Thanks for all the compliments! I LOVE my dresses and I'm so happy with how they turned out. There was a lot of frustration involved. I will probably never make another one again (and I have 3 sisters who think I will when the time comes...HAH!) I've been sewing for 14 years now (had my sewing lessons when I was 12), so the while the idea of making a wedding dress was intimidating, I was pretty confident that I could pull it off. I've made other formal gowns before and a wedding dress is just a white formal gown, if you think about it. I had my lessons for 2 years, but really, it's just a matter of experience. You try different patterns and learn as you go. Always make a muslin to check the fit and get practice on the construction. My mom thinks those sewing lessons were a great investment.
Here's a pic of the petticoat. It's unfinished in that picture, but my maid of honor was joking about how the petticoat looked good enough to serve as the skirt of my dress, so she was wearing it around. I used a McCalls pattern, but instead of using a zipper to close it, I added a casing for a drawstring (I plan on loaning my petticoat to any friends and family who need one, that way it'll pretty much fit anybody I know). It's got a lining, then 2 layers of tulle (each layer consists of 3 gathered rows of tulle), then satin on the outside. It gave a nice A-line shape. A hint for the gathering...use clear elastic. I tried gathering it the "proper" way with 2 rows of basting and I tried using my gathering foot, but clear elastic was the quickest and most accurate method.