New Beginnings

Last time, I wrote a little teaser about my next project, and then I vanished for a few months. It wasn’t to build suspense, I swear! Though if you’ve been reading my blog you know that’s my modus operandi these days. I just had a lot going on: I moved to the next county, I’m getting my house ready to sell, and as always, school is intense, I have a full-time job, too, and a couple of big side projects. But I have some unexpected down time today, (translation: I’m sick and not doing anything but resting) so I thought I’d use it wisely. It’s time to get started on the work. Ready?

Yes! Me, too.

So, you might ask, what am I making that’s so secretive and important? Anwer: I’m making a wedding gown! Not just any wedding gown, but my own wearable work of art to walk down the aisle in and begin the next stage of the rest of my life.

(Squeals) I’m getting married!

I can hardly believe it. I’m ecstatic to be a bride and begin a new life with someone I love. Dan and I are incredibly happy. He’s amazing. I’m so lucky to have met him! We have bought a lovely house and though we’re still settling in, we’re very happy here. My new sewing room has three windows instead of one, but isn’t well-lit, so I try and work during daylight until I get the lighting situation worked out..oh, and most of my fabric is still packed up in boxes. It’s a process…but I do have my machine up and running and my tools have homes. Finding time to actually finish unpacking and do real sewing is harder to come by, let alone blog about it. I have done some major thinking about the gown, however.

The first thing to decide when making a gown is this: what does it look like?

I started a Pinterest board full of ideas, and here are a few of my inspiration pieces:

There is an overwhelming amount of ideas for bridal gown design out there on the internet. I confess I keep wondering if I should change my concept whenever I see something new and exciting, but I don’t want to go into bridal overload. I do have a good idea how I want it to look, and I have some patterns to help me cobble something together. There don’t seem to be many patterns for brides out there that have this type of shape and skirt, so the DIY bride has to be resourceful and creative. It doesn’t hurt if I happen to have a large stash of vintage patterns, though I did buy a Gertie petticoat pattern, and Dan got me Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book for Christmas, which has been helpful and contains a variety of patterns for skirts and bodices. I can use these in conjunction with my vintage slips and bridal patterns and I think that will make the shape I want with some minor alterations.

As the bride, you also have to ask yourself, what do I want or need from the gown? What flatters me? What makes me feel beautiful, and what reflects my personality?

What I need from a wedding gown is to flatter me, not overwhelm me, and not be white.


Not white?

It’s actually very easy to hate white when you are a pale woman with strawberry blonde hair. White is cruel to me; it washes out my coloring and makes me look paler than I already am. That blinding white that is so common of wedding gowns is terribly unflattering to my delicate coloring. The color that does look good on me is blue. It brings out my eyes, balances the reddish tones inner skin, and doesn’t overwhelm my paleness. It’s my favorite color, incidentally.

My special lace that I have chosen for my gown is blue. I found this lovely confection on Mood Fabrics. It was $80 a yard, and the loveliest thing I found in my search. There were many, many others, all beautiful, but this one captured my heart. Plus, a leaf motif is appropriate for my early fall wedding. The lace itself is embroidered in different blues on a light beige netting material and while delicate, it still makes a strong statement.

I’m going to layer my gown’s fabrics to create an airy, delicate garment. I have a very soft, white polyester material for my lining. I’ve also purchased an ivory tulle, also very soft, made of polyester for two layers of the skirt. I have a silk charmeuse in antique white for the main outer layer. I also have an antique white silk georgette for yet another layer. I purchased the last little half yard of a white Oscar de La Renta lace with a dimensional floral design. I purchased some silk thread, and some sparkly flower buttons for there back. All my fabrics and supplies came from Mood, and I was fortunate enough to get the laces on sale. I think my price tag came to about $500 total. That might sound expensive, but compared to what the ready-to-wear wedding gowns that I actually like cost, plus the fact I’m using some real silk and designer laces, I have gotten off lightly.

As for what I want to do with all this stuff, I have a general plan. I’ thinking of having the lace on the outside layer of the dress, but I’m not certain how exactly. At the moment, I am going to carefully cut it apart and sew it by hand onto the ivory tulle, maybe layered over some of the silk with the Oscar de La Renta lace appliquéd onto it. So the under layer that would be visible would be Oscar de La Renta hand applied to silk, with the topmost layer a confection of leaf lace and tulle.

This is an early draft of my gown concept. My lace is a bit smaller in scale, however, and I will be using more of it that is shown.

If the Oscar de La Renta is too distracting to be used that way, I might keep it for another project, like my bridal lingerie, or for something non-wedding entirely.

The back design is still an unknown quantity. In my sketch, you see a double layer of buttons, which I may do, or I could go with an invisible zipper very carefully stitched in place and no buttons. I may do a zipper and have the buttons over top, but as a decorative part of the gown.

The wedding takes place on September 26th, and given the time of year, that can be very chilly here in Ohio. I am also going to create a short jacket or a wrap of some kind to keep myself warm. I want to create that from velvet, shantung or brocade. I may use the buttons on the jacket instead of the gown, and I would like to line it with silk leftovers from the gown material. It should keep the chill off during outdoor photos (weather permitting) or during the reception, which will take place in a lovingly restored 1860s mansion. Between the church and the reception hall, I should be spending time in some larger spaces that are not necessarily warm spaces, so a jacket or wrap is a must!

Stay tuned for more wedding gown excitement!

This entry was posted on March 15, 2020. Bookmark the permalink.