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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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!