The Great Wedding Dress Project.

May 21, 2009

As some of you may know Geoff and I are also engaged and getting married this August! Yay! So, to all my brides out there, if you ever want to talk wedding, I am down! Anywhoo, anyone who knows me well (or even a little bit) knows that I adore making stuff and am one crafty little devil. That’s the reason why we are going the DIY route for most of our wedding stuff including…(fanfare) da, da, da! The Dress! So far it has been a labor of love that I have been working on for the past 6 months. It’s not done yet, but I thought I’d do a little write-up on the process. (Sorry this will be a long post!)

It all started with my inspiration – the tea/cocktail length, natural waisted, fifties-style party dress. I knew I wanted something fun and and I looooooove the retro stylings of fifties fashion. I drew inspiration from an amazing dressmaker, Dolly Thicke of Dolly Couture. Then found and fell in love with this dress by designer Elie Saab.

Can we say SWOON?! I loved the lines and shape and set out on a mission to make a similar dress with my own flair.

I also stumbled across this dress:

Wowza. I instantly loved the idea of the multicolored petticoat and knew this would be a part of my dress as well. (images by the talented Aaron Delesie)

So work started in January with some practice mockups. (Very rough, and excuse the messy backgrounds). I am pretty much creating the whole thing without a pattern, aside from the built in corset.

Here I figured out that I want a gathered skirt, not a circle skirt as pictured above.

Trying to figure out the gathers on the bodice.

A practice petticoat.

After making and adjusting the corset top about 3-4 times I had my custom pattern pieces that fit me like a glove.

So, every gigantic project has to have a stupid mistake and here’s mine. I completed making the corset top and was ready to start adding the top layer of fabric that would become the gathers that crossed under the bust. So I’m pinning away into the corset, getting all my gathers in place and looking good. I’m ready to sew so I unpin everything and notice my dress form is wet. The substance is an unscented slippery goo. Thats when I realize the bust inserts I had use on the bodice were gel filled and I had been sticking about a million pins into them. Gel gunk is all over the inside of the corset. The bodice is ruined. My poor dress form is now oddly discolored. (see photo below)

I can only laugh at myself for being so dumb. BUT, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? The incident only gave me the opportunity to make and even BETTER bodice from scratch.

Bodice done-ish. Onto the skirt. I learned this really cool way of gathering fabric. Take a piece of string and use your longest, widest zig-zag stitch and sew over it. the just pull the string and viola! Instant gathers! This helps big time when you have over 5 yards of fabric to gather.

So after 6 months it’s finally starting to look like a dress! Here it is un-hemmed and way too long.

Here I pinned it up a bit. The length will me more along these lines.

I still have a lot to do. I might add some flowers to the hem and of course need to make the 10+ petticoats all in different colors, which will take a loooong time, but it’s coming along! I’ll post updates when I can. Three months from tomorrow we’ll be married!

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Carlie posted the following on May 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm.

Looks amazing so far! I am a huge fan of dresses with the corset top and sweetheart neckline.

Mom posted the following on May 21, 2009 at 10:28 pm.

Well, at least I get to see what you’ve been up to, even if it has to be by way of a blog! I totally like your blog about the wedding dress. I also love your attitude about mistakes! And, I really, really love YOU!!

Sara Andrews posted the following on May 22, 2009 at 2:23 am.

All I can say is WOW! You are a girl of many talents! It looks absolutely beautiful and it is not even done yet! Congratulations!

Sandra - nachtschwinge posted the following on May 22, 2009 at 2:28 am.

OMG! This is awesome!!! Love the idea of multicoloured layers!!! Have to keep that in mind for later… I’m currently just starting to learn how to sew and dreaming of doing such a great dress sometime in the future :)

Sarah Maren posted the following on May 22, 2009 at 9:28 am.

I am SOOOOOO excited to be the one photographing your big day! Your dress is rocking my world already!!! I can’t wait!

Holly posted the following on May 22, 2009 at 9:55 am.

Very cool! You are a busy woman! And now, the question every photographer gets asked about their own wedding day, “who’s going to shoot your wedding?” :)

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[...] Veil you have it! (ooh, bad pun.) Oh and that thing at the bottom of the picture below, its my dress. Its DONE! I am so excited! A post about it is coming soon I promise! I just need to take some good [...]

Adrienne posted the following on October 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm.

Omgosh. Are you seriously the coolest person ever? I found your blog today and just love it!

Jen posted the following on October 13, 2009 at 11:37 am.

would you be willing to “how-to” the petticoat??? I’m totally in love with it!!!!

Alicia posted the following on October 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm.

Awsome post & wonderful dress!!!

Chisa posted the following on January 11, 2010 at 3:49 am.

As someone who is entertaining the idea of making my own dress, this is really inspiring! You did a fabulous job :)

Pingback from Getting Hitched » Blog Archive » DIY Wedding Dress?

[...] This girl is totally my hero – she’s gone beyond the usual DIY stuff and actually made her own wedding dress. And as you can see from her later blog posts, it turned out freaking awesome! She also made her birdcage veil, bridesmaid dresses, and stationery. I love the fun flirty style of it all, and especially the puffy 50’s style dress! [...]

Coral posted the following on February 7, 2010 at 5:57 pm.

I’m in love with this dress, its inspired me to start making a muslin for my wedding dress. One questions I have is what base pattern did you use for your corset did you start out with?

--> LisaWelge posted the following on February 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm.

Coral, I used a pattern from JoAnns, I can’t remember the number or the brand, but it was in the underwear section of the pattern book. Hope that helps!

lupaa posted the following on July 17, 2010 at 11:04 am.

Wow, amazing! Congratulations!
I’m toying with the idea of making my own wedding dress as well. You mentioned that the pattern is self drafted except for the corset. Do you mind sharing your pattern source for the corset?


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Amy posted the following on August 4, 2010 at 2:02 am.

Wow, so inspiring and so brave. I am thinking about making my dress but don’t know if I have the guts!
I take it you sew regularly?!
Can’t wait to see the finished product!

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[...] Pretty Coloured Petticoats [...]

Kayla posted the following on September 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm.


I am in love with your dress! I would love any more pictures or particulars you would be willing to give.


Angel posted the following on September 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm.

I just found your site and I am so jealous of your trip to Paris, your wedding dress and your general awesomeness. You rock!

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