So I'm getting married in August. I live in wine country in Northern CA, which is a "destination wedding location" so it automatically makes anything wedding related AT LEAST 30% more expensive. Our wedding budget is $4000, practically impossible in this region when photographers START at $4000 (and don't even get me started on the venues....). Regardless, we are making it work. We reserved a picnic area at a public park for $98, found a photographer who would do small packages for around a $1000, I'm going to grow most of the flowers... I never "set out" to make my dress, but after going to stores to try them on, I figured I could do it: For one, I know how to sew, and two, there was no way in HELL I was going to spend $1000 on something made in China, from POLYESTER!
I still have to hem it and put in a zipper, but I'm super excited and pleased with what I was able to make! Normally I show my partner what I've sewn, but I'm trying to stay traditional and not have him see me until the wedding day, so I can't show him! The next best thing: posting it here!
Read on if you would like to know all the drama I went through to make it (damn you Joannes, damn you!), how I achieved the rouching, and some cute kitty pictures.
This is the dress I was trying to replicate. I REALLY wanted a lace covered dress, with a key hole back, but decent lace is expensive, so I went with the 2nd best choice. Here I have on the WToo gown. Excuse the fuzzy picture. Pretty basic, sweetheart neckline, rouched bodice, gathered skirt, pleaded front. Even if I were to have the money (or the desire to buy polyester), I would have had to "de-poof" the skirt and shorten the train. It did have pockets (super cool) that I didn't replicate, and a row of buttons down the back seam (I hate sewing on buttons).
After searching online and all the pattern books, I couldn't find anything that was exactly the same, so I pieced together a bunch of different pattens. One was for the neckline, one was for the waste line, and one was for the skirt hem.
Here 3-legged Gaia hides under the patterns that I have draped on my dress form. She think's its her life mission to chew and destroy everything. I throw her out of the craft room, but some how she still gets back in.
Because I have NO boobs, even the smallest pattern size doesn't fit me on top, so there was lots of muslin and sheet trial runs. I knew the top was going to be my problem area, so after doing just one waistline mock, I focused on getting the cup size right.
I also made a petticoat from broadcloth, and then an additional layer from petticoat netting. OMG that stuff is a pain in the ass to work with! Once I figure out the hem length, I want to add lace at the bottom.
Here my kitty Gale watches me curse at the damn stuff.
After finally getting the top fit right, I decided to do a full length skirt trial. Don't you just love the mis-matched sheets! (yeah for $1.00 sheets at thrift stores!) They are awesome because you can make notes and mark possible alterations right on them!
Now it was time to figure out the rouching on the bodice. I went back to a different store (because I didn't want to be the obnoxious girl who didn't buy anything) and looked at the dress again. It clearly was not pleated, but gathered. Let me tell you, there is not a single pattern in existence that explains how to get the gathering to come out of the boobs at an angle. After searching craftster, I came across Lisa's post http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=270998.0
, and she was trying to do a similar top. She ended up pleating and tacking hers, but I really wanted to figure out how to gather mine. After many failed attempts, it was like a lightbulb went off: just gather a super big square, then put the boob piece on top at an angle, and baste together. These are bad pictures, but I really want to show you how I did it incase your trying to do the same.
Then cut the gathered piece to be the same size as the lining piece, and your good to go!
This is 2 times the height of the original piece. I used 3 times the height on the final dress.
After I found the WToo dress, I had stopped by Joannes to see what types of fabric they had that would be suitable. The had the duponi silk (regularly $24 a yard) onsale for 50% off. I ALSO happened to have one of those "20% off everything, even SALE items" coupons that they occasionally put out. I quickly bought up 7 yards of the white silk, figuring it would be enough. It came out to be around $10 a yard, not bad, still in my budget.
Then I cut out the silk, carefully with my pinking shears to reduce fraying. Here you can see I literally have 3 different patterns taped together for one of the skirt sections.
After cutting out ALL the skirt pieces, I cut out the top. I gathered up one boob and one side piece, just to confirm my method would still work, then went to work on the skirt.
Then the drama started. After I sewed all the pieces together, I realized the back section had weird grease-spot like stains on it that I didn't notice until I held it up in the light. AHHHHHH, I had been so careful with it! I almost cried. BUT, I had enough silk left to re-cut the back piece, so I ripped the skirt apart and sewed it back together with the new piece. Problem solved. But then I realized that I didn't have enough silk to do the rouching for the other bodice pieces. So I went BACK to Joannes (which of course was way later and the silk wasn't on sale, but at least I still had a coupon) and got another yard to finish the top. I mentioned the stains to the girl, and she said "Oh yeah, that happens all the time. Stuff comes off the truck dirty". WTF!!!!
If she knew that, shouldn't they have checked my first cut for stains? Shouldn't she have given me this new yard for even cheaper, if not free??? UGGGGGGG I was really angry. Oh, but it gets worse....
So I brought my new silk home, finished the top, and then tried it on. THE SILKS WERE A DIFFERENT SHADE OF WHITE. I hadn't noticed. One boob was white, and the other boob was a slightly different white. They must have been from a different dye batch, even thought I checked the brand & bolt barcode.
So I had to rip apart the whole bodice, REDO the original two pieces, and then sew everything back together. Here's a bad "in the mirror" picture to make sure it fits. So my bodice is a different shade than the skirt, but its hard to tell, and you can really only tell under florescent light. At least its better than different color boobs!
Then I lined the skirt with broadcloth, then gathered them both together as one. Here I'm gathering the skirt up on my dress form to match the bodice.
Then I sewed the two together. There were a couple of spots I had to rip out and do over, but overall it wasn't too bad. I'm always so proud of my machine for going through so many layers of fabric!
Gaia investigates what I'm doing:
Then I sewed a garment bag to store my dress in and protect from Gaia's chews.
And that was the saga of making my own wedding gown!
If you are still with me, thanks for looking! Comments and other Joanne's rants welcome!