Thursday, July 12, 2018

Our Wedding, Part Nine || Sewing My Dress

I loved sewing my dress. I've always loved to sew and used to say that if I had more time, I would totally be up for sewing my entire wardrobe. There's just something about being able to make an item of clothing just like one wants it! 

My dress was a bit of a project, admittedly! It took me multiple shopping trips to finally find the perfect fabric. I ended up locating it in Kansas City, of all places...one weekend while I was down visiting John, I went into town and after an agonizing hour of trying to decide between two different gorgeous lace fabrics, I finally chose mine! I then carefully hid it away in the back of my car before going to meet up with him for a lunch date before heading home =)  Lace is extremely expensive and I was really wanting to save money on my dress--maybe it's just me, but I just couldn't quite bring myself to be okay with spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for a dress I was going to wear for one day! The lace fabric was $30 per yard and I needed about eight yards, but yay for coupons! I ended up sewing the whole thing (compete lining, lace overlay, notions, etc) for right at $160, with coupons. Without coupons I would've spent almost $300 just for the fabrics!
Ready to cut into that fabric! 
My mom is the best seamstress I know and she was happy to help when I needed a second opinion or just someone to "talk through" all of the pattern combining and extending together! (back when she was a teenager/mennonite she sewed her entire wardrobe of cape dresses, including her wedding dress! She also sewed matching Christmas + Easter dresses for Allison + I for years and years, when we were younger)
Cutting out the lining, and creating a new pattern for the skirt/train. (I added length to the train as well as taking in the various panels of the skirt for a different fit)
Cutting out the lace overlay!
I moved the dining room table out of the way and set up shop all across the living room and dining room, in order to cut that whole thing out!
I debated a little about whether to share the pattern details, since I know that to anyone who doesn't sew, the extra info might be considered a little boring. But, for those several of you who have asked, I thought I'd share the basics since I wrote it all down as I went anyhow!

On a visit to Kansas, back right after I got engaged, one of my new sisters-in-law to be mentioned that someone had given her a whole box of wedding dress patterns when she was engaged and considering sewing her own dress. She said I was welcome to look through them and borrow any I might want.

At that point, I still didn't know which pattern/s I'd use. (although I did know in my mind what I wanted the dress to look like) I had decided, however, that it was going to have a train, so I knew that I for sure would need to locate a wedding dress pattern somewhere to use as a base for that. I ended up going through her patterns and selecting a few that I liked for various aspects.

I ended up using her McCalls #2028 for the train/skirt and sleeves of my dress. I wanted a slightly longer train so I added 14" to the train length. I also added a couple inches to the sleeve length since I have uncommonly long arms, and I took the sleeves in quite a bit to make them more fitted.

The other three patterns I used were ones I already had in my collection!

For the sleeve top (fitting to the bodice) and bodice back, I used Simplicity #2549.

The belt of my dress was from Simplicity #3750, and the bodice front was Simplicity #4055.

I dropped the bodice a few inches so it wasn't so high (I wanted the gathers but not the ultra high regency look) and made a number of other adjustments to get everything just how I wanted it.
Sewing a mock bodice first was key for success!
It was so fun to start getting all the pieces finally sewn together and see the dress taking shape!
Trimming up a few loose ends along the hem..

And! The finished product, on the morning of my wedding!
For any of you considering sewing your own wedding dress, my advice is...go for it! If you've sewn other dresses you can sew this one! Just make sure you do a trial run on a cheap fabric first. =)

And I would also advice starting as soon as you get engaged so you can have it DONE and finished as soon as possible...it helps you and your mother rest easier! =)
 (I didn't start right away and while I still ended up finishing it a month before my wedding, it would've still been nice to have it hanging in the closet, finished, sooner!)

Any of the rest of you sew your wedding dress, or planning to? 
Or how/where did you find your dress, if you bought it? I'd love to hear your stories! 
-Chels

19 comments:

  1. Your post brought back great memories! I designed and sewed my wedding dress 35 years ago. It was a couple of years after Princess Diana’s wedding and everything was BIG - big sleeves, long train, big bouquet- plus I was married in a cathedral, but living in a small apartment. I used every inch of floor space to lay out my dress. I, too, combined several patterns and my sleeves were my own design. I used covered buttons from my mom’s wedding dress on my dress and had 88 buttons down the back (no zippers for me!). It was an eight month labor of love, but, like you, I’m so happy I made my dress. While I saved a lot of money (copied a dress that cost $1500 for $350), it fit me perfectly (I’m tall with long arms) and I was (and am) so proud of the finished product.

    Oh, and I agree...make the bodice out of a cheap fabric with the same ease properties as the final fabric (mine was silk) to get the fit just right before cutting into the expensive stuff!

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    1. That is SO awesome! I absolutely loved hearing those details about how you made your dream dress!! What fun, and what special memories! Thankyou so much for sharing!

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  2. Been really enjoying your wedding posts! I'm getting married myself in a few weeks, so I love seeing other people's weddings. I got my wedding dress online for about $130, and it was customized so I didn't have to alter it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That sounds like an awesome deal on your dress!

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  3. Wow Chelsy! I don't sew at all but you inspire me! Maybe one day I will follow your example and sew my own wedding dress.

    Btw, any updates on Carolina and Cassidy? I've been praying for them.

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    1. Watch the family blog-baby announcements will be posted there! From the last I heard, the babies are quite comfortable in their current environments. =)

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  4. You're so amazing! I like to sew but the idea of sewing my own dress when there was already so much more to do in preparation for my wedding... sounds intimidating! Your dress is/was beautiful, and you should definitely be very proud of your skills!

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  5. I don’t sew. :) So this really amazes and intrigues me that you were able to do this and create just an incredibly beautiful dress! You are so talented! Great job!

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    1. Everyone has different skills + talents! The main thing is finding whatever it is that each of us love, and having fun doing it!

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  6. Chelsy you really inspire me! You are a fantastic example of a woman of God!! Thank you!
    I love your wedding dress! My sister is getting married this December & she is using my Grandma's dress, which she plans to update. Although it isn't hand sewn, it somewhat is! :)

    Blessings,
    Mary

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    1. That is so awesome that she is using your grandmothers dress! How unique!

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  7. Great job Chelsy! When I made the bridesmaid dresses for Hannah's wedding, I did mock bodice and skirt (out of different fabrics), looked really funny, but worked. And I did mock bodice when I redid Charity's dress. That is THE key!!

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    1. Yes it is-so true!
      And YOU inspire me...Charity's dress was incredible!!

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  8. Gorgeous dress, Chelsy!! thank you so much for sharing the patterns and info, very inspiring :)

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  9. I enjoyed reading about how you made your wedding dress! I will probably sew my wedding dress when/if I get married and would be making something like your dress, but only making it ankle or floor length, short sleeved and a smaller or non existent belt.

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    1. It is definitely a fun + special project to do for your special day!

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  10. That is seriously one of the prettiest wedding dresses I've ever seen! You did an awesome job, Chelsy! I should definitely consider sewing my own wedding dress. My sister is more the seamstress of the family. It would be an awesome + fun project to do together someday. :)

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