher, Lynn, we learnt the importance of lining a bra (none of my RTW bra’s are lined..), how to fully encase the seams to eliminate the itch-factor, how to insert under-wire casing, how to sew elastic properly… the list goes on! The workshop was totally worth the cost for the tips I learnt alone, not to mention the fact I walked away with my very first me-made bra!

 I decided to go with a light coloured kit, so I could really see what I was doing. The kit came with everything I needed to make the bra, including these gorgeous detailed elastic straps! So pretty!

I highly recommend these classes, but you do need to have a bit of stretch-sewing experience. I also took along my own sewing machine, stretch needles, silk pins, scissors and measuring tape.

Now to my favourite bra & lingerie blogs!

  • Visit Maddy at Madalynne for some truly ethereal, lovely lingerie inspiration/tutorials.
  • Erin at The Emerald Studio is incredibly talented! She even delves into the finer details of bra making, which I can’t get enough of.
  • Amy from Cloth Habit is the designer behind the Watson Bra pattern, which has a cult following. It’s a gorgeous little pattern, which you can purchase online.

I think I’m addicted to bra making. I’m OK with that!

Mitty x