Josh and I were mainly able to afford our wedding because of the generous donations of our relatives and other loved ones. I am extremely grateful to them, they made our beautiful day possible.
We were still on a budget though, and in order to go on a honeymoon we couldn't really afford a wedding dress.
So I made my own!
I started out by going dress shopping with various groups of friends. For some reason this was more awkward than I expected. The first thing any employee at a wedding dress shop does is ask you what your price range is. My real life price range was actually about one hundred dollars, but I couldn't actually say that or I would be laughed out of the store.
I settled on the white lie of about 1000 dollars instead. I felt that my skill range for making my own very special knock off was about equal to a 1000 dollar dress. It was still a lie, and that on it's own felt kinda weird.
I also browsed the internet on a variety of sites to get ideas.
Here is the design that I came up with. It is largely inspired by this dress from a relatively cheap knock off site.*
I really like this design because it's fun and flirty. The skirt has the perfect amount of poof to feel special with out drowning me, the bodice is simple but form fitting, and the neckline wasn't square like every other modest wedding dress in the world.
Josh will tell you that I labeled this design the "ballerina fairy princess dress" in my notebook, which quite effectively gets across what I was trying to do with this permutation. Although I only titled it that because I had already drawn a ballerina dress, a princess design, and a fairy-esque dress.**
This was my first time making a pattern from scratch so I checked this book out of the library. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. This book did ninety percent of the work for me, and all that I had to figure out on my own were little leaps in logic.
The dress itself is made up of a simple bodice from the book, there are no darts or anything even slightly complicated like that. The underskirt is exactly the same level of complexity.
The only only interesting bits of the dress are the sleeves and the skirt, both of which were actually really easy once I figured out how I wanted to do them.
Traditional sleeves are shaped like this. I knew that in order to add a little bit of interest to the otherwise plain bodice that I wanted to gather the outer edge of the sleeve. To accomplish this I simply inverted the variables of the shoulder curve, so that the seam would be on the outside.
|This is a regular sleeve|
|This will put the seam on the outside.|
To actually do that I simply sliced the pattern in half and then taped it back together the wrong way.
That allowed me to do a gathered seam for the sleeves that turned out way better than I thought they would.
The skirt is actually made up of four layers of tulle, each layer has six panels shaped approximately like this.
|The top is 1/5 the size of the Waistline, plus seam allowance|
The bottom two layers are the same size, the upper two being progressively shorter. I put them together using french seams, which I think is my new favorite thing with semi-sheer material.
I cannot recommend designing and sewing your own stuff enough. The hardest thing about sewing is figuring out what you need to do.
When you sew your own stuff you can get exactly what you want without having to make any compromises. Every dress I tried on was floor length, had capped sleeves, and a square neckline. My dress didn't have any of those details and I didn't want any of them. My dress was me, it was only that way because I made it.
If you are even thinking about this do it! This is the first time I have sewn a zipper. That should tell you about what skill level I am at.
My dress cost me about two weeks of my time from conception to finish and seventy dollars. In real life this wouldn't have covered alteration costs, or a knock of dress from China.
*so I suppose you could say that I knocked off a knock off dress.
** Why settle for one?