This is the second post in my series about my wedding dress. Today I’m going to be talking about the muslin I made and how it helped me finalise the shape of the dress and the underskirt.
I started with my own copy of my Martini pattern as a base – not that you’d ever know it, looking at the shape – because it had had many fitting tweaks and was the most up to date version of a good fit. But it helped me get the fit right straight away. I had to mash several pieces together and redraw them all and… well I ended up with this (below). I played around a lot with the shapes of the arm holes and neckline and I removed most of the fitting ease from the bodice (the top half wanted to be pretty much skin tight as it would be over a corselette). The skirt shape was a pretty exaggerated bell.
You can see I’ve drawn on the back armholes in pencil.
Hello Everyone. I want to talk to you about my wedding dress!
As you may or may not have heard, I got married a few months ago, and yes, I made my own dress! It’s been an absolutely epic project taking the best part of 6 months continuous work (free time and weekends only). I want to share the whole process with you in a series of posts, as it’s really too epic for one post alone. I’ll start from the beginning and take you through all the interesting (and the mundane) sewing details over the coming days. Note that this is obviously not a refashion but it’s a personal sewing project that’s been very important to me, so I hope you’ll indulge me. I’m not going to reveal final pictures until the end, so you can enjoy the journey as I did from start to finish in chronological order, I hope that’s not too frustrating.
Where does one start when making a wedding dress? When you’re making your own, you can have literally any shape imaginable. You can use literally any fabric and have as much or as little detail as you like. So narrowing it down was tough. The main criteria for me were that I wanted something that suited my personal style (which I think of as classic, elegant and with a slight ‘fashion’ edge – at least, that’s what I aspire to) as well as a figure flattering shape (which for me means exposed shoulders, fitted waist, not strapless). I briefly considered a fitted skirt before coming to my senses and realising there are hardly any opportunities to wear something ball-gown like, and came up with my design motto, “Go Big Or Go Home”…
I looked at lots of designers, lots of bridal sites and even tried some dresses on to get a feel for the shapes. Here are some of the images I was working from.
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior.
So… I’ve had this scarf for a little while. A few months. It’s got a really pretty colour scheme and is shiny without being too shiny. I bought this in Sweden over the summer (in the Red Cross/Röda Korset shop in Arvidsjaur) and if I remember correctly, it was in a sale bin where everything was SEK 5:- (about 50p). Given that it’s marked SEK 25:-, I think I got a good deal. I actually picked up several scarves and doilies from the same bin which have yet to make it to the blog.
Anyway, it’s polyester, which is fine, because look at the colours! It’s actually quite a big scarf (a metre square, or so) and I’ve been pondering what to do with it for a while. I was going to cut it into a couple of squares and make a basic top, but wasn’t really feeling like that would do it justice.
So… this jacket was sent to me by blogger Being Zhenya as part of a blogger swap organised by Martyna at Spoolish and Miche at Buttons and Birdcages about two years ago. Two years?! Yes, I know it’s been a while, sorry Zhenya. I asked her for something to refashion and she sent two great items from the thrift stores of Minneapolis. I’m a bit sad that it’s taken me this long to get to it, but the package didn’t arrive in time for the original post deadline so it went onto the back burner.
Anyway, it’s a poly-rayon women’s blazer in a brilliant cobalt blue.
It’s well used and looks a bit sad on the stand.
There are a minimum of features – no lining, only one button, no cuff detail, no shoulder pads – there aren’t even any real pockets.
Of course, as soon as I saw those pocket flaps, I was like – DIOR FALL 2012 – well, in my defence, it was November 2013 at the time.
Here’s Marion Cotillard wearing the object of our copycat affection in November 2012. It has a lace skirt and jacket style bodice with lapels – and pocket flaps!
Following the success of the last series of ‘The Refashioners‘, Portia asked me to participate in her refashioning challenge again this year. You can see what I made in the last round of the challenge here.
This year, the raw materials for my refashion were chosen and sent to me by Elisalex from By Hand London. As you can see, naughty Elisalex (never one to play by the rules) selected not one but two shirts in similar sizes and colour schemes.
One shirt was stripy taupe and white.
The other was also taupe and white, but a subtle dotted pattern. The fabric was thinner and had an element of stretch to it.
It may surprise you to learn that I bought this tablecloth in Lapland. In Arvidsjaur, Sweden, in the Red Cross charity shop, to be precise. I was on a trip up there at the start of the summer and because it rained a fair bit during my stay, the charity shops of northern Västerbotten and Lapland were a good distraction (although my favourite Red Cross shop in Jörn has sadly closed down).
The tablecloth itself is a thick weave often used for placemats, though it’s bigger than a normal placemat, that’s why I think it’s a tablecloth, perhaps from a side table or coffee table. Anyway, I paid SEK 10:- for it (a little under £1). It caught my eye because of its pretty pink, grey and cream colour scheme, so I snapped it up (along with a few other examples of doilies and table linens, which you will be seeing here in due course). Of course, I wanted to wear it here in London – no sense wasting pretty textiles like this on homewares!
I bought this men’s cotton shirt in the Save the Children shop in Whitby for £3.49 after I fell in love with the print. At the time, I thought it was palm trees, but now that I look closer, it’s more like bamboo – it’s a green and beige print on a navy background. It’s actually not all that big, despite being a Large. Since the cotton is relatively heavy, I earmarked it for a dress, but then forgot about it for several years. With an upcoming trip to (spoiler alert) Portugal, I dug it out recently to be given a makeover as part of my holiday wardrobe.
This particular one is an old one of my Dad’s that I have been wearing around the house. My Mum gave it to me after it shrank in the wash – it’s 100% lambswool so it’s pretty well felted. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and realised how shapeless it is on me. So, I decided to give it a new shape!
Today, I’m starting with this rather plain pale blue gingham shirt, which I picked up in Age UK in Orpington for £3.49.
I thought it was something of a bargain, given its excellent condition, complete lack of wear and stains, and decent fit.
It’s 100% cotton and feels lovely.
Confession time… it’s been more than 6 months since my last blog post. Hopefully y’all haven’t missed me too much during my unplanned break! I have one more refashion from my US trip that I want to share before I show you some new stuff, though quite frankly I cannot believe it’s been 9 months since I was there. Looking back through these photos made it seem like yesterday. Anyway, here goes…
After the success of my Epic Yale blazer, I wanted to have a go at applying the tie-as-bias-binding technique to another type of garment. This one isn’t a patch on the blazer (no pun intended), but I’m showing you it anyway as it was quite interesting and the photos we took on location were just fabulous.
This one was intended for our trip out to the beaches of Cape Cod, so I wanted a preppy/sporty vibe. I picked up this cream cardigan in the PDSA shop in Orpington (if memory serves…) for £4.99, thinking it looked a bit like a cricket jumper. It’s actually a rather unfortunate polyester item which has clearly been treasured by an elderly lady in its former life. It’s ugly, but the fit of it isn’t too bad, if you like oversized (I do).
I got this tie at the same time as I got the one I used for the blazer, at the Save the Children shop in Orpington. An amazing find, as it was exactly the right colour, and ties were half price (I think, £1). Unlike the other one though, this is completely synthetic, which made it a good match for the cardigan.