Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wedding Gown Update -- All Finished!!

That was one

I totally left my comfort zone
and stretched myself
to the limit
with this dress
new techniques
that I had never done before.
1) The corset back.
2) The pickup skirt.
The corset back really turned out nice
and to tell you the truth
was not as hard as I
imagined it to be.
Certainly more time consuming than a zipper,
yet not much more difficult
and an amazing result.
Would I do it again? 
In a heart beat. 
I have a tutorial
(That I will post once life has settled down a bit)
One thing I would do differently with this
corset back, or rather two things. 
First, I would have cut it back
quite a bit more
leaving more of
the lacing
and less dress. 
Once the dress was on
and all laced up,
There was only 2-3 inches
of the lacing after
cinching her in nice and snug
rather than the beautiful
wide lacing
displayed above. 
I would not have used ribbon
as the lacing and instead
invested the time into
creating a lacing 
out of self-fabric
with more body
(which I did try but it's not a good memory and we'll leave it at that) 
When the ribbon is laced
and cinched tightly
for that snug fit,
it crumples and looks more like a thick
string rather than the beautiful
satin lacing as pictured. 
Even though the dress is
it has lost some of its
decorative charm and interest because of those two things. 
Live and learn, right? 
Second was the skirt pickups.
So widely popular
and appearing to be an easy thing,
they turned out to be really quite
a challenge,
at least from my perspective.
Depending on the look your after,
there are some decisions to be made prior to construction,
ideally in the drafting stage,
both of these being the total length of the dress
and placment of the drapes. 
Of course, not realizing this and not making them in advance,
I was faced with struggling with the drape placement as well as getting the fullness we desired, especially in the back. 
I knew that I needed to add additional fabric
to the length of the skirt,
and I thought I had with the addition of
15 extra inches
to the over all length of the gown 
(basically guessing and not really thinking through the process)
but that was just not enough.
I now know that I needed at least 20 to 25 inches, perhaps more,
(which would have radically changed the amount of fabric needing to be purchased)
for the look I was after --
a very draped and full back with plenty of
length for a moderate train.
To maintain any sort of train beyond a sweep train,
I sacrificed much of the fullness and drape in the back as a result,
something that was disappointing to myself as the creator and
something that made its presence, though beautiful, fall somewhat flat.
The front drapes, however, were very nice and
we were both pleased
with the result.
This is the front bustled at the sides.
(I personally prefer the dress bustled because of the extra fullness)
  Sadly, I realize I did not get any photos of the back of the dress finished
to displacy the full train.
Here is the only shot of the back fully bustled and not hanging, propped up agains the ironing board, just for an idea of what I'm talking about.  
(not the best picture, sorry) 
The sleeves didn't work out like I had hoped either. 
I really struggled to get them on
and get them to hang right
(try 5 hours' worth of time)
only to have the bride try on the dress
and not really like how the petal sleeves turned out;
they just weren't right.
I then cut them down and creating
a cap sleeve instead. 
Now reading back over this post,
I realize I've sound a bit negative, if not hard on myself. 
I'm really not trying to be. 
I just want you all to realize that
this was a huge learning experience for me. 
It's important for me to share what I've learned. 
So if anyone out there every tries to
make a wedding gown with those features,
at least they will have a reference point of what not to do. 

The things I do love about the dress are:
the fabric that draped so beautifully
(a soft, matte satin that almost glows)
the lace
(beautiful, delicate with a touch of pink)
((I rocked the application!  Love working with lace)) 
the beading
(because I didn't have to do it and it's really beautiful)
Most of all,
I really love how
is when
she wears it. 

I have always said that
the dress
is only the frame
to the picture, not the picture itself. 

Sew Happy,


  1. It looks like it turned out beautiful!!! Congrats on getting it finished in time!

  2. I think you did an absolutely fabulous job... please post pictures of her in the dress so we can see it!

  3. This is just lovely. That definitely was a labor of love, and it came out gorgeous!
    I was thinking of sewing my own dress, and you've just let me know that it will not be a cake walk. (Which I knew from jump street, but still.)
    Any advice for a newbie? I have sewn most of my clothes, but is there much of a difference between sewing a formal gown and a wedding dress?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Question: where did you buy that beautiful lace? My mother and I have been looking for a vendor or a store that has really beautiful, high quality lace and fabric. You did a beautiful job on the dress!

  5. Hi Laurel,
    Sorry for the late reply. We bought the lace, as well as all the fabric, at Jo-Ann Fabrics here in Mesa, AZ.


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