As promised, here is my post on The Dress that was worn to my Anniversary Party last week.
When my husband and I got married “on the fly” last year, my biggest regret was that I didn’t have time to make my dress. I had always dreamed of sewing my wedding dress, just like my mom had, but we since we put the wedding together in about two weeks and I wasn’t sewing much back then, there was no way it could happen in time. However, I had several months to plan our anniversary party, so I got a second chance!
The fabric I used was a gorgeous buttercream silk charmeuse from my mom’s stash. I had had my eye on that fabric for over a decade – it had been used to create a costume for one of the Shakespeare productions I took part in way back before high school, and I had always dreamed of making something elegant out of it for myself. Luckily, there were still several yards of the fabric left – plenty for a tea-length gown!
The pattern I chose was, of course, By Hand London’s Flora dress. I had originally thought of doing a floor-length Anna dress with the knee-high split, but I was having trouble visualizing it in the fabric. But as soon as I made my first Flora, I knew this was it!
After much research, I finally found the courage to prewash and cut my silk. I cut my silk through a sandwich of tissue paper, using this great tutorial from Grainline as a guide. In retrospect, a heavier paper would’ve been better, but all I had on hand was my pattern tracing tissue. Next time, I will definitely invest in some craft paper. Nonetheless, I’m so glad I took that step – the silk didn’t shift around nearly as much, and I also didn’t have to worry about pins putting runs in my beautiful fabric!
The lace on the bodice is a lovely cotton piece from Casual Elegance Fabrics. It was an amazing deal – $10/yard, and I only needed one! In fact, I paid more for my lining fabric (a dreamy cotton voile from Grey’s ) than I did for the dress fabric! As a side note, this dress is one example of when sewing is cheaper than RTW – the dress cost me about $40 for all the materials. Compare that with the thousands of dollars people typically spend on their wedding dress – not bad!
The construction was fairly time-consuming – since I was underlining the lace with the silk charmeuse, I had to hand-baste all the bodice pieces together. I also discovered that I had to hand-baste the darts, since I was having trouble catching the lace in the tip of the dart.
There’s a kind of zen to taking the time and care for these extra steps, and I actually really enjoyed the process. I knew I was creating an heirloom, so I didn’t mind the extra effort. In addition to the hand-basting, I used French seams for the skirt seams and seam tape to bind all other exposed seams and sew the hem.
Here she is!
I’m so thrilled with how it turned out – this was exactly the wedding dress I’d always wanted! Not too much fuss, but elegant and very much my style.