I made my own Wedding dress.
The initial idea came to me within the first hour or so of thinking about it.
I sketched probbaly 30 sketches before I was convinced I had the finished design, and they were pretty much all the same design.
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I thought “What would be the most ultimate I dress I could imagine, how do I want to present my self to the man I choose to marry? What does the dress need to consider?”
First I thought, what’s my favourite colour?
What is the point of of having a wedding ceremony?
Answer: To celebrate an important life choice.
I need to dance in it, i need to feel alive in the dress. I need to feel like the dress represents a care free and creative sense of life! Functional and beautiful.
I like green but I also love other colours, I love the tropics, I love the richness of jungle! I wanted an emerald green, with other greens between in leaf shapes, and then some tropical flower highlights in magenta, yellow and orange, it was then that I realised, the bridesmaids could be one of each of those highlight colours.
The materials for the dress alone cost $700 and I spent about 70 hours total, all up, including designing the dress and fabric sourcing.
one day design time, 3 half days fabric searching, half tank of petrol, 50 hours making.
The fabric was French handpainted silk, and the lining and frills were also silk.
I found them in Saigon Fabrics in the city of Sydney. Thank fully I could take a friend whose design eye I trust and together we searched and picked out the right materials. It’s always good to have someone to bounce off, but you have to know that you trust their input.
The lining was a beautiful soft silk satin, and the frills were also 100% silk.
I used “shapewell” to give body to the silk underneath the chiffon, cottan tape to sew channels for the boning, and plastic boning to give the dress body and support.
I gave the back of the dress eyelets and a criss cross draw string so that if my body changed shape slightly I could still make the dress fit well. And put an invisible zip in the side to make the dress easy to get on and to get off.
I totally love my dress.
If I could change anything, it would be that i wouldn’t have trimmed the frills as much as i did, tired and hurriedly trying to finish everything in time days before the big event.
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Luckily I had a dress making friend to help me do fittings. Having a fitting is not something a person can do on their own, as the body twists and turns and you can’t get an accurate fit.
I used carbon paper and a tailors wheel to transfer the exact pattern pieces onto the fabrics.
The panels were not exactly symetrical, as my body is not exactly symetrical. It was important not to mix the left and right sides up.
I cut the panels out of the amazing green satin. We’d picked a green that was slightly lighter than the finished green I was after, this is because it was to sit underneath the chiffon, and we thought it would “illuminate” the colour better from underneath if it was slightly lighter.
I hand stitched the satin to the backing before machine stitching the panels together to make sure the fabrics didn’t move out of alignment. It is important that the pattern pieces are cut exactly on the grain, otherwise seams can twist or buckle.
To baste them, you need to lay them exactly aligned and flat, on the table. You do not pick these pieces up and stitch them flopping about in your hands. You keep them flat on the desk, moving them as little as possible while you carefully stitch, ensuring the two will not move out of alignment, and will behave as one, if that makes sense.
Once the panels are machine stitched together, you press the seams flat. Use a pressing cloth between the fabric and the iron, use a ham and press from the inside, then press from the outside.
Once pressed from both sides, you sew the cotton tape in to act as channels for the boning.
I padded up my mannequin so that it replicated my body shape, and pinned the bodice to the mannequin. It was now ready to get the ruching started and attached.
This back panel under the eyelets is the only bodice piece that wasn’t ruched.
nearly 2 metres of fabric was ruched into 50 cms.