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).
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!
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.
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: