Project Wedding Dress v1.0

You might remember me briefly mentioning that I had BIG project planned after finishing my fiancés jacket. I wasn’t really going to post about it because, to be honest, I was worried about jinxing myself. But I’ve realised that I really do want to share the process with you so with the pretence that it will keep me motivated and get me going I am going to share the journey. I’ve given it away with this posts title obviously.

My wedding is in January 2011 and like a few of my fellow sewing bloggers I have decided to make my own dress. I should also admit that I briefly (briefly!) considered making the bridesmaids dresses and my Mothers dress too but my brain would literally be exploding with stress right now. I work full time, I have a busy life, it simply wasn’t going to happen. My bridesmaids are all three different shaped girls and we have decided that they will each purchase their own dress following some guidelines from me about length, colour, style etc. As for my Mum, one day I will make her an amazing dress as a thank you for introducing me to sewing at such a young age and for all her continued encouragement while allowing me to learn on her amazing Globe sewing machine (which is still in full working order today). As for January, I will take her out on a fun dress shopping day and we will find her something rtw.

I have told quite a few people about my dress plans (that’s why I hope it is beyond jinxing now), and they mostly (non-sewers that is) think I am mad, despite most of them being aware of my hobby and seeing my various sewing skills fully on display during Self-Stitched September. I don’t pretend to be an expert and this is not really about saving money, it’s about the mental challenge which is what sewing has always been about for me. I want to enjoy this experience and I want my wedding to be less about stress and more about celebrating love and family and having a wonderful day together (I know that sounds cheesy but I have heard far too many horror stress stories about weddings lately. What is it about people feeling the need to share the horror stories when they hear your joyful news? “Well, at my friend Marion’s wedding…” oh shut up!).

So, I have given myself two months, October to make up muslins and get fitting and fabric selections sorted. Then I have the entirety of November to make the final dress. So far so good and I am ahead of schedule.

Last weekend I took a posse of girlfriends to a large bridal dress shop to do some trying on because, while I had several ideas in my head (and an entire thumb drive full of images from the internet) of what I like, I still had no idea of what would actually look good on me (in wedding dress terms). It was a super fun day; I could do that every weekend for a year and not get sick of trying on dresses.

My fitting assistant told me to begin with 6 dresses, and then I could eliminate and choose more as we went through them. I started by choosing 4 dresses that were similar to what existed in my head (and on that thumb drive) and sent my girly minions off to grab 2 more as “wild cards” that they thought I should try but that I might not have considered. This turned out to be a brilliant idea, firstly because my arms were killing me from pulling out and putting back all those heavy dresses but also because my final choice turned out to be one of those “wild cards”.

I must have tried on about 14 dresses which I thought was a lot, however there was a women who was trying on when we arrived and was still going when we left 2 & ½ hours later and apparently some girls literally try on the entire shop. I was surprised that I instantly fell in love with the second dress I tried on which turned out to be my friend K’s “wild card” choice. I say surprised because I initially avoided that style/shape since I thought it wouldn’t be very flattering on me, proof that you HAVE to try dresses on, not that I didn’t already know that. The detailing was simple but exquisite and it left the more fussy dresses I chose for dust. But I kept trying on all the dresses, and had the girls grab more until I had two that I would quite happily walk down the isle in. Incidentally the second dress was also a “wild card” chosen by S and I will use these two dresses as inspiration for my dress, incorporating details from both.

I also came away with an important decision about how white my final fabric selection will be. Being in design I know that there is white and then there is white and I always imagined myself in a pristine white-white but when I saw myself in that shade it was just too much. It was almost blinding and not flattering for me at all, it made me realise that a pale ivory-white looks much better with my skin tone and it will also look amazing against a backdrop of native garden during the ceremony.

Here are a few covert shots of some of the various dresses I tried on

So, with the decision made, I bought this pattern, and this one too in case I need extra volume under the dress.

I have no time to waste so I bought them as downloads from and printed them off straight away. My plan is to whip up the basic dress this coming weekend to test initial fit then during the week I will muck around with a couple of extra details that I want to work into the dress. If they are successful I will incorporate them into the final design, and if not, well I have a backup, but let’s not jinx that just yet 😉

The final detail I have yet to work out is how to keep my fiancé out of my sewing room until the big day…


One thought on “Project Wedding Dress v1.0

  1. Wow! Can’t wait to see the final dress 🙂

    Must be wedding time, I am in the middle of a page-boy outfit and a flower girl dress for my kids for a wedding in November.

    Hope it all goes well and you have a stress free time planning it all.

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