Thank you all so much for your well wishes and congratulations! I’ll admit, the wonderfulness of being engaged had quite taken me by surprise – I never expected to ‘feel different’ because of it. But it’s super exciting and so much fun! Whilst we’d been talking about it for aggggesss… and had gone ring shopping together prior to the official proposal, he still managed to surprise me (easy thing really, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to picking up on stuff like that).
Planning is well underway, but… do I have the gumption to sew my own wedding dress? I’d been mulling over this question since we started talking (in a non-joking, non-awkward way) about getting engaged. Back then, I found myself hesitant towards the idea… I’m curious to know what you think?
By the time we were engaged, the concept was firmly stuck in my head as a ‘Yes, yes I will’.
Is it, after all – just a dress. But what a dress! It’s a chance to sew something special, to bring together all of the skills I’ve been so busily acquiring over the last 2-3 years. And I’d be lying if there wasn’t a part of me that wants to shove sewing fabulousness in the faces of people who gave me weird looks when I first started wearing my own clothes :P Let’s not forget the chance to sew with some ah-may-zing fabrics!
I’m not quite sure where the point was when I switched from being daunted to being decided. Where previously terror reigned at the mere thought, there’s now a quiet determination to break it down into manageable chunks and the confidence that, yeah, I could probably do this, and do it half decently well too.
So, Project Wedding Dress is on, people. I started by trawling the interwebs for ladies who have already walked this path:
Kat – The Engineer’s Other Life sewed Vogue 8150 with the most drapelicious silk double georgette for her elopement, and looked damn good!
Molly – Toferet’s Empty Bobbin sewed Style Arc’s Pippa Dress and looked amazing.
Veanna – SoSewLovely not only sewed Burda 108 (March 2010 magazine) for her ceremony, but she also sewed the stunning red dress with Vogue 1030 for her reception. Incredible!
Clare – Sew Dixie Lou made a gorgeous vintage inspired lace dress – the pattern for which she drafted herself. Respect.
Stephanie – Orchids in May sewed her own lace-confection creation from Vogue 2979.
Melissa – Fehr Trade refashioned her grandmothers wedding gown! I’m impressed!
Mel – The Curious Kiwi sewed her sleek white gown, looked lovely and wrote extensively about the subject!
Plus there’s a whole stack of other ladies featured on Burdastyle who have sewn their own. I’m sure there are many other’s blogged that I haven’t yet stumbled across too (do let me know if you know any good ones!).
After going on a pinning frenzy (honestly, how did people plan weddings pre-Pinterest???), I decided to follow Mel’s sew-your-own-wedding-dress advice and spend some time trying on dresses. I grabbed my best gal-pals and hit the major wedding dress destination streets and tried on everything. From poofy big-fat-greek-wedding-style dresses, to vintage and all the way to more modern, sleek and streamlined gowns, and as I’d suspected, there was a BIG discrepancy between what I thought I would like versus what I actually like to see on me. How often have you oogled a garment on a mannequin/someone else only to discover that when you actually put it on, all the magic is gone?
I was dead-set against wearing a strapless white gown, for instance. So it was a serving of humble pie for me when 1 of my top 3 favourite dresses tried on was a white, strapless number. Be still, my traitorous heart.
I’ve always been a fan of the idea of wearing a coloured dress. And by coloured, I do not mean ivory, cream or pale pink! Should I even mention that another in my top three tried on favourites was a sequinned number? ;) Regardless, wedding dress shopping is an amazing opportunity to geek out investigating various applique, lace, boning and embellishment details in the change rooms… Not to mention being able to chat to the people who are living the dream.
I’ve often daydreamed about quitting my day-job and begging the J’Aton boys for an apprenticeship.
Whilst I probably won’t start sewing in earnest until early next year (plenty of time yet, people) I have a few ideas mapped out in my head and I’m secretly hoping to hear the siren song of the fabric-to-be when shopping in New York… Wish me luck.
So… would you sew your own wedding dress?
Congratulations Melanie!! You just have to make your own wedding dress! You have already the sewing skills and style – so go for it!! Exciting times for you!!! All the best.
Thanks so much Evelyn :) It’s going to be a fun journey!
Hahaha you obviously already know that I would (and did!)…
I tried on dresses in shops too. My deciding factor was that the only ones I was even close to happy with (both in terms of design and quality) were ones that I was sure I could sew for about a quarter of the price. And even those ones didn’t fit me in the way that I prefer. And they weren’t silk (which I desperately wanted).
You can definitely do this. The hardest part is choosing the pattern… because the possibilities are endless! That’s a good thing though, because if you making it then you can have exactly what you want. Go Mel! :-)
I certainly did :) And yes – it’s GOT to be silk. The only poly in my gown will be the thread. Fabric snob? For sure! And yeah, the pattern is the pain. There isn’t anything quite like what I’m liking at this stage, so it will be a combination of self-drafted and franken-patterns I think. I’m planning on dedicating a lot of time towards getting the practise right before I even think about cutting into the real deal… Thanks Kat! x
No, I wouldn’t. But if I could sew as well as you, I would. Have fun in all your dress planning! Your research list isn’t complete until you’ve read about this gown:
I won’t lie… it still is very daunting! And when trying on dresses I was soooo tempted to just buy one. But really, I’d be cheating myself of such an opportunity. And thanks a million for the link – I’m going to check it out right now :)
I’m with you here! My wedding’s next October and I’ve already decided I’m making mine. There’s been a lot of fear and tons and tons of pins on pinterest (only mine has to be a private board because fiancé is as obsessed with pinterest as I am) but I’m actually doing it.
I’ve read a lot of reviews to buy Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer (which I borrowed from the library and it’s AMAZING – about to buy it now) and Bridal Couture by Susan Khalje (who I think you’re taking a class with?? I’ll admit it my jaw dropped when you blogged about that because it’s the most quoted Bridal Sewing Book ever).
I had to break things down and really look at the style lines on some patterns that were vaguely familiar to me. My action plan at the moment is to make take Gertie’s bombshell class to make that great bustier with boning in it to demystify the boning part of the dress. This bustier will be my plan A for the top of the wedding dress. I’ve also got a plan B because I’m a stresshead and I need a safe and simple option if my sewing’s not up for it. In which case I might adapt the Cambie to look a little bit like this one http://sewaholic.net/beccas-cambie-wedding-dress/
The only thing that has kept me sane in this planning process is having an easier option up my sleeve. I’m hoping I won’t need it but it’s there and it’s comforting.
Also I’ve been sewing for around 3 years as well so I think we’re at a similar level.
Luckily for me my future Mother in Law is a trained seamstress so I’m sure it will be great for both of us to work on the dress if I freak out at any stage.
If you need to chat to someone going through the same thing as you over the next year I’m here!
Thanks Jodie!! Yes – wedding dress sewing buddies! We’ll definitely have to keep each other informed :) Have you watched gertie’s class before? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how achieveable a great looking bustier will be with her walking you through it! I’ve got the bridal couture book AND claire shaeffer’s book… they’re AMAZING. And yep, I will be sewing with the master in just under a fortnight!! I can’t WAIT. Between me doing that course and your mum’s knowledge, I’m sure we can both pull it off :) YAY!
I work for 25/7 Productions — an LA-based production company (The Biggest Loser, The Vineyard, Flip Men) — and we’re doing a new show about brides who make their own wedding dresses.
I would love to Skype interview you both about your experience making your dresses — we’re looking for brides at all stages of the process from planning thru just remembering the experience.
Would either or both of you be willing to do a little Skype with us? And/or do you know any other DIY Brides who’d like to chat? Please let me know if you’d like to talk! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time! I hope to hear from you soon!
I wasn’t sewing when I got married, but if it was now, I would definitely make my dress! I made my best friend’s a couple of years ago, it was stressful but I was so happy I did it. My best advice would be leave yourself double the amount of time you think it-and each bit!- will take! Here’s my effort on my rather neglected blog http://www.toboldlysew.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/here-comes-the-bride/
Congratulations! I’m already looking forward to seeing what you come up with :-)
Thanks Nancy!! Maybe if you guys both decide to renew your vows at some point you can sew a gorgeous frock for that! I’ll definitely take your advice on board… I’m blocking out most of the first quarter of next year to sew it!
I did and loved doing it. I had completed Gertie’s bombshell dress and Susan Khalje’s Craftsy classes so I felt I had enough resources to give it a shot. Though I am not running out to sew with more beaded fabric as the gaps in my floor boards are still full of broken beads and I don’t think my machine had ever hated so much. Its a great opportunity to play with some exquisite fabric that usually I couldn’t justify purchasing. But yes the biggest problem is the pattern as the options are literally endless!!
Oh awesome! Seriously, those two classes are the best – I’ve got them both and they are such a great wealth of information and techniques! I know, I’m totally drawn to the luxe fabric factor… I’m beginning to get really excited about this :) Thanks Michelle!
I loved my wedding dress. It had a silver satin skirt and a charcoal velvet bodice that I found on eBay for $20 (New in the package, never worn!). I wore a vintage 1960’s coat with it as we were married in February in Northern Ontario, Canada. I would have loved to have made a dress to wear to the reception, but I did make all the flowers (crepe paper roses), as well as my bridesmaids’ tartan shawls.
Zoe from So Zo made her wedding dress in a gorgeous non-traditional colour:
Sarai from Colette Patterns also made her own dress. It’s gorgeous! http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/10610/sarais-wedding-dress#
I am really looking forward to seeing your design :) Just make what you love! People can get so judgemental about weddings when, in fact, it’s your day and your future. Go for it!!
Oh it sounds lovely, and oh so you! Thanks for those two links – I was just perusing Zoe’s posts about that gorgeous peacock frock she made – beautiful. And the lace detailing on Sarai’s dress is breathtaking!! So much inspiration, it’s a shame we can’t have excuses to wear dresses like this on a more regular basis :) Lovely to hear from you – as always x
Congratulation Melanie. I didn’t make mine – I bought a “customized ready to wear” from an Australian designer. Depending on your budget there’s something luxurious about having a wedding dress you (ie. me) don’t have the skill set to make.
What ever you decide I’m sure you’ll look amazing.
I’m very envious of your trip to Susan Khajlie’s class – I learned so much from her online class. Have fun.
Oh, I’m hearing you. When trying on dresses in shops, I was tempted to just go the instant purchase route – but I know if I did I’d always regret it! I like the idea of the challenge ;) Thanks Suellen!
Congratulations! If I were you, I would totally make the dress! You do a killer job with difficult fabrics and couture techniques. I started my dress and was rescued by a friend with more skills than I possessed at the time. If I were getting married now, I would make my dress but set my sights on a design/fabric combo that was more suited to my skills (which have grown but still aren’t necessarily ball-gown ready). Best of luck with your dress – I’m so excited to see what you end up making.
Thanks so much Morgan!! I’m actually really excited for the journey this is going to be… and I’ve just realised that I never transferred my follower status from your blogger to your wordpress. I’m going to enjoy back-reading your posts now, as I see you’ve been busy!!
Oh, I can’t wait to see how this progresses! I know it’s going to be incredible. I didn’t sew my wedding dress because I didn’t sew back then, but if I were to get married today, I like to think I would go for it. :) Dixie of Dixie DIY is in the process of making her wedding dress right now actually!
Thanks Susan – I’m excited for the journey! I did see Dixie working hard on her wedding macaron – very, very cool :)
I’ve known I’m going to sew my own since I started sewing, like 20 years ago! My vision for it changes every week, but whatever, mine won’t be for a few years yet. I love the pictures you included here, can’t wait to see what you do!
Cool! It’s hard to tie it down to one particular thing, isn’t it? Thanks :)
Congratulations and I wish you all the very best!!!! I’m sure you’ll have a great time with the sewing journey, oh and all the other excitement to do with the wedding prep too!!
Thanks Veanna!! I certainly hope so :)
So excited! Even if you won’t be making it for a while I can’t wait to see it. I am not even close to being engaged/married but I had been thinking about it because someone once told me the only thing you shouldn’t sew is your own wedding dress. My opinion was pft to that. I would totally make my own gown given the chance. Though I would totally be down with your plan of action – do some “shopping” to try on styles and whittle down the pattern options. I am sure whatever you do will be fantastic. Congrats again!
Really? My response to that would also be pffft. I can kinda understand why, after going and trying some swanky dresses on – the process is totally fabulous. But I would kick myself forever if I didn’t do this!! Besides, I love sewing just a little to much to deny myself the opportunity to play with such gorgeous fabrics. haha. Thanks hun!
Your wedding dress is going to be a masterpiece! I can’t wait to read about the journey! When I got married I had only been sewing for just two years. If I had another year to plan I would have had the confidence to sew my own dress. I made my wedding dance dress, which was white and lacy, so that was a compromise.
Maybe Robin and I should renew our vows as I would definitely make my own dress if I had the chance to now.
I certainly hope so… lets see what happens a little later on when I’m tearing my hear out and cursing at everything sewing related! ha! Your reception/dance dress was GORGEOUS. Maybe you should renew your vows, Mariah style – every year – so you can sew fabulousness every year! Oh wait… you always sew fabulousness anyway ;) Thanks Julia!!
i’m soooo glad you’re deciding to make your dress! you definitely have the skills, and face it–you wouldn’t be satisfied with a shop bought dress! after the initial booking of a place to have the wedding, food, and whatever else, so much of the busyness is last minute stuff. which means, so long as the dress is done a couple months ahead of time, it won’t add that much stress.
and to answer your questions, i didn’t make my wedding dress, but i had a hand in it. a friend of the family made mine, but ended up rushing the final product and basically it was a mess. so the week of the wedding, my mom (who, as it turns out, was a much more talented seamstress) and i took the thing apart and made it fit at the last minute (unbeknownst to the friend who had done the original sewing…). i kept my mom company at night when this all went down and did a bit of hand sewing of lace to the bodice. funny, i had completely forgotten about that story until just now!
Yeah… I think I would totally regret it if I didn’t give myself the chance to do this. It’s a once in a lifetime thing! You’re totally right about the shop dress thing. I’ll start it early next year (the wedding is in April) so four months of wedding dress dedication should be adequate. Everyone keeps saying to give it more time than I think I would need though… so I’ll probably jump the gun and start earlier. And goodness – that sounds so stressful! But so awesome that both you and your mother sew – very cool. Have you got pictures you’d be willing to share? I’d love to see it!
definitely give it more time than you think you need, but then again, i made my sister’s wedding dress last year and i really only worked on it in short bursts mixed in with other simple sewing projects for myself. take it in chunks and you’ll be fine! i’ll track down a pic of my wedding dress, i’m not sure i have a good one though! yeah… all our pics have been sitting in a box for oh… 11 yrs now… oops!
Oh I’d love to see it! 11 years? That’s pretty darn cool. You know, everyone’s made such a point about making sure I leave enough time to sew it, that I’m thinking of start it this side of Christmas, rather than next year (we’re getting married mid-April)….
Yay, go for it girl, there were times during that I wondered what the heck I was doing but it is so worth it in the end…and I agree, being engaged does feel “different” and before I got married lots of people said to me that it doesn’t change you, “it’s just a piece of paper” but even though we were together a long time before we got married I feel different, good different, I love being married ;)
Hehe – thanks Mel!! I’m sure I’ll get to the tear-my-hair-out stage soon, but right now I’m just plain excited. You know, so many of my married friends have confessed that the wonderful engaged feeling multiplies when you get married… so I’m really looking forward to that, too! x
Yes, I’ll be sewing my own dress! I got engaged in June, we haven’t set a date yet but the wedding will be in June or August next year.
I’m planning on trying on some dresses in store too, to make sure that what I have planned will suit me. In preparation for sewing the actual dress, I’ll be making some silk dresses as I haven’t sewed as much over the last five years as I did before that.
I’m really excited about making my own dress, I never thought that I would, but I know it would very difficult to find something in store that I would love as I’m very picky about materials and quality.
Good luck with sewing your dress – I’ll be following you along the way!
Oh how exciting!! The dress-trying on is really good actually – also because there’s no pressure because you KNOW you’re not going to go through with the process. I would highly recommend doing it – bit of a process of style elimination! You’ll have to keep me updated as to how you’re going as I post along the way too – I’d love to hear about it :) Thanks Anne!
Congratulations!! You should definitely go for it–you more than have the skills and the upcoming workshop with Ms. Khalje will probably help you answer any questions you might have. I made my wedding dress (just last spring, so this is all still fresh in my mind). I really only have two pieces of advice about it: first, be aware that sewing it can be stressful at times. I mean, this is kind of high stakes sewing. Having said that, just keep in mind that it will look gorgeous and that you are much, much more likely to notice any little problems than anyone else is. Second, allow yourself a lot of extra time–about double the time you think you’ll really need. I had plenty of time to sew, but other wedding stuff ended up taking a lot more time than I had anticipated. I’ll be curious to see what you think of Bridal Couture. It’s a fantastic resource, although some of the techniques are more applicable to older styles of wedding dresses, I think. I hope your have a really fantastic time sewing your gown! It is an amazing thing to wear something you created on your wedding day (especially when it’s all silk!!).
Thanks Darcy!! I’ve just been over to have a look at your dress… it’s gorgeous!!! LOVE it. I’ll definitely be taking your advice on board regarding the timeframe – I really don’t want to rush this. I’ve got the bridal couture book – it’s amazing. Ok, so the dresses are seriously dated, but still beautiful in their own right – and many of the techniques Susan talks about are still very practical (as far as practical and wedding dress belong in the same sentence). Who doesn’t love being covered head to toe in Silk? Dreamy.
Congratulations on both getting engaged and deciding to make your own dress! I made my own dress and loved the proces. That is, until the moment I was running out of time. When pressure was rising Icouldn’t think clearly, made little mistakes, got freaked out. Eventually everything came out fine, but with a little more time on my hands I would have enjoyed the preparations in a more relaxed way. I agree with Darcy: take your time and have fun!
Thanks Marianne, on both accounts! It seems that running out of time is a common thread among those who have sewn their own – so I’m definitely going to take that advice on board. Cheers!
Ha! Yeah–those last 2-3 weeks before the wedding get really, really hectic. You’re totally right, Marianne–once time gets in shorter supply, the sewing is a lot less fun and the little mistakes seem way more monstrous than they really are.
Well, I already had 2 weddings and I only recently started to sew so it is highly unlikely that I’ll ever sew a wedding dress. I think Cation Design also made a wedding dress for a friend of hers with a corset bodice (not sure whether it was strapless in the end).
Anyway I think it’ll be a fun thing to do if you get the bulk of it done early. A lot of little things creep up last minute with weddings, so you don’t really want to do lots of sewing last minute. Another thing is obvious but bears repeating: choose a pattern that is easily adjustable, because most brides lose weight (or put on weight) due to stress with organising it all.
Meanwhile I am all excited for you and look forward to seeing what you create :-)
I did see the dress Cindy made for her friend – it was pretty special! And purple and gold :) Yep – time management is going to be critical… but I’m surprised you’re the first to mention the issue with sizing!! I hadn’t thought about it either, but will definitely keep it in mind :) Thanks!
It was in the 89s, but I looooved sewing my wedding dress! I had a blast.
And there ain’t nothing wrong with that :) So glad to hear you enjoyed the experince, I’m looking forward to it!
Congratulations on your engagement. Yes, yes, make your dress! My advice – do a muslin, keep the silhouette simple, give yourself plenty of time and lastly – enjoy!
Thanks Valerie! I most definitely will :)
Congratulations! I would be far too scared to make my own wedding dress (plus, stress is so not my friend!), so I’m totally in awe of anyone who makes theirs. You have the skills and knowledge to do an amazing job, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what you create!
I’m not sure if anyone else has linked to this one – Alice of Moonbeam made her own dress and it’s stunning http://smoonbeam.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-wedding-dress.html
Thanks Elena! Even with all that… it’s still a scary undertaking. Good thing I love a challenge, because this is certainly going to be challenging!!! Cheers for the link too – I hadn’t ever come across this blog so I’m off to enjoy reading about it!
Hey! Thanks so much for the shout out. I really really really want to encourage you to take the leap and make your dress. Yes, it’s a big thing to do and at times it can feel quite stressful, with the added pressure of making the most important dress of your life. BUT! The memories and story you will have is priceless. I remember buying the fabric, cutting the pattern, fitting, the headaches, the highs…everything and the best, putting my dress on on my wedding day knowing I HAD MADE IT! You can’t top that. And now, I love having a look at my dress from time to time and will keep it with me forever. Go for it girl, you can do it! Plus you have a great support network here to help you with any stage.
My biggest help was Susan Khalje’s book, Bridal Couture, and the Sewing Forum (UK). There are so many experienced Bridal seamstresses on there that really helped me.
Ah, I loved reading this – you’ve captured all the exact reasons why I want to do this! Thanks so much Clare :) I’ve got that book… and I’ll have to check out the forum, sounds like a fabulous resource :)
I voted ‘no’ immediately and then started looking at the links you posted. Would definitely change my vote to a yes now! Actually, may just go and re-vote if it lets me…Good luck!
It’s scray enough that my first response would probably be a big fat no, too! But then it just draws you in and checking out everyone else’s creations – clearly it an be done, and done well… right? :)
Congratulations! So happy to hear your thinking of making your own dress! Have you considered making a similar dress (or a dress requiring similar construction techniques) in your Susan Khalje class? It would be an incredible opportunity to practice the techniques you might want to use. I loved making my own wedding dress & to be honest it made the walk down the aisle that little bit more special.
There are two pieces of advice I’d offer based on my experience. The first is to plan every detail in detail. It may sound crazy but I actually had a timing plan for the construction of my dress. I listed every single thing that I would need to do, set deadlines for everything & then forced myself to stick to it.
The second piece of advice I’d offer is to aim to finish the dress a few weeks before the wedding. I found that the last few weeks before I got married were filled with parties & catch-ups with friends & I’m so glad that I finished the dress early so that I could make the most of that – even though it meant that the week before my wedding I was on a diet of Mars bars & hot chips because I’d lost too much weight & my dress was a little too big!
Good luck with the sewing & I can’t wait to see the finished dress! :)
Thanks Stephanie! And yes, The dress I picked to make in the stats with Susan has all the techniques I want to learn that would also be extremely useful for wedding dress sewing :) So I’m thinking a Gantt chart is going to be required? hehe, sounds like good advise to me. I’ll definitely keep that all in mind. Time to dive in the deep end…
I think you could totally make your own dress. With your attention to detail and construction skills you will be more than fine. The biggest issue is settling on a design.
With mine, I bought off the rack, mostly because my dad was sick and there would have been no time to make one as I was completely down about it all (he passed away about 5 weeks before my wedding). If I had my time again I would definitely make it…like Julia perhaps we need to renew our vows :)
I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with and how your plans go.
Oh Liz that’s terrible! I’m so sorry to hear that :( A vow renewal sounds just like what you need. Then maybe in a few years time when we’ve all got self-sewn wedding/vow renewal dresses… we could have a ‘trash-the-dress’ photoshoot together – ha!
You are so so talented and I have no doubt in my mind that you would make a phenomenal dress!
Thanks Erin! I certainly hope so :)
Congratulations, what a wonderful project. I did sew my own wedding dress, and I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t perfect and now that I’m more experienced there’s a ton of things I would do differently (how did I not know about underlining?). But, for all its flaws it couldn’t have been more perfect. Plus, spending hours piecing lace was a way to make a very abstract idea (marriage) feel more tangible.
Here’s my pattern review, if you’re interested.
Hi Jessica – thank you for the link! You made SUCH a stunning dress :)
Given your talent and eye for detail, I just know your dress is going to be incredible!
I’m always back and forth on mine. On one hand, I’m so particular about quality now, I’m not sure any rtw gown will cut it (especially at a price I’m willing to pay for a wear-once dress). On the other hand, I know that same particularity will make it the most stressful project I will have ever worked on and I’m a little concerned I’ll be sick of looking at it by the time I’m done :P. I’m trying on dresses in November – I’m sure that will settle it one way or the other.
It’s tough, isn’t it? And i’ll let you know – trying on dresses is amazing because you get very, VERY tempted to just buy the thing! Thankfully I went to really high end shops so the dresses were waaaay out of what I would be willing to pay. So you lock yourself out of that option, but get to try on the outcome of someone elses amazing skills. I’m sure you’ll end up making your own…. and I hope you enjoy the process!
When I tried on wedding dresses the problem was that I said “I don’t want strapless” and they looked at me blankly and said “I’m afraid nearly all our dresses are strapless”. It must be so tough not to sew and not have choices. I look forward to seeing what you come up with – especially seeing as I happen to like your inspiration images so far. Hey, you pinned one of the K dresses from Vera Wang! Unfortunately I didn’t actually like the one named after me (I’m sure she was totally thinking of me when she named it). Come to think of it, she’s probably just about got to M by now… going to look…nope, looks like Spring 2014 will be the M collection.
Hi Kathleen – glad you like the inspiration images! There’s definitely a lot more variety in terms of gown shapes and details now – I did try on a lot of strapless dresses, but there were some really amazing cap sleeve, v-neck, frilled sleeve and others to keep me excited about it all. I’ll have to wait and see what the M collection brings up ;)
Ha ha.. I sewed my sister’s wedding dress. A Marianna Hartwick copy that we went into the shop and tried on and she loved it but had NO money. I bought the fabric (from Gardams $120 I remember!) and made it up using a pattern that was very close. This was 25years ago nearly and I still remember put the skirt on the bodice in triple stitch (the fabric was satin crepe in ivory) and when I had to turn it outside in, I had put the skirt on the wrong way. (we had about 10 people staying with us). I just cried and said to everybody “please leave me alone…” and went into the room and unpicked it.. took 3 hours. I was so exhausted that my aunt hemmed it for us. This was before I knew anything about anything and was sewing about 2 years, there was no lining and no fitting… my sister was pretty much a straight 12. Lucky for me! I should find a photo somewhere. Good luck!
How awesome are Mariana Hardwick’s dresses? I’ve been to her shop twice now… and one of my top favourites is from there. It’s currently sitting in the running as being a backup to my number 1 – which dress I end up with will be entirely dependant on whether or not I can get the right fabric for #1, as the Mariana dress is a simple yet gorgeous white duchess satin. Dreamy.
But oh my goodness – what a stressful situation! Glad to see the day was saved in the end ;)
Yup, I have sewn my own wedding dress. It wasn’t that hard after all, just time consuming (with all the embroidery and beading)
Cool! It’s so awesome to hear so many people have sewn their own :) Thanks Lena!
Yes I think you should definitely sew your own dress, I’m sure you’ll do a smashing job. I made a coloured wedding dress – bright red with gold embroidery! Mind you it was a Chinese wedding so it wasn’t unusual at all
And you would have looked amazing in it, I don’t doubt! I’ll have to check your archives to see if you’ve got a post about it :) And thankyou – it’s definitely going to be done by me, I’d feel like I cheated myself of an amazing opportunity if I didn’t! Thanks Kristy :)
Wow, I’m so glad you’re leaning towards sewing your own dress because I REALLY want to see it! :) I didn’t sew yet when I got married, I’m terrible at shopping, and my sister and best girlfriends were all living far away out of state and/or country when I was searching, so my mom kind of pushed me into a big fluffy dress that wasn’t my style at all and I didn’t have the energy or backup to push back. It wasn’t the end of the world or anything, but it felt weird to not feel like myself on a day when so many people were staring at me and taking photographs– I felt like an impostor of myself! So I love the idea of sewing your own gown because you can make whatever you want and aren’t at the mercy of what’s in the shops! That said, if it’s too stressful or time-consuming, you shouldn’t feel bad about changing your mind. :)
Oh Sonja, that just sounds so cruel! I can totally understand how it came about though – it’s such an overwhelming thing to get caught up in. I actually had a LOT of fun trying on big poufy dresses for the comedic factor – one I affectionatey nick-named the Yeti-dress because it was like a lifesize version of those Barbie toilet roll holder dolls all houses seemed to have in the late 80’s. It was awesome, but I would feel like aliens had taken over me if I wore such a thing on the actual day. I’m sure you still looked amazinglt gorgeous though – because I totally rocked that yeti-dress.
Dude you sewed with sequins. You are officially a sewing boss and I bet you could conquer a dress with your mind now like some kind of sewing Jedi. I really hope you go through with making your own Wedding Dress! But, no matter what you decide to do, I think you’re going to look & feel fabulous.
haha… should I let slip that I’m killing to sew with sequins again??? They’re so much FUN! Thank you so much, Reana :)
You sewing is excellent…. that last dress for Frocktails was incredible!! U have the skills!!! Sew your wedding dress!!! :)
It’s on like Donkey Kong ;) Thanks Neeno!!
Like other people, I wouldn’t, but if I had your sewing skills I might change my mind!! My wedding dress was made by Juli Grbac, who won Project Runway in its inaugural Australian season. The dress was divine…. Very light & floaty for a Brisbane summer, and it was blue with silver lace. I would totally wear it again should the occassion arise! That and if I lost weight … I weighed 10 kilos less in 2007!
I’ve just taken a squiz into her portfolio – some seriously amazing designs there, I like her style!! I’m sure your wedding dress was spectacular :) I’d love to see pictures of it sometime!
Mel, you must make your wedding dress. You have the style, skills, eye for beautiful fabric and most importantly you know your curves like no-one else. I suppose the real question is, do you have the time? I’m currently holding my soon-to-be-sister-in-laws hand while Craig Baybrook makes her dress for a January wedding. This Friday we have the calico fitting. Very exciting…
Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong. And thank you! I will be MAKING the time. There will be gantt charts and critical paths and deadlines all along the way so I can make the best use my time. I checked out Craig’s work – he has some amazing stuff!! It must be exciting to be able to see that process as an observer – I’ll admit missing out of the glamour (in my head) of going to fittings and having someone else do all the grunt work is a little sad. But I’d resent it forever if I didn’t do this myself. Boutique hopping and trying on some serioulsy amazing dresses was a so much fun… pray I find the fabric I need to re-create my favourite, as it was a little unusual. Thankfully, my backup #2 option has a pretty standard fabric requirement, so I’ll be fine either way :) Thanks Anna!
Congratulations and enjoy every minute of your engagement time! Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the dress. I was considering it, but we planned the wedding in 3 weeks and I ended up wearing my mom’s wedding dress…! I’ve since seen tv shows where they refashion older wedding dresses into new ones….they can be really amazing too…!
Thanks Elise! Yes, I’ve seen a few wedding dress refashions in blogland, and they’ve all turned out spectacularly. That’s not an option for me though, so i’ll be starting from scratch!
Melanie, you are so talented with your sewing, all I can say is “Sew your dress!”. I made my dress for my wedding in 1980 and I still have it hanging in my wardrobe. It is so special and I am so proud of it. I used a Vogue pattern by Oscar de la Renta and I was really challenged making it. But I wanted to show my fiancé and my friends and family that I was serious about this marriage and I was going to make a real go of it. My dress and the challenge it provided was the beginning of my determination to be the best wife and to make the most of a wonderful marriage to a wonderful man who truly loved me. I know this all sounds corny but it was so worth it.
I certainly will be, Majorie! Not corny at all – if there is any time to be nostalgic and mushy, then this is definitely one of them :) So lovely to know you’ve sewn your own, too!
Congratulations!! I think you definitely have what it takes to sew a beautiful wedding dress, but the most important thing is that you don’t feel overwhelmed with the wedding. There’s no shame in not sewing your dress!
Thansk Kelly! Luckily I’ve got plenty of time to get this underway :) But I couldn’t agree more!
Wow! You have been pinning up a storm! And, I think you are totally up for the challenge of making your own wedding dress. I had mine made for me back when I was first getting into sewing, and it really opened my eyes to quality fabrics and quality construction. I wish I’d known more about the fitting process back then so that I could have better understood the need for so many muslins, but I wouldn’t change being a part of the dress making process for anything. Go make that dress!
Thanks Amy, I certainly will! It’s lovely to know you also made yours – so many who’ve commented here have and it’s a real inspiration :)
I did sew my own wedding dress. 36 years ago! It was only the third thing I had ever sewed. I was a fearless beginner, I guess. The dress was an old fashioned style, not too plain but not super fancy either. I got married in Texas in July and I was not crazy enough to wear satin in Texas in midsummer so it was cotton dotted swiss with cotton lace.
The third thing? That’s incredible! And so gutsy. But then, if I recall my attitude back in those early days, nothing was too scary because I didn’t know enough to be scared…! I love swiss dot cotton – I’m sure it was gorgeous!
Hell Yeah, you’re gonna sew you’re own wedding dress!!! And it’s going to be AH-FREAKING-MAZING! I had only been sewing for about a year when I got married, and while I contemplated it, I ultimately decided it was just too much pressure. Plus, we had a pretty short engagement. I actually loved the dress I ended up with, but I would LOVE the opportunity to do it all over again (same man, of course!!) Anyway! I cannot WAIT to see your progress. You just make the most stunning garments, I know your wedding dress is going to be jaw-dropping!
Vow renewal, Sallie? Sounds to me like we all need to do this at some point, if only to sew something fabulous!! Thanks so much – hells yeah!
I hope you do make it! As I didn’t make my wedding dress I will be living vicariously through you. Good luck!
I totally am, Rosi. It will be a long journey though!! hehe :)
I was always going to make my dress. My fiancé wasn’t so sure until he saw the retail bridal shop prices. I also tried on several dresses and had fun. My dress was eventually very similar in shape to one that I tried on.
Except! I used superfine merino wool – draped beautifully. I had it dyed pastel blue to match my eyes. My then fiancé did the tiny amount of beading on the attached shawl. I made a muslin then used it as the lining oft the dress.
Many people commented that the dress was all the more special because I’d made it. You may want to consider having the pattern drafted for you, there are several dressmakers who will do that. Good luck!
Oooh, Merino!! You know, I can totally see how superfine could work amazingly well – it has fabulous body and beautiful drape. Drafting it myself would be half the fun, though!! I’m very technically minded so don’t have any issues trying to pull that off. Although, I’ll definitely keep that in mind as a backup option! Cheers :)
Hi Melanie, I clicked on a hemming link on Pinterest and ended up on your blog front page (obvs someone didn’t know how to link pinterest properly!) – but I got drawn into this discussion as it’s actually really relevant to me too, as I’ve just got married and sewed my dress! Actually, I initially wanted to sew my main dress, but had quite a few people warn me off, so comprimised and decided to make a reception dress for the evening. I’m so glad I did as I KNEW I would feel disappointed if I hadn’t at least tried. I’ve just finished writing about it on my blog:
So I recon you should DEFINTELY give it a go, otherwise you may regret it.
DIYing a large part of my wedding was rather stressful at times, but now that it’s over I look back at the photos and I am so glad of all the work and love that was put into the day – it gives it that extra personal touch.
Thanks Suzie! I’ll definitely be doing it, and making sure I have plenty of time so I’m not sewing up until the last minute!! You looked amazing in your reception dress :)
I didn’t but if I were to get married now I would. I had only just started sewing and was actually given my first sewing machine as a wedding present from my grandmother. I say “Do it!!”.
My wedding dress is still something I would chose today. Although, I would probably pick more bling now. My dress was made by a dressmaker and I vividly remember the zip breaking the day before the wedding. My grandmother calmly unpicked the whole zip and handstitched another one in, whilst making a few improvements as well! I was too nervous to watch and sat with my bridesmaids drinking a few bottles of champagne.
Congratulations on your engagement. I’m sorry I’m a bit late. We just had our 7 year anniversary on Monday. I never would have thought I’d love him more than I did on the day I walked down the aisle. Enjoy your engagement! It is a fabulous time.
oh my goodness Leith… the zip breaking at the 11th hour would be horridly stressful!!! Luckily your gran could step in to save the day!! I would be chugging down the champers, too. Thanks… and happy anniversary! It’s so lovely to hear that :) x
My daughter was just married Oct 5, 2013. I made her sweetheart neckline trumpet wedding dress with a fishtail train. It was an ivory beaded sequined lace underlayed with champagne chameurse. I could not have made this dress without the aid of Barbara Deckert and her blog the dressmakers daughter’s wedding:
Start early. I was still sewing 30 minutes before the wedding. Buy 3 boxes of Susan Khalje pins.
Feel free to email me.
It sounds gorgeous! Thanks for the links and advice. I’m starting much earlier than I had originally planned on simply because everyone has said the same thing – give it more time than you think you need!
If you are planning to do bridal buttons this is useful information:
You can see a couple of pictures of the wedding dress I made here
I have now read through all of the comments. Yes if you are buying the dress set a budget and only try on dresses within your budget or you will be heart broken. BUT if you are making your dress you want to try on more expensive dresses to expand your design and construction horizons. I was not planning on making my daughter’s dress so we shopped within budget ($2500) and did find a dress she loved. they said the problems could be resolved during alterations but I seriously doubted that. Next we went to a custom dressmaker to get exactly the design my daughter wanted but my daughter only found one lace at the designers supplier that she liked (I briefly contemplated paying for 12 yards at the discounted $120 a yard plus $3000 to make the dress but my daughter decided she wanted me to make the dress). Once my daughter found the beaded sequined lace she wanted it took me severaly months of internet research and visiting bridal boutiques on my own to analyze dress construction to be able to finally get up my nerve to tackle sewing her dress. Drafting the pattern was horrendous – and I have studied flat pattern design and draping. So the advice to have a professional draft your pattern is a marvelous idea. The usual very sage advice is to make up your fit model in cheaper fabric with a similar drape to the fabric you will be using. I disregarded this advice because I could not figure out a cheap equivalent; not one of my better ideas. The whole desgn process was complicated by the fact that my daughter is very short and wanted minimal seams cutting her vertically and absolutely no seams cutting her horizontally. So I had to work out front and back pattern pieces from shoulder to hem. Do not start making the actual wedding dress until you have worked out all the kinks with your fit model. I made two complete fit models trying to get the bottom part to hang properly. I had no alternative but to make the under dress bust part separately and that took about 5 or 6 fit model attempts to get it to worked out to my daughter’s satisfaction. Once the lace was laid over the underdress the seaming at the bustline did not show. I could not use the lace lengthwise. I had to use it width wise. Plain lace double the time you think it will take you to make it. Beaded lace triple the time. Plan to be done a month ahead with the side seams basted in the areas of possible change so you can make final adjustments easily. Unpicking lace is a nightmare.
Sorry to post again, but I want to make sure everyone on this comment board sees this!
I’m Holly, and I work for 25/7 Productions — an LA-based production company (The Biggest Loser, The Vineyard, Flip Men). We’re doing a new show for a major cable network about brides who make their own wedding dresses.
I would love to Skype interview any/all DIY brides about their experiences — we’re looking for brides at all stages of the process from planning thru just remembering the experience.
If anyone would like to do a little Skype with us, please email ASAP! And/or please recommend any other DIY Brides who’d like to chat! I can be reached at email@example.com. Thanks for your time! I hope to hear from you soon!
Hi Melanie! I was lucky to find your wonderful post just about the time I most needed it:) Just before the start of my wedding planning. Your post was extremely helpful and convincing that I need to sew my own wedding dress. After many years of sewing, I knew this would be the best gift to do for myself. I actually made 2 dresses – one for the civil ceremony and one for the church one (in Bulgaria we have to have a civil ceremony and then, if you wish, a church one). The weeding was in the beginning of May and I was absolutely happy about the results. Thank you for your inspiring and very informative posts!
I was curious to see your wedding dress too:) I have to admit it is gorgeous! And suits you very well. Congratulations on both the marriage and the dress!
It’s amazing!The photos inspire me to want to have a wedding dress!A line dress is suit for almost everyone though I think mermaid dress is charming.Thanks for sharing!