Monday, April 29, 2013

My Wedding Dress

I started making my wedding dress in January. I had been putting it off because it made me so nervous to think about sewing it! I was so afraid I wouldn't like it when it was done, but wouldn't be able/have time to change it!

I had my fabric bought way back in the summer. All along I had planned the dress two piece - a sleeveless under dress of cream silk taffeta overlaid with a sheer white cotton voile dress. I also had a design drawn from the first of a very plain sheer long sleeved dress, with no frills or fussiness. But...when I got right down to making it, I kept adding elements - first just a single ruffle to the skirt, then a double, then because I had extra ruffle length, I laid them over the skirt in a shallow waved  pattern. Although I had plain long bishop sleeves already made, when I pinned them on they just didn't fit right and I ended up laying them aside, and spur of the moment designing these double ruffle sleeves - and sending off for the English netting lace for the bottom layer. So, the whole dress turned out alot frillier than I had planned - but I absolutely loved wearing it and wouldn't have done a thing different.
 It was quite comfortable and so lightweight and ethreal,
 I couldn't help twirling and spinning!

The buttons up the front where teeny white antique china.
The bodice style is fitted but very lightly gathered at the waist and at center back.

Close up of buttons and lace at neck edge.

Another last minute addition - a silk satin ribbon sash in the palest robins egg blue.
 (one of two of my very favorite colors.)


Both the silk under dress, the overdress skirt, and the petticoat were gauged by hand. At first I was afraid with three layers it would be very bulky and poofy, but they were all just right and it didn't feel in the least bulky when wearing. (I may never go back to gathering or pleating - gauging is too nice! :)

Below: An in-progress picture of the first skirt ruffle being pinned. I hand sewed 99% of the sheer dress - including the ruffle hems. Hours and hours of stitching and lots of thread and BBC period movies later....

Full view of the silk under dress.

The silk bodice is fitted with darts and boned. Neckline, waist,  and sleeve edges all finished with piping. I spent alot of time getting it to fit just right and very snug, I didn't want the various layers to be too bulking all together. During construction I even had to back track through about 4 hours work of gauging when I discovered a 1/2" fitting change that needed to be made. But it was worth it in the end to have everything fit just right and be comfortable.

Back view.

Sheer dress over the silk. You can see the chemise lace peeking out.

Chemise detail at center front.

Tiered ruffle sleeves and lace.


My hair wreath - paper flowers and buds in various shades of white, cream, and pink.
 They had wire stems wrapped around an oval of brown grapevine wire.
Rebecca and I had lots of fun making all the girl's hair wreaths back in January.


Below is a sampling of some of the period dresses that inspired my wedding dress.
 You can see more here on my wedding Pinterest board.
An original sheer dress.
One of my last inspiration dresses - really helped me on the sleeves.

Notice the half-high underbodice or lining.
Girl Reading by Alfred Émile Stevens
Tiered sleeves and lace.
Duchess of Montmorency 1860

I *almost* chose this style of sleeve...
One of my orginal inspiration pictures...

Helped me to decide on a colored sash, and ruffles!
Replica of Queen Victoria's wedding dress from 'The Young Victoria'
This dress inspired the lace on my sleeves.

1850s bride
Pictures like these two helped me to decide on short sleeves.
They seemed to be quite common on wedding dresses.
This is what made me think of doing some slight scalloping with the ruffles.

All of my underthings were also new - chemise, drawers, under petticoat and over petticoat of white lawn, and fancied up with lace and tucks.

Corset of white cotton coutil, and netting lace.
My new cage hoop came from Orginals By Kay. It is a 90" circumference,
 but I altered it a bit by removing the top rung and back thrust, for a more simple shape.
Corset detail

Leather slippers from Robert Land.
I've had these several years to wear at period dances, and added the elastic straps.
My dress was quite muddy by the end of the day. I still haven't been brave enough to tackle washing it. I may take it to get it dry cleaned. Wouldn't have traded the day, though. Mud and all it was wonderful!


Hope you enjoyed the hearing about the details of my dress!

Wedding pictures credit of Sophie Covey, previous photo shoot from Texas taken by my Mom. :)


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