|All photos in this post by Mara Page|
Nine weeks ago I walked down the aisle on the best day of my life wearing a dress I made myself. It was nothing short of a fairytale and I'm so excited to share the photos with you!
If you followed along while I was making my wedding dress you would have seen the inspiration, the many muslins to get the bodice right, the many muslins to get the skirt right and then me freaking out over the fabric and embellishment for the dress. There were seriously so many facets to making this dress.
The story is I bought this beautiful champagne coloured silk and two different shades of tulle to make the entire dress. I carefully constructed the entire bodice using some couture sewing tips I had picked up from Gertie's bombshell class and from reading through Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture book. Once that was put together I carefully constructed the skirt using the silk and the two layers of tulle. It wasn't until I sewed the entire thing together at the waistline (which believe me, took hours) that I realised I didn't like the bodice. While the fabric was beautiful it was just so simple and plain looking. The fit needed a bit more work and the silk was looking a bit too man-handled. It was pretty but in a very plain and simple way and I wasn't excited to wear it.
So I changed my mind.
Let's be clear that this all happened 5 weeks out from the wedding as I was meant to be finishing the dress, not starting again. As luck would have it I had taken a trip to Tessuti a few weeks prior looking for some special fabric to make myself a little bolero to go with the dress. I talked myself into buying this matte champagne sequin fabric and I'm SO glad. So while I was freaking out over having to start the bodice all over again I was also quietly excited that maybe I could make it out of this fabric and wear sequins on my wedding day.
And wear sequins I did.
There was one weekend in there where I attempted to drape the sequinned fabric and do some kid of tulle overlay but that didn't really work out for me and I could see that as I was working so I scrapped it and started again.
The blur that was the last 4 weekends before the wedding involved me cutting out my pattern pieces in some kind of stable, stretch cotton I used as underlining to get the fit with the stretch right. Then I used my pattern pieces to cut the sequinned fabric out and assemble it altogether. I think I spent somewhere between 30 & 40 hours cutting sequins out of the seam allowances of all 8 bodice pieces before sewing them together. Luckily I was able to take parts of the discarded bodice I had already created and put them into the new one, like the bust cups and padding. I ended up sewing the underlining completely together and the sequinned fabric completely together and laying them over the top of one another before attaching the actual lining which had the boning in it. The verdict on the sequins is that they were stretchier than my underlining and so there wasn't enough negative ease factored in. Then there was the moment where I tried the finished dress on 6 days out from the wedding and the zip broke. This meant I had to go back, unpick the zip, and install a new one but leaving more ease in the bodice so it wouldn't pull on the zip so much. All of the above factors meant that the bodice was not tight enough and so it crinkled and folded on the day. I'd like to say here that at this point in my life I was working with what I had. I LOVED the silhouette and I LOVED the fabrics I had chosen. I wasn't about to let a zip break on my wedding day and ruin this entire year long process. It was about salvaging what I had created and wearing that damn dress on my damn wedding day.
So all that aside I have to say I was ridiculously excited to wear a handmade dress on the day. I don't care about the wrinkles, I don't care if the skirt didn't drape 100% the way it was meant to. I made that thing with my own hands and my imagination and I was so proud I could have burst.
The following video is a stop motion animation of the making of my wedding dress which shows you every step of the construction.
Now for some photos!
We got married in the bush reserve directly behind our house. You can probably just see the peaks of the marquee in the left hand corner in our backyard. We had a our reception in our backyard which we spent more than a year landscaping. It all looked so pretty on the day!
So that's the story of my wedding dress. I never thought I'd be able to say that I'd made it but I can.
It's funny that I had a sewing machine for 4 years before I even attempted using it because I was so afraid. My fear was so overwhelming that even as I started sewing and started this blog I named my blog after my fear. I was literally Scared Stitchless. I've come a long way in 4 years and while my sewing is not perfect I'm really proud of what I've achieved. Also I've learnt something new about myself in this process.
I'm not afraid anymore.