Wedding dress

For those who have been following my blog in the past year, you will know that I made both my wedding dress and my bridesmaid's dress. 

Yep, making my own wedding dress was a huge project, especially as I wasn't that experienced at sewing when I started it. Two full toiles and countless adjustments later, we got there! 

The dress has 7 layers:
1) silk dupion pleats and drape, 
2) silk organza underlining for the pleats, 
3) silk dupion for dress layer, 
4) silk organza underlining, 
5) silk habotai lining, 
6) cotton corselette with spiral steel boning, and
7) silk dupion corselette lining. 


I used Simplicity 2959 as a starting point, not because of pictures on the pattern envelope, but the clean princess lines and the pleats. I made lots and lots of adjustments - to name a few:
  • I added lots of layers including a corselette which extends to below my hips (see the corselette here);
  • I changed the bodice to a sweetheart neckline - I didn't like how pointy the neckline was from 2959 and preferred a softer shape. I used Simplicity 4070 for the neckline instead - 4070 is also what I used for my BM dress as we thought it would be cute to have the same neckline;
  • I changed the overall shape of the design - I found the skirt to be too full, and preferred a fitted dropped waist bodice and a more A-line skirt. I reduced the width significantly for the whole length, but more so around the hip area;
  • I added a lace-up back and omitted the bow (see here for the lace-up back and here for a tutorial);
  • I lengthened the train to a chapel length; 
  • I ignored the pattern pieces for the pleats and made them to include a diagonal drape by trial and error with tissue paper (see here);
  • I added a waist stay; 
  • I added a one-tier French bustle (see here); and
  • I dissected a bra and added them to the corselette (see here). 

The process
Would you believe me when I say that I think of the whole process fondly?? OK, there were a couple of times when all that hand sewing got too much and/or I doubted myself, and not to mention that horrific spider incident (read about it here - ewww) but overall it went smoothly! Who'd have known that I had this much patience? 

No doubt it was a steep learning curve, and I feel so much more experienced at sewing after the process. And almost a year's labour was absolutely worth it! 

Useful resources
I used so many resources from start to finish. You may be surprised to know that I managed to sew a wedding dress without the famous Bridal Couture by Susan Khalje. Instead, my biggest thank you goes to.... the so very helpful members of PR bridal discussion board! I have asked many questions from how to attach the layers, whether I need all 7 layers, how I could add bra cups, to how to press the dress before the big day. Every step along the way I received so much encouragement and advice, and I can safely say that I could not have made the dress without all you lovely people! 

I did refer to Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques on many occasions, and I found it immensely helpful. In particular, it was of great help when I was adding the waist stay and constructing the corselette. 

What else did I use? Vena Cava designs (UK based) were who I used for supplies of various types of boning, tape, and horsehair braid. And Heathcoat Fabrics (also UK based) were who I purchased my metres of tulle from. As for the fabric - my dupion and organza came from Goldhawk Road and the habotai from my favourite local shop, Fabricland. 

More photos
Quick word of warning - there are a lot of photos (but haven't I done well narrowing down from 900+ photos??) 

The dress with the bustle done up in the evening:


  1. Wow! your dress was stunning. you did such a great job.

  2. Congratulations on both your lovely gown and wedding too! Learned some new ideas from your blog and photos... continued happiness & blessings too

  3. Can I just say, OMG!!! I can't believe you made this beautiful dress so early on in your sewing days, you make an absolutely stunning bride!

    1. Thank you! It was a huge challenge to say the least, but well worth it :) xx

  4. This is beautiful and you've put so much work into it! Good on you!

    1. You are too kind! I am really enjoying sewing much smaller projects though! you can see results so much quicker ;)

  5. I have just discovered your blog (after googling 'Small Bust Adjustment'!), and am so glad to have stumbled across it. Your wedding dress is absolutely stunning!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Moonbeam! thank you for your lovely words :)

  6. Stunning wedding dress, Alice! Your talent is pretty impressive. The details are simple yet delicate. Your photos made me wanna feel the fabric. My wedding dress was made by a friend who is Italian. I only got to fit it on my wedding day. The dress was perfectly shaped to my body. The feeling was magical, like I didn't want to take it off anymore. I know that you know how it feels to wear a wedding dress, especially if it's as beautiful as yours! I'd love to see more dresses from you. I think your works are amazing! Keep it up!

    Lavonne Seaton

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Yes it was such a special feeling wearing a wedding dress! Especially one that is made for you! It was sad to take it off at the end of the night but then it was quite a heavy thing to have been dragging around in all day so was also quite a relief!

  7. All the work paid off! Your wedding gown is simple but pretty. And you also did your bridesmaid’s dress? Wow, your sewing skills must be excellent. How long did it take you to finish both? I hope to see more of your sewing projects. Carroll Hall @ Celestina Bridal Boutique

    1. Thank you for your lovely words. I think it took me about 10 months! I sewed mainly in the weekends, and thankfully started early enough to complete in time for the wedding :D Funnily enough I threw myself into the deep end, as I really wasn't a very experienced sewist before then. But I learned an awful lot during those 10 months, and enjoyed the process hugely.

  8. First, your dress is beautiful! I am duly impressed with your confidence for making something so complicated without much experience. Thank you for the detailed explanations about your process. I am currently in the process of making my daughter's wedding dress, which is similar in style to yours. I too have limited experience making anything so complicated, and have been reading every book, blog, and website I can get my hands on. Reading your blog helps give me confidence that I too can do this. I too have decided to write a blog about my experience. I hope my daughter's dress comes out as beautiful as yours. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Maria! I did want to document the process (without giving away what the dress was going to be like before the big day), as when I was making it I found some really helpful resources online, and wanted to do my bit to contribute to it. I would really say that I was quite a novice sewist when I started making the wedding dress, but as I enjoy learning, and had plenty of time I wanted to take on the challenge. I do not doubt that others with little experience (but sheer determination!) would be able to do the same. Best of luck to you and your daughter, but do let me know if you have any questions, as I shall do my best to help!

  9. Hi Moonbeam!

    I work for 25/7 Productions (The Biggest Loser, The Vineyard, Flip Men), an LA tv company, and we're doing a new show about brides who make their own wedding dresses. I would love to Skype interview you about your experience making your beautiful dress! Would you be willing to do a little Skype with us? And/or do you know any other DIY Brides who'd like to chat? Please let me know if you'd like to talk! Email me at Thanks for your time! I hope to hear from you soon!

    Holly Golden
    Development Producer
    25/7 Productions

  10. How lovely! It's really nice to meet and spend time with you in Houston. Hope to see you soon.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Ling. I had a lovely time, too, and I'm sure we will meet again soon :)

  11. Beautiful dress! You really know how to sew!

  12. Beautiful, just immaculate. Bravo.


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