The “The Dress” Dress
So maybe it’s cheating a bit to present my wedding dress for this week’s challenge since I didn’t make it with The Sew Weekly in mind. But, in my defense, I was going for a 1930s look when I designed it and since I finished this “project” just under a month ago, I think it counts.
So, yes, yes, yes, I’m a newlywed and all that fun stuff.
Ideas for the dress had been floating around my since my guy and I decided to tie the knot last December. Of course, since dressmaking is kinda my thing it was extremely important to me that I make my own wedding dress. It would have been weird for me to buy a dress that is actually The Dress. This is the big one, you know? If ever I were to be asked “Did you make it?” this is when I wanted to say “Yes, YES!”.
So, since I happen to dream (in black and white) of being Myrna Loy, a long, lean, and drapey gown was what I wanted most. I also wanted a sheer silk chiffon . . . ivory with green sprigs of flowers. Alas, if there’s any two things I’ve learned during my engagement it is 1) even brides don’t always get what they want and 2) there is an end to the internets and that end is, apparently, ivory sheer silk chiffon with green sprigs of flowers on it. The fabric that I eventually fell for is off-white, synthetic (sigh.) chiffon printed with silver rings.
The dress in my head, of course, had amazingly intricate bias cut panels on the sides and back of the skirt, but since I was working with a symmetrical pattern (the circles are all line up in rows) the design had to be simplified. Another issue related to the fabric was that the pattern was not printed exactly on the grain. Getting everything to line up AND getting the proper drape was a challenge. It took two rounds of bodices to get the neckline right – one side would just stretch no matter what.
Horror stories aside, I am pretty proud of my work and was extremely happy with the outcome. Actually, “extremely happy” sounds lame. This was The Dress after all. I really don’t have words. I will say that I might have cried a little when it was done and I tried it on. Good tears.
So, in a nutshell: The entire dress is sheer, which means LOTS of really long french seams. I made a separate satin slip to wear underneath. The original intent was to have a simple gray, velvet ribbon at the waist, but I wanted to feel a little more “pulled in” so in the eleventh hour I added a fully lined waistband with gathered fabric hand stitched in place. I added an extra triangular piece to the back for drape and a slight train. Then, bias cut (at least I got something) ruffles along the bottom and up the back. Mostly I did this for weight since the fabric is so light. Also, who doesn’t like a good ruffle now and then? I mean, c’mon. High-cut v-neck dress over low-cut slip. Side zip. Ruffles for sleeves. Ta-daaaa!
- Fabric: Synthetic Chiffon. Ivory with silver rings. I used white satin for the slip.
- Pattern: The dress is all me. The slip underneath is Vintage Vogue 2859 sans slit.
- Year: I was going for 1930s film star, so . . .
- Notions: Zipper, thread, sheer bias-cut tricot. (The last item is my secret weapon against the edges/seams of sheer fabric. It’s impossible to find, so I cut my own.)
- Time to complete: Months (and months). I took my time so as not to get burned out.
- First worn: August 11. My wedding day.
- Wear again? I wish. Although I have no intention of getting married again. Very tricky.
- Total price: I don’t even want to think about wedding costs (although we didn’t go bonkers or anything) but I would guess, all in all, somewhere in the $100-$150 range.
And yes, the wedding was nothing but wonderful, sweet, lovely (and love-filled) fun. I AM a happy girl.