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.
Lily James in Dior.
Rihanna in Zac Posen.
Naomi Campbell in Zac Posen.
Marion Cotillard in Dior. In terms of shape, this is probably the most similar to the final dress.
If you want to see more dress inspiration pictures that I was considering, I made my wedding Pinterest board public, and you can find it here.
Construction-wise, I wanted to build the full couture style corselette, and used the following images as inspiration:
Vintage Oscar de la Renta.
Fabric-wise, there was one thing I was sure about, and that’s that I didn’t want lace. In fact, nothing floral. I wanted to keep a ‘fashion’ edge to it rather than making it really romantic. My wedding colours were white, navy and silver (and my wedding motif was a star! – no hearts or flowers), with a vague art deco/1930s feel to the venue/decor. I considered all manner of different fabrics, starting with plain silk taffettas – and I looked at some beautiful ones. I had the idea to cover the bodice in embroidery or goldwork but eventually gave up due to the time it would have taken. I eventually came up with the idea of white and silver metallic brocade as a compromise between embellishment and time pressure. Here are some of the fabrics I considered.
“Metallic Brocade” available at B & J fabrics here.
“Metallic Silk and Cotton Blend Damask” available at B & J fabrics here.
“Cracked Ice on Satin” available at B & J Fabrics here.
“NY Designer Cloque Jacquard – White/Silver” available at Gorgeous Fabrics here (on sale!!).
The bottom one is probably the best, although that’s not what I ended up with (more on that later). In the end I decided I wanted something whiter… like metallic white on white. Let’s just say it was tricky to find.
And finally, after several months of deliberating, I started sketching. (Don’t laugh at my sketches OK; I know they are terrible). You can see the kind of shape I was leaning towards.
That final picture above is probably the closest to the final shape. Note the cutaway arm holes, the huge bell shaped skirt and the veil with embroidered stars on it. The v-neck and v-armholes are supposed to look like a star shape on the bodice, but it’s quite subtle.
At this point I decided a muslin would be helpful so that’s what I did. Tune in to the next post in this series to see what happened!