Sewing my wedding dress!

It’s possible that you’ve been in the store recently and maybe heard about my latest big sewing endeavor.  A few of you gasped when I told you what I was making, but mostly I got big smiles and congratulations.  (Thank you!)  Now that we’ve thrown the big party and said “I do” it’s time to share my favorite project to date! 

JCWedding-45.jpg

I used to joke with my mom that she would have to make me “one more dress”, but she taught me well and I was ready for this one.  As with most garments it’s all a matter of choosing a fabric and pattern that will set you up for success as well as breaking down the steps into manageable steps. I looked to my closet for ideas of dress silhouettes that would feel comfortable and beautiful.  Enter Vogue 9100 its classic neckline, drindle skirt, and functional pockets were perfect! 

JCWedding-170.jpg

Next up was choosing the perfect fabric.  I’m sure I’m not alone in my love of the metallic linens we’ve had in store this year.  I chose the lightweight gold on ivory linen to really make the skirt’s gathers shine.  One problem, that linen is thin!  I turned to my good friend cotton batiste.  At the time of my project we only had bright white and black.  Now Bolt has ivory and light gray in stock for all of your lining needs. I experimented with a little tea dye in my kitchen to take down the bright white to complement the linen.  

A few minutes in a warm tea bath was all I needed to achieve the perfect "white" you see in the top right of the neighboring picture.

A few minutes in a warm tea bath was all I needed to achieve the perfect "white" you see in the top right of the neighboring picture.

IMG_7177.jpg

I made a few versions of the bodice of the pattern.  I started with some muslin I had in my stash to test the sizing suggested on the pattern envelope.  The first go had the bust apex way too high, too big, and with a bit of a cone shape.  I tackled the apex height by visiting the curvy sewing collective tutorial page.  Regardless of your shape there’s likely a helpful tutorial for you to achieve a great fit on your next garment.  After making a few more adjustments on my muslin and marking new seam allowances I cut a test bodice out of similar weight stash linen and cotton batiste before diving into my golden yardage.  

I underlined the bodice pieces to provide more structure and coverage of the seam allowances.  I read up on the process on the Threads website.   It’s easy to do, but takes a bit more time and fabric, but solves so many common problems related to working with lightweight fabrics.  It will take up more space in your bodice so leave a touch of room for the three layers of fabric. The rest of the pattern went smoothly with the ease of cotton and linen.  

Underlined bodice pieces! The extra layer of batiste provided a crisp body for my dress and more opaque coverage for the light linen. 

Underlined bodice pieces! The extra layer of batiste provided a crisp body for my dress and more opaque coverage for the light linen. 

When invisible zip insertion goes in right the first time (at midnight), you dance!

When invisible zip insertion goes in right the first time (at midnight), you dance!

For whatever reason the pattern didn’t include a skirt lining.  Normally my tactic here is to cut another skirt out of my lining fabric, but two gathered waistlines made too much bulk.  I turned to my mom a few days before the wedding for advice and two exaggerated a-line skirts were drafted and stitched into my dress.  The smooth waist with darts and wide hems maintained the original design of the dress while hiding my pockets.  I added a lace trim to the outer lining skirt for something special.  I finished the dress on the drive over to the coast with a blind stitched hem and my mom finished hand sewing the lining to the zipper tape in a state park yurt.  She's awesome like that. 

Me freshly zipped in my golden dress and my mom in her handmade rayon Closet Case Charlie Caftan!  

Me freshly zipped in my golden dress and my mom in her handmade rayon Closet Case Charlie Caftan!  

More me made items include: a wool gauze coverup, a Liberty of London tie and a watermelon shot cotton pocket square. 

More me made items include: a wool gauze coverup, a Liberty of London tie and a watermelon shot cotton pocket square. 

I don’t recommend sewing your dress only a month before your wedding, especially if there’s lots of fitting, lining, and hot/smokey summer temperatures to work with.  However I definitely recommend taking on a project that will challenge you!  Maybe you’ve been toying with sewing a pair of jeans or even a new winter coat with some of our beautiful wools the store has recently stocked.  I learned new skills to up my garment fitting game and really enjoyed wearing my golden dress! 

Photo credit of our wedding goes to my friend Luke Robinson.  If you haven't been to Sunset Bay State Park yet... go!