Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Ultimate Dressmaking Project!

What a busy few weeks I have had - but we did it - it's done - the wedding was wonderful!

It has been very difficult for me to keep up with my blog, mostly because all the things I have been doing i wanted to keep secret so as not to ruin any surprises one the day.

There was of course one project which was strictly top secret which I am now very very excited to share - My wedding dress!

My starting point was finding a pattern i liked. I know that i can make my own patterns, but i decided i wanted a vintage style and find that using an old pattern gives a much more authentic shape and fit - there's something about the way they are cut which i just can't seem to replicate.

I also had in my mind that i wanted a little over layer on the top. I had seen a dress in a flea market which had this and i thought was just really nice. But apart from this I didn't really have any other criteria. I thought it would be hard to settle on a design as there are so  many lovely ones on offer, but as soon as I saw this one i knew it ticked all the boxes (also I knew as hard as it was, i had to be bold and go for it!) Simplicity 6227 from 1965.

simplicity pattern 6227

I thought this would give me quite a lot of options too as wasn't sure if i wanted a full length or knee length, but I had my eye on view 3, you can see top right.

It's a very simple design, with a straghtforward dress (as you can see in view 2 bottom middle) with a pretty little blouse and over skirt layer to finish it off (in lace for me) Perfect for our simple little town hall wedding.

I had a bit of a panic to begin with as the original pattern i bought had the pieces for the blouse missing! The seller was wonderful about it, but it was a bit of a mission to find another in the same size - luckily I managed to find a size 11 and a half - strange but close enough!!

The next big task was finding the fabric. I found a wonderful website - Platinum Bridal Fabrics. They have such a huge range of the most wonderful lace. I learnt a lot about the difference between a corded lace and a chantilly lace, and all the other varieties too. I ordered many samples but it really was hard to know what to do as they all seemed to be so different, and it was hard without seeing a large piece to know how the pattern would repeat and how the fabric would drape. I loved the corded laces as they were just so beautiful, but after not really finding one that was quite right for my dress, I cast my search a little wider and came across one sample called Melissa, a laser lace, which means it is made up of little fabric shapes sewn onto a tulle background. This one was sewn on with silver thread and was such a pretty design  -although much different in style to the corded laces, I really had a good feeling about it.

I put together my toile and was SO pleased - it was the most perfect fit (except for a little alteration at the neckline) and this was such a useful task to help me work out how i was going to arrange my overlayers, and which fabrics to use with the lace. I tried a bit of chiffon and organza but decided to go for a layer of silk tulle over and under the lace on the skirt to give it a bit more presence, and a lovely soft romantic look.

Wedding Dress Toile
The toile and mock up of over skirt - complete with lace - i was very excited for this glimpse of what would be!

For the under dress I decided on ivory dupion, and lined with silk habotai. and even the tulle i used was silk. All silk! It was very lovely to be so indulgent. I remember showing you the package when it arrived, and was dying to share the contents and now i can! I loved draping this about - although was a little bit shy with it to begin with - so beautiful and so white (ivory!)

So beautiful - the perfect uncut fabric - it arrived on the roll!! - so special.

the pattern pieces ready to cut out - a nice simple one.

There was a little 'bump' in the road though, as just after i had made up my underdress and the over skirt I found out that we are going to have a BABY (so much joy!) I did shed a few tears over my dress i will admit (but also i was feeling sick and sorry for myself probably), and was unable to look at it for a few weeks, not just because I was sulking, but also for practical reasons - I didn't really know what needed to be done! I safely reached 12 weeks though and had got over the shock and although was nearly 18 weeks pregnant on the big day, I only needed very minor alterations - just enough to let out the seam allowances a the waist, and I did alter my overskirt so it was a little more streamlined than the original, and not so ballooning (I felt like a bit of a marshmallow originally!) I was lucky that the dress did have plenty of space around the tummy - it was just the waist that I needed to hope wouldn't expand too much - everyone was helpfully suggesting i elasticate it but it was too late for that! I think the wedding came at the perfect time though - not just because it was the most wonderful blue sky day, but also just because the dress was still so comfortable - i think a week later and it might have been a squeeze.

And so here are some pictures for you of the finished dress. It is so lovely to have it revealed now. I know it doesn't look exactly the way it would have without the tummy (no cinched in waist here!) but this is the way it was meant to be an I am so pleased with how it looked on the day - it did seem to have bump reducing properties and although i think if i had known i would be pregnant before i had started the dress, i would have chosen a different design completely, it was actually wonderful that i didn't as this was perfect and very flattering - and had i known i probably wouldn't have been brave enough to go for it

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final nervous moments before the ceremony
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(Just married!!)

Merrily Marriedly yours,
Emilia. xx

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d e b b i e said...

Amazing Emily! This is all so great.
Nice to finally see the stages of such a beautiful dress.
We MUST catch up soon. Maybe a mid-week knit? I'll organise! xx

Emilia said...

Yes! That will be lovely - i hope you are well! xxx

Kate Gardiner said...

Ooh what a beautiful dress! I found your blog on the Platinum Bridal website's gallery. My wedding dress was made out of Melissa lace too! It's so lovely to see another beautiful dress made with this gorgeous lace - and I am so impressed you made it yourself! I am rubbish with sewing so I wouldn't dare try it myself!

If you would like to see my dress you can have a look here!