Tentative, but mad plan

This is nuts, because I’ve made about three things before in my life. I’m telling myself that having read every single sewing blog on the internet for about the last two years in obsessive detail, I’m one up on most beginner sewists because I’m at least vaguely aware of some of the things that will probably go wrong, but the truth is this is still a daft plan.

*Deep breath* I’m-going-to-make-my-wedding-dress.

The other thing I have on my side is time.

My reasons are quite straightforward. I cannot get the dress I want on the budget I want. Or rather, and this is quite daft, to an extent I can – there are some lovely dresses by Ghost, or that I saw in Debenham’s, for definitely an OK price. But… I don’t want a dress straight out of the high street. I want my dress to be special, unique, made for me.

The price I have to pay for that might be massive frustration, sewing-based injuries, a massive change in my glasses prescription, wonky hems, shonky guts (of the dress, I mean) and my sanity. I’m telling myself, though, that I’ll plan it out carefully, do it all in good time, and if the worst comes to the worst, know when I’m beat – with enough time still to go to John Lewis and find something I love nonetheless.

I’ve been extensively shambling round the internet and found a number of people, with a range of prior sewing experience, who did it themselves. There aren’t many people who have done it themselves and posted about it, and that’s pretty frustrating, so I’m hoping to add my voice to the many by honestly documenting the process. This will not least be a challenge to me as a blogger because it is a long time since I last blogged regularly.

So, let’s get started.

First off, on the honesty front, here are the skills I have so far conquered, sewing-wise:

  1. Invisible zips, on two skirts, one much better than the other.
  2. Very basic pattern drafting including magic fastener-cum-pockets on a third skirt
  3. Some fitting challenges overcome on my Charlotte skirt, which sadly I can’t currently wear because I have put on a few pounds since
  4. I did some really good pattern alteration work on the Laurel dress by Colette patterns – firstly grading between sizes for the difference between my hips and waist, and secondly altering the bust dart so that the apex hits higher and the dart is the right size for my very small (AA!) breasts. I’ve never been able to wear shift dresses before so I am really pleased with this.
  5. My French seams are pretty good. And I’ve done some bias bound seams too. Currently, quite good at beginner insides of things.

That’s… really not very many skills.

I have never:

  • worked with ‘complex’ fabrics like silks, lace, etc, that everyone wails and gnashes their teeth about
  • dealt with any kind of couture techniques, boning, stays, etc
  • …let alone combined both the above into one garment.

So. Patience, maybe some online and real-world courses, books to be bought, wailing to my mother, forcing friends and relatives to help me sew… wish me luck.

The pay-off is that I hopefully get the dress I want (within reason – I am going to have to think carefully about what I want based on what I think I can accomplish!) and the satisfaction of knowing that I walked down the aisle in something I made myself.

I could still go the two-dress route and have a bought dress for the church bit and make a much more straightforward white party frock for afterwards.

Your next post in this series will be a link-heavy planning post with links to:

  • other people who have made their own dresses
  • inspiration photos and retailers
  • ideas for patterns and things I think I might need to buy.

All of this subject to change once I’ve tried on some dresses for real and really got my head round what will work for me.



Filed under Sewing, Wedding Dress

3 responses to “Tentative, but mad plan

  1. good luck – how much time have you got?

    • About 18 months! Which if I’m organised should be plenty, I hope. I’ve got some patterns in mind already I think (certainly some broader ideas) so I’m just going to try to go against my procrastinatory nature and chip away at this project steadily. I’m claiming that my current project – making a bunch of casual skirts – is a good start because it’s working on the foundations of good sewing. As opposed to me just wanting pretty new skirts :/!

      • 18 months is loads of time to learn new techniques and make a gorgeous dress. I’m jealous because I didn’t take up sewing til after I was married. Keep us updated with your progress

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