I have been meaning for quite some time to put a post up about the huge task I undertook in designing and making my own wedding dress. I thought a few pictures and a few lines were not enough to do the task justice. The task was mammoth! I also designed and made my mum’s outfit, my bridesmaid’s the guys waistcoats and for good measure I also threw a few flowers together for our bouquets and buttonholes. So here I am writing a little piece to document my efforts while it is still fresh in my head and maybe to persuade/dissuade anyone else who is contemplating doing this themselves.
I have always known I wanted to make my own wedding dress.... when that time would arrive! When I got engaged I knew I could not settle for just 1 dress........so I made 2! I loved different features of 100s of dresses and knew my own unique design could be a combination of some of those features. Creative juices were in full flow. My head was full of various styles/ designs/interesting details/ fabric options and patterns. From there, I narrowed it down to what I absolutely loved and what would work for me. My style for designing (I think and is always changing) is classic, pretty, feminine, demure and often with a statement collar. Much of my inspiration came from the royal weddings... I favoured Mabel Wisse Smit, Princess Victoria of Sweden, Charlene of Monaco and Princess Maxima.
The final design for my main dress was comprised of a box pleated full skirt with a train, a boat neck princess seam top, and bow belt at the waist… I was never secretive about the design but I did keep one element a surprise(my favourite part!). From the beginning I knew I would wear a jacket on the day. It suited the occasion and the unpredictable Irish weather. The jacket had a wide neck peter pan collar trimmed in pearls.. ¾ sleeves and a buttoned down back opening. The material choice was paramount to the design… a stiff Mikado was used to hold the box pleats and structure of the dress. I also added deep pockets to the skirt of the dress .... ”you will need tissues” they said…(I am not much of a sentimental crier though!)
Dress 2- the evening /dancing dress was a 2 piece...a full tulle skirt with hoop and slightly shorter at the front. The top was a wrap cross over in jacquard floral ivory fabric and satin collar. Here are a few photos and short video of the dress while it was a work in progress!
I started the dresses in late January with the wedding taking place in April(much to my friends horror about finishing on time!) The design was in my head and then I sketched it onto paper. I started making a paper pattern and toiled with lining fabric to test the shape and fit. This part was the most challenging and frustrating. I enjoyed the process but it was not without it's upset.....to the point that my fiancé gallantly said we would buy a dress when I ended up in tears one evening! However I soldiered on and met my deadline comfortably. Some credit has to be given to my mum though… she was the backroom worker, general dogsbody and the one I bounced all my annoyance on! The outcome was beyond my own expectations and I am very proud of what I achieved.
The trials and tribulations of the mother of the bride outfit, my sister who was my only bridesmaid and groom’s party are maybe for another day... but I will say they were a demanding bunch!