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The Great Wedding Dress Project.

As some of you may know Geoff and I are also engaged and getting married this August! Yay! So, to all my brides out there, if you ever want to talk wedding, I am down! Anywhoo, anyone who knows me well (or even a little bit) knows that I adore making stuff and am one crafty little devil. That’s the reason why we are going the DIY route for most of our wedding stuff including…(fanfare) da, da, da! The Dress! So far it has been a labor of love that I have been working on for the past 6 months. It’s not done yet, but I thought I’d do a little write-up on the process. (Sorry this will be a long post!)

It all started with my inspiration – the tea/cocktail length, natural waisted, fifties-style party dress. I knew I wanted something fun and and I looooooove the retro stylings of fifties fashion. I drew inspiration from an amazing dressmaker, Dolly Thicke of Dolly Couture. Then found and fell in love with this dress by designer Elie Saab.

Can we say SWOON?! I loved the lines and shape and set out on a mission to make a similar dress with my own flair.

I also stumbled across this dress:

Wowza. I instantly loved the idea of the multicolored petticoat and knew this would be a part of my dress as well. (images by the talented Aaron Delesie)

So work started in January with some practice mockups. (Very rough, and excuse the messy backgrounds). I am pretty much creating the whole thing without a pattern, aside from the built in corset.

Here I figured out that I want a gathered skirt, not a circle skirt as pictured above.

Trying to figure out the gathers on the bodice.

A practice petticoat.

After making and adjusting the corset top about 3-4 times I had my custom pattern pieces that fit me like a glove.

So, every gigantic project has to have a stupid mistake and here’s mine. I completed making the corset top and was ready to start adding the top layer of fabric that would become the gathers that crossed under the bust. So I’m pinning away into the corset, getting all my gathers in place and looking good. I’m ready to sew so I unpin everything and notice my dress form is wet. The substance is an unscented slippery goo. Thats when I realize the bust inserts I had use on the bodice were gel filled and I had been sticking about a million pins into them. Gel gunk is all over the inside of the corset. The bodice is ruined. My poor dress form is now oddly discolored. (see photo below)

I can only laugh at myself for being so dumb. BUT, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? The incident only gave me the opportunity to make and even BETTER bodice from scratch.

Bodice done-ish. Onto the skirt. I learned this really cool way of gathering fabric. Take a piece of string and use your longest, widest zig-zag stitch and sew over it. the just pull the string and viola! Instant gathers! This helps big time when you have over 5 yards of fabric to gather.

So after 6 months it’s finally starting to look like a dress! Here it is un-hemmed and way too long.

Here I pinned it up a bit. The length will me more along these lines.

I still have a lot to do. I might add some flowers to the hem and of course need to make the 10+ petticoats all in different colors, which will take a loooong time, but it’s coming along! I’ll post updates when I can. Three months from tomorrow we’ll be married!


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