Wedding Dress Part I: Decisions, decisions!

thisblogisnotforyou.comA couple of months ago, when I helped my friend Daniela with her beautiful handmade wedding dress and the various little crisis involved in such a massive project, I had absolutely no idea that I might face the same questions a few weeks later! Well, here I am and having said YES (and being a sewing addict) I’m faced with a bunch of decisions to be made.

The first big question:

WILL I MAKE MY OWN DRESS?

For me it was a definitive yes from the beginning. Here’s why:

  • Sewing my own clothes has made me super picky in regards to fit, style, fabric quality and finishes. How will I possibly manage to find a ready-made dress that ticks off all these criteria and doesn’t cost a fortune? It’s hard to control all these factors and stay within the budget if you buy a dress of the rack.
  •  I’m a big fan of couture and try to use as many techniques as possible when making garments. Having the opportunity at trying my hand at making a full on couture gown is just too tempting. It’s the perfect excuse to buy all the lovely, expensive fabrics I wouldn’t buy otherwise.
  • The thought of having a super unique dress that is 100% my style and then being able to say: ‘I’ve made this’!

Looking at it realistically, it is simply sewing a dress. I’ve sewn many dresses and most of them were pretty wearable. So why not?

The next step:

PLANNING THE DESIGN

Every sewing projects involves quite a few decisions you have to make before you start. What garment to you want to make? What style and pattern? Fabric? Colours and prints? Embellishments?

I started by looking at loads of dresses, especially the ones by my favourtie designers. Pinterest is a big help. I basically pinned everything I liked. At this point I thought I’m never going to make it. I just couldn’t make up my mind.

Kaviar Gauche

Augusta Jones

Papilio

Silk taffeta, silk chiffon, tulle, lace, satin? Embellishments? Sleeves or straps or neither? Ballgown, A-line, mermaid, empire? Short, long, tea-length? Oh, and then there’s not only simply white dresses! This struggle is real, people!

It took me about a month to realise that you really have to narrow it down to “the one” before you can start. This is the hardest, but most necessary part I think. After looking at dresses for over a month I had formed a pretty clear idea of what I liked and what I didn’t like. I dismissed some old ideas and picked quite a few of my favourite dresses.

Some of you might disagree with the idea, but I sat down with the Mr himself and tried to narrow it down to a few styles that we both liked. In the end this was the most helpful thing to do. Seriously! I wouldn’t want to spend months making something that he might hate in the end. Our tastes are quite different and in the end there was only one that we both loved. (Yes, loved, not liked! Liking, in this case, just isn’t enough!)

So we took all that we liked most of the design we picked and added some of our own touches and details we liked on other dresses. We made definite decisions on fabrics, colours and so on. The Mr is really good with making final decisions, which helps a lot. Nothing is worse than making a decision and starting to question it again and again. Make it, stick to it. The sewing process is flexible enough to change little detail here and there if something doesn’t work out the way you planned it.

Photo by Photo: Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey Wedding Dress Fabric Glossary. Found on: www.realsimple.com

Allure Bridals

SHOPPING FOR FABRICS

First, I set a budget. The budget will also guide you when shopping for fabrics. Chiffon or silk chiffon? Satin or silk satin? Tulle or lace? This is not only a design question but also a question of costs.

If it comes down to the pennies, you might want to sew a muslin first, to see how much fabric you really need.

Also, go with your guts. When I went fabric shopping, I only wanted to get fabric for the muslin. I found the most gorgeous, perfect fabric in the end. I knew that I would regret not buying it and then spend loads of time finding something similar later on. The fabric was just within my budget and I went ahead and got it that day. It’s super scary but a relief at the same time. 

Apart from buying the fabric and fabric for making a toile, I haven’t progressed any further yet. We’re moving into a new flat soon (finally!) and I’ll wait until I have my dedicated sewing space back before I start working on the pattern.

Have any of you made your own dresses? Any advice you’d like to share? And those of you who decided against it, I’d love to hear why!

xx

Charlie


Happy sewing!

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25 thoughts on “Wedding Dress Part I: Decisions, decisions!

      1. Thanks Charlie, I think its an interesting part of how/why we sew, everyone assumes its a cheap way of making clothes but its not, then again it is cheaper than tailored clothes 🙂

  1. How exciting!! I am in the middle of umming and ahhing over whether I’ll make my wedding dress – I’ve decided that once we choose a venue and date I’ll see if it’s realistic for me to do my own.
    Can’t wait to see how you get on – good luck!

  2. I made mine last year, best decision ever. Enjoy the process, give yourself a lot of time. And also, there will be mistakes and shortcuts, but don’t worry, I still had raw seams inside my dress at the end, but it didn’t matter

  3. Exactly 46 years ago I got married in the most beautiful gown. My maid of honor helped me cut it and I sewed it all by myself. I was never sorry to have done it and I would still have it if it hadn’t perished in a fire.

  4. Amazing, how exciting! Can’t wait to see how you get on… And huge congratulations too!

    For my wedding dress, I had it sewn by a proper seamstress (I am definitely not up to that level!) following an original 1940s dress. But then obviously altering for me. I loved it so much. Knowing it was a complete unique was great and, much though I would have loved a vintage dress, it was much better that it actually fit me properly, ha ha. I’m sure everyone was waaaaay smaller in the ’40s…

  5. Ah congratulations! It’s a great adventure, and you won’t regret it.

    I made mine 3 years ago, when I was quite a novice sewer. It took me 10 months but it was an enjoyable process, and I loved learning all the couture techniques so quickly. Anyway here is a link to the finished product, which also links to many in-progress posts in case any would be helpful: http://www.queenofdarts.com/p/my-wedding-dress.html

  6. Thanks again for holding my hand Charlie! It’s a pity I’m not in the country to hold yours, but if you should ever be in a sewing crisis just give me a call 🙂 But I doubt you will as you are much more determined and confident. I love your design ideas and especially the fact that you and the Mr chose the dress together. My husband 🙂 helped me a lot with the fitting and I wouldn’t have been able to sew the dress without him. So I’m looking forward to see little sneak peaks of your construction and fabric choice 🙂

  7. When I got married I wasn’t quite up to sewing my own dress yet! Just didn’t have the skills at that time. Now, almost 40 years later, I’ve sewn all 3 of my daughters, several nieces, and a whole lot of other wedding dresses for others. Like around 40 or so, not counting alterations for others also.
    At first you have to think of it as just another dress…. albeit a very fancy one at that. Don’t let it overwhelm you…. you will be your own worst critic! Soooo, make it so it makes you happy! If you don’t want to make it exactly how it is in the pattern…. don’t! Years ago I used to work at a fabric store, people would come in and tell me what they were working on and then say…. what if I make a mistake? With a straight face, I would tell them; well I guess that means the Sewing Police will come knock on your door and haul you away!! If you make a mistake, fix it, work around it…. as Whatshisface from Project Runway always says…. Make It Work! Oh, and one more thing…. enjoy the process, you are getting married, he will look at the dress and then into your eyes and as long as he loves you and you love him…. that’s all that matters!

  8. Oh Charlie, herzlichen Glückwunsch! Bin leider gerade erst auf den Post gestoßen, als ich meinen Feed bei Bloglovin mal sortiert habe. Ich freue mich sehr für dich. Und ein tolles Projekt, was du da jetzt vor dir hast! Viel Spaß dabei.

  9. I made my daughters dress at her insistence, I’d much rather have bought her one, it was such a big responsibility. But it was fun in the end even though figuring out how to get a full lace strapless gown with a huge train to stay up on her frame was a logistic nightmare, we finally pulled it off. It was so heavy! Congratulations!

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