Practicing Wedding Dress Construction

First, the spilling of the beans.

I’m getting married in less than two months.

Yes, it’s to Himself.

No, this isn’t nearly as hasty as it may appear, we’ve been planning this for almost a year.

No, this isn’t the point of this post.

Moving on.

My mother, that amazing woman, wove lovely blue/green fabric when she was in her early twenties, and then cut out and sewed her wedding dress and my father’s wedding shirt.  Mama, if you send me a picture, I’ll add it to this post.

I’d accuse my mother of being way too ambitious — except that she already did it, so really she was just being an overachiever.

I do weave, although not much, but nothing like what I’d need to create to duplicate this feat.  Not to mention I’d need a much bigger and better loom (any one know of a good loom, for cheap?).  But I do share several fabric arts with my mother, and I wanted to show off that skill.

So I am making my wedding dress and His wedding vest.

The trip to NYC with Himself, my mother, and His mother, was an adventure.  And, like many of the best things, the fabric I picked was not what I thought I wanted.  I got the color (mostly) right, and it is silk charmeuse.  But I had been thinking a solid color.  Still, when I came across it, after I’d already arranged for samples of something entirely different to be sent to me, I bought six yards on the spot.

Please pardon the fold marks, I might have been a little impatient and excited, and not taken the time to iron them out.

It was REALLY expensive per yard, and I got six yards, and I am very grateful to my Fairy Godmother for buying the fabric for me!  I really do have a Fairy Godmother, and not content with getting me one ball gown, I think she’s up to three!

Then it was time to pick a pattern, and on the advice of Herself and Nora, I went looking for a long, drapy pattern, with a cowl neck.  Not my usual style, but they insisted that’s what the fabric called for, and what’s the point of asking friends for advice in subjects you are less knowledgeable about if you are going to ignore their suggestions?

The pattern is Simplicity 1909.  Replace the sleeves with something more floaty, cut the train out and hem it a few inches higher — okay!  Ready, set, sew!

But I really didn’t want to cut into that fabric while trying out a new pattern.

Okay, back up, sort through stash, find muslin to make a practice dress.  Muslin won’t drape the same as the silk charmuese, but at least I’ve have an idea of where the seams go, what size of the pattern to use, how long to make the skirt.


Why am I spending good time and fabric on a dress just to throw it out?  Muslin is not pretty — but I can make a pretty dress and still figure out what size to use and where the seams go.  Mmmhmm.

A few months ago, a member of my Sewing Circloid (we’re not a circle, because we don’t follow patterns enough to make a circle) invited us all to her house to sort through her stash of thirty years and take some of it out of her house.  I ended up with several lovely lengths of fabric, including several of black lace, and teal something or other.  Not sure what it is, but it doesn’t breathe and is very light and floaty.  The pattern calls for an outer layer and a lining, and if I make the black lace the outer layer, and not sure I have enough of the teal, but it can be shorter or something . . . . .

The first thing I discovered about the pattern is that it was not designed for a lace outer layer.  The pattern calls for all the seams edges to be tucked between the two layers — invisible from the outside, and not scratchy from the inside.  With lace and it’s lack of opacity on the outside, this wasn’t an option.  The pieces were all cut out according to the pattern, but every seam had to be reconsidered.  This one, I folded both layers over and hemmed, where the pattern called for the seam to be done with rights sides together, and then reversed.  That one, I did all four layers together and then iron flat, where the pattern called for the outer layer to be seamed and then the inner layer seamed separately.  It was VERY INTERESTING.

But I got it done.  And then I wore it to a wedding.  One person murmured behind me that they’d “thought it was an informal wedding.”  Several people complimented me on my dress, and at least one refused to believe that I’d made it.  It was very flattering!

And this past weekend, at Sewing Circloid, I swore to loudly that I was going to ruin the entire thing!  Absolutely!  Without a doubt!  And then cut into the actual fabric for the wedding dress.



Filed under sewing

7 responses to “Practicing Wedding Dress Construction

  1. Anonymous

    Well do I remember your mother’s wedding dress. She didn’t just weave, cut out, and sew it; she made it look really, really easy to do! It was an exceptional dress.
    She wore that dress to my post-wedding….being a “wedding” dress and all. What else ought one wear to a wedding? (Jovanne also wore *her* wedding dress to my post-wedding.) So with that lesson in mind, *I* wore *my* wedding dress to Barbara and Patri’s wedding…..being a “wedding” dress and all!

    Your practice dress is stunning!

    (Ahhh, weddings. Awesomeness!) Cassandra

  2. Nora

    VERY good choice on that pattern, and while not your usual thing, look very good on you.

  3. I LOVE that neckline. beautifully done. You’re so talented Roza!!

  4. Ellen in Conn

    It will be beautiful, and you, too.

  5. Dragan

    I don’t know what cheap is for a loom, but I do know someone who is trying to sell a loom that is in good shape. I don’t know why I didn’t think of you before. Let’s make that happen.

  6. Pingback: Making One’s Own Wedding Dress | rozaanthony

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