Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Great Reveal: Sewing My Own Wedding Dress and Giveaway Winner!

This week, Greg and I will have been married two months -- high time for a post about my wedding dress, am I right? 

All photos in this post were taken by our fantastic photographer Ian Sbalcio (I highly recommend him!)

I went through quite the trial leading up to sewing my wedding dress. I started out with some lovely silks from Mood and the By Hand London Anna bodice and a big skirt -- but that dress just wasn't working out. I wanted a big floofy skirt, and the fabric I used was so light it showed every bump in the crinoline. 

After a quick mental breakdown, I had a good night's sleep, regrouped, ordered new fabric and went with my backup plan: basic white sundress. 

The pattern I used it Butterick 5748, which I've made twice before.

The outer fabric is Robert Kaufman silk cotton sateen and the lining was just plain light cotton lining fabric. Both were ordered from about a month before the wedding -- and, in a moment of insanity, I only ordered four yards of each, which is about exactly what you need to make this dress. (The ribbon was a plain satin ribbon from the stash I used to decorate the wedding area.)

I didn't start the dress until two weeks before the wedding. I was pretty exhausted by that point (we had an at-home wedding at Greg's parents' house in Leesburg, Va., so there was a fair amount of work involved) and I was not super excited about sewing ANOTHER wedding dress. 

But I finally put on a movie a zoned out and got this mostly done in a day. 

But can you see my major error in the above photo?

Me neither -- but look at it again and you'll see it.

I am fairly sure I forgot to staystitch the neckline and the super light fabrics just streeeeeeeeeeetchhhed out. Really badly. And I didn't have enough fabric left over to make a second bodice. 

I mean, God bless the sewing community. I posted on Instagram for help and was immediately offered tons of advice and offers to go and look for lace to cover it up. It really calmed me down a lot. And then a lady on Pattern Review (I posted for help in the wedding/formal sewing forum) suggested I steam it into submission. I applied tons and tons of steam, but ultimately, didn't make enough difference. Finally, I just made a strip of bias binding, sewed it on, flipped it to the inside, stitched it down and called it a day.

Oh, and I also, in my panic, got a little makeup on the neckline. So I dry-cleaned it, which got the crud off the neckline, but also made it bubble and flip to the outside. I was pretty mad about the pressing job our dry-cleaner did(n't), actually, but I brought it home, pressed the hell out of it and it was fine.

I don't have much to say about the construction -- this is a super simple dress to put together. As with previous versions, I put the zipper in the center back, rather than the side (which the pattern tells you to do) because underarm zippers annoy me.

Because the fabrics were light, I used a microtex needle. I originally planned to hem by hand, but when I got to the end, I was ready to be done, so I just trued the hem and did a plain old narrow hem on my machine.

Underneath the dress, I wore a crinoline from Modcloth made from soft polyester and on top of that, I wore a House of Oliver cotton and lace petticoat, which maintained the smooth lines of the skirt. I definitely plan to wear the cotton petticoat again -- it doesn't provide much floof, so it's not too costumey and it was very comfortable.

The sewing moral of this story? Staystitch your necklines. 

The life moral of this story? Making my wedding dress was 100 percent worth it -- I'd never have gotten a dress like this in a store. No one noticed the wonky neckline. Or if they did, they didn't say anything. 

I had the absolute best day of my life, the exact wedding I wanted. I wore Keds to the reception and danced to a fantastic bluegrass band all night. And, best of all, I got to marry Greg. 

So all the pain was worth it! 

And, finally, here's our winner for the House of Mouse Caroline Dress from Indiesew

Congratulations to Erin Goh
It's such a pretty dress, especially the cute little sleeves and the high neckline.

Thanks, Erin! Send me an email and I'll pass it along to the folks at Indiesew for your pattern. Enjoy!

What do you think? Would you ever sew your own wedding dress?

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