random wedding dress post

long ago in a faraway land i mentioned about how i was making my sister’s wedding dress and i believe i promised some posts relating to such… so finally i’m delivering on that. i’m about a week away from finishing it up (yay!!!) so i figured now is as good a time as any for a sneak peek. now, i am by no means an authority on such things as making wedding dresses. i might be doing everything wrong. in my defense, i have studied couture bridal books (such as susan khalje’s) and gleaned the best blogs for every technique that seemed useful. 

the dress is fairly simple in design with clean lines in a classic shape. this means that every seam must be perfect because there’s no hiding the mistakes. in a gown such as this, the name of the game is structure, structure and more structure! it’s a bit tricky to balance the number of layers involved without having enormously bulky seams. the shell fabric is a duchess satin, which i underlined with a medium weight sew-in interfacing. the interfacing is rather thick, so to keep the seam bulk down i cut off the seam allowances and zig zagged over the edges onto taffeta, which is significantly thinner.

taffeta with sew in interfacing zig zagged
clear of the seam allowances

each bodice piece ends up looking kind of like a giant band-aid. how glamourous is that? then i stitched the shell to the underlining band-aid pieces and sewed it up. i left a huge seam allowance at the back seam, just to check for fitting and such.

onto the skirt… i spent forever trying to figure out how to draft the skirt in order to add on a train. it’s not just a matter of adding length at the back (or so i found out). it took me forever to get this part right, but finally i ended up with something that looks like a wedding train. i was very close to giving up and buying a pattern, but i’m glad i held out. 

seam matching perfection!

instead of a gathered pouffy skirt, we went with four tucks in the front and four in the back. notice how the tucks and bodice seams line up? not an accident. i also drew on the skirt tucks in creating the cap sleeve-ish straps, also lining up a tuck with the bodice seams. lovely, is it not?

boning layer

for the boning, i decided to make boning channels by sandwiching some lining material with organza and stitching through the two. this is much more sleek than using sewn on boning channels plus the organza provides an extra layer of support.

neckline catch stitched in place

now for the neckline, i have seen in susan kajhle’s bridal couture book that you turn down the top edge and catch stitch it to the underlinings (instead of using facings) then slip stitch the top edge of the lining to the turned down shell fabric. i don’t have the final lining layer in yet, but i do have the catch stitched edge done. have you ever used this stitch? it is so lovely and feels quite sturdy. it also encases the edge of the fabric very nicely.

it fits!
(the cap sleeves are just in muslin here, hence the funny color)

aside from a waist stay and the final bodice lining, that’s about it for the bodice itself. next i’ll show more of the skirt details and then the finished dress itself! i am quite excited to see it all come together and actually look like a real wedding dress. that i made! [pats self on back] now, here’s to making it to the finish line…

—lisa g.

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