A Special Dress for a Special Day

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!

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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.

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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.

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(My “something blue” was the seam binding πŸ™‚ )

Here she is!

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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.

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12 thoughts on “A Special Dress for a Special Day

  1. Gorgeous dress! You look radiant! It’s so great to be able to really spend the time on something you know you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. Those insides look great πŸ™‚

  2. That’s stunning!

    One alternative to the “sandwich” approach (I didn’t know the sandwich method when working with my first silk and there wasn’t as much information online, so I had to get a bit… creative) is to use quilting tape when laying out the pattern pieces. The super-skinny masking tape, I mean.

    You just lay it down where you want your cutting lines to be on the smoothed-out flat fabric. No pins for pattern placement, you can cut exactly where you want to cut, and (bonus) you can leave it on as a stabilizer until the thing is basted/sewn (not stitching through the tape; it goes in the seam allowance). I love the stuff, especially for really slippery fabrics. Obviously, you do need to 1. not leave it in the sun/heat or on the fabric *too* long (or you can get residue), but in my experience a non-scorching week+ was fine for no residue.

    Anyway, GORGEOUS dress, and happy anniversary! πŸ™‚

  3. That’s one gorgeuos dress! I wish I had an occassion to sew such a dress. The fabric you chose for the bodice is beautiful. And I love the photo where you show the lining πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: A Year in Review: Hits and Misses | Dressing the Role

  5. Pingback: Tips on Sewing Tricky Fabrics - C Sews

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