Wedding Dress Part V: Embroidering the Bodice

Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comThis is probably the making of part of the wedding dress I am most excited to share with you! That’s very likely because it was the most fun part to create. Assembling a garment is fun, but it is also pretty repetitive as it is a similar process with many garments (even a wedding dress is just a dress after all). So trying something I haven’t done before was exciting and helping me loads to keep my sewing mojo up during the process.

The embroidery was initially part of the plan but I kind of discarded the idea once I started making my dress. I thought I wouldn’t have enough time because I procrastinated for too long and didn’t really start until five months before the wedding.

While making my dress I was really unhappy about not using embroidery and also, the dress seemed to become a lot plainer than I wished.

Eight weeks before the wedding, when I knew I could finish the dress on time, I decided to take a week out of the sewing schedule (which I didn’t stick to anyway) to try my hand at embroidering. I had never done this before, I didn’t have an embroidery frame, I didn’t even have the notions yet.

Not a particularly promising outlook, right? I decided not to get a frame and experiment with a DIY solution, and also ordered relatively cheap acryl beads, diamonds and sequins online.
Wedding dress embroidery by

At first I experimented with shapes and arragement of the different sized and coloured beads etc. I roughly stuck to the embroidered pattern of the Jenny Packham Esme dress I based my wedding dress on.

It’s a beautiful Art Deco style pattern which really suits the 1930’s silhouette of the dress. I changed it a bit here and there and also used a different colour of sequins to match my fabric. The colour of the sequins is hard to describe, it’s not gold or rose gold. Actually more like a warm silver if that makes sense? It reflected the colour of the fabric really well which helped ‘carmouflaging’ the sequins a bit so they weren’t too loud.

Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comBefore testing out DIY embroidery frame solutions, I used a small embroidery hoop to check if my fabric was suitable for embroidering.

My lining fabric is silk satin and my main fabric silk chiffon (although I’d say it’s a silk organza rather than a silk chiffon). Anyway, the fabrics are way too delicate to hold the strain of heavy embroidery, so I got some extra silk georgette in the exact same colour (which was lucky) when I bought my wedding dress fabrics last summer.

The georgette is as lightweight and transparent as the chiffon/organza, but much stronger and actually worked really well with my embroidery attempts:Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comOnce I got the knack of it, I had to think about creating a larger frame which would fit the whole of my bodice plus seam allowance. I used some styroform boards and pinned the fabric on it very tightly. The advantage was also that I could pin my template underneath so I didn’t have to mark the pattern on the fabric.

Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comHere you can see my template underneath the fabric, which I drew with pencil on drafting paper to make sure the pattern was neat and mirrored exactly.

The outline of the seamline was marked on the fabric with basting stitches.Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comI actually didn’t use too many different kinds of beads and diamonds:

  • cream white rocailles beads
  • silver rocailles beads
  • transparent beads
  • sequins (silver/gold coloured)
  • 3 different sizes of acryl diamonds (5mm, 10mm, 12mm)

Wedding dress embroidery by
Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comI had roughly outmapped the lines and shapes, but the exact positions and arrangement of beads and diamonds came about during the creative process.

It was so much fun, it was hard to stop. But I had to get on with the rest of the dress, so I limited the amount of embroidery compared to the Packham dress and only embroidered the bodice front and back pieces.

It took a week and three seasons of Homeland to finish.

My back hurt a lot during that time, but it was absolutely worth it. Embroidery like knitting can be very addictive because it so relaxing in a way.Wedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by thisblogisnotforyou.comWedding dress embroidery by

What do you think? Do you have any experience with embroidery?

Next time I’ll share the last steps of assembling the actual dress before the big reveal! So make sure you pop by!



Happy sewing!


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Leather Bag Making-Of

making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comHey ho!

Let me warn you – this post contains a LOT of pictures.

I always love to see what other creative people make, but what I love even more is seeing how they actually did it. Making-of posts are probably my favourites.Projecting the same onto you and assuming you like to see lots of bad pictures of unfinished stuff, I wrote up this post about how I made the leather bag from two thrifted leather coats.

Since we can’t get enough of her, here’s another before pic of this creepy beauty:Leather Coat Refashioned into Leather Bag by

Before I started, I cleaned the leather. Generally, it was in quite a good condition, but there was a bit of build up of dust and dirt in the seams and on the patch pockets.

I simply cleaned the soiled areas with a damp, soapy cloth (not rubbing too hard). Make sure you don’t use any aggressive soaps when treating leather. This really worked well and I got rid off all stains.

making-of a leather bag by

I cut out the two front and back panels first (two rectangles) which I then quilted. I should have used some backing, but somehow I didn’t think of that. It worked anyway, but I guess the quilting would’ve looked a bit more ‘three-dimnesional’.

Anyhow, I used my dot and cross paper to get perfectly parallel lines. The paper is great since the dots/crosses are exactly 2cm/4cm apart. The paper was also really helpful dealing with the sticky leather. Sewing over the paper solved the problem of not having a teflon presser foot. The paper could be easily removed after sewing since it is really thin.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comAfter I quilted the front and back panels, I cut out the bottom panel and sewed it all together. I glued the seam allowance to the bottom panel and then topstitched along the seams with my edge stitch foot.making-of a leather bag by

You can see that I recycled the leather by some weird seamlines which I couldn’t avoid to include when I cut out the panels. But you barely can notice it on the fnished bag.

I cut out a big rectangle from some old curtain fabric and glued it onto the bag panel to give it a bit of support.
making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comI cut out the upper facing and inserted the magnetic bag clasp. You can order these online, they’re quite inexpensive.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by

I applied piping to the panels before sewing in the side panels. I sewed one of the patch pockets onto the front panel with my sewing machine. I should’ve topstitched by hand since it looked a bit messy.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comNext, I made the straps. making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe drawstring wasn’t quite thick enough, that’s why the straps are quite soft.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comAll these layers of leather plus the cord did not fit under my machine (although I used the zipper foot), so I decided I had to sew it by hand.
making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comI used some pegs to hold the leather in place, since you can’t use pins – they leave small holes in the leather.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comAlrighty, still with me?

Now, the lining.

I recycled the lining of the pink coat, chopping off the bottom part, cutting out two rectangles. I sewed them together and underlined them with purple curtain fabric I had lying around. The satin lining otherwise would’ve been not stable enough and might’ve easily ripped (my sister carries a lot of stuff around!).making-of a leather bag by can see the weird seamlines again)making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comI sewed the leather facing to the lining and topstitched close to the seam.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comI sewed the side seams of the lining. This is how it looks “right side” out.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comTo make the lining fit the shape of the bag, I boxed the corners:making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comInstead of chopping them off, I handstitched the corner to the bottom seam.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comTo avoid another messy patch pocket, I topstitched the inner pocket onto the lining by hand. Took way too much time, but was absolutely worth the trouble.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comI used the small holed of the previous topstitching.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comTime to sew bag and lining together!!

making-of a leather bag by

Bag placed in lining, right sides together, I sewed up the seams of front/back panel. I left the seams of the side panels open, so I could turn the bag inside out.
making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comAnd yey, this is where the ripping happened.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comIn the end it wasn’t such a big deal, although it was frustrating. I could fix it with some topstitching.

After turning the bag inside out, I started topstitching all the way around the upper edge, closing the side panel seams.making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comThis part was the most frustrating one, as it took ages and topstitching leather by hand is a really unrewarding job. My fingers hurt for days.making-of a leather bag by

making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comHere a closeup on the strap (and the messed up topstitching on the front pocket).making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by

I really love the piping, it gives the bag a sporty look which was exactly the right thing for my little sis.

Here you can see facing and lining:

making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.commaking-of a leather bag by

making-of a leather bag by thisblogisnotforyou.comDone!

And, guess what? The bag arrived in the mail today and I got a lot of happy texts from my little sister. Glad she loves it!Leather Coat Refashioned into Leather Bag by

Have you made something from leather or are planning to do so?


Happy sewing!

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