Monthly Archives: March 2015

Wedding Dress Planning: the Learning Curve

As I said in my last post, I haven’t done all that much sewing, to be absolutely honest. I’ve been almost inhaling sewing blogging for the past few years, obsessively collecting links to patterns I want, and slowly acquiring a significant collection of fabric and patterns – but I have only made four skirts and a dress, so far.

So how am I going to get from being a total beginner at sewing, to making The Dress That I Have Apparently Been Dreaming Of Since I Was Six (warning: snide comments on media, sarcafeminism, and arch humour will probably abound, and I don’t promise that any of it will be very funny)?

I have come up with a plan. Not a very well-thought-through plan, but a plan.

I am going to start by doing Me Made May. For those of you that aren’t sewists (my preferred term out of the many weird modern ways of saying ‘people who sew’), this is a sewing/blogging challenge in which, for the entire month of May, you attempt to wear clothes you have made and photograph them. Most people aim for, say, one home-made item in an outfit, every single day, others go for complete outfits being home made, and some go for a set number of days per week – you can set your own challenge based on how often you can be bothered to photograph yourself, and how big your handmade wardrobe is. It doesn’t just have to be sewn either – plenty of knitwear out there, and I’ve even seen bloggers sport their own handmade shoes! (one day…).

The official pledge sign-up hasn’t been released yet, but I am hoping to pledge to wear one hand made thing every single day for the entirety of May. I’ll put it up on my Instagram, which is private (if you know me IRL feel free to request to follow me!), but I will then also try and get the photos up here but probably in round-up format.

I have got a few sewing projects in the works to complete between now and then: some more basic miniskirts (I’m writing this from work, so I can’t find/remember the pattern, but it’s a Simplicity New Look pattern), a Coco dress (Breton striped, demonstrating major originality there) and, never one to shirk from a challenge, an Archer shirt (for those of you who really don’t sew (and have read this far!) shirts are really pretty complicated, with a surprisingly large number of pattern pieces, and some quite challenging elements, so… why not! P.S. I’ve set myself a fabric challenge on this one too, with a mystery sheer fabric that’s going to be a bugger to work with). I’m also moving (alone!) to London for the next few months (partner is joining me in August) so I’ll want some good projects to get my teeth into while I settle in anyway.

I’m hoping that by trying to sew quite a few things to a deadline I’ll really hone my ‘basic’ sewing skills, tackle some new challenges, and be ready to face the next phase… Practice Dresses!

In June I have two major social engagements: the wedding of a good friend and former housemate, and the Doctor’s Mess ball with my partner and all his work colleagues. So I’m going to make two dresses for those two occasions.

For the wedding I’m going to make a knee length Elisalex dress which will have a satin layer and a lace layer, to practice working with lace (I’m hoping to have a lace layer and a satin layer for my wedding dress too).

For the ball I’m going to make a full length number which will be my chance to practice hacking together the pattern pieces for my wedding dress, but to keep it from being too formal (or, in fact, being my wedding dress) I’m going to leave off the lace, and go for some colour blocking – current thinking is a black or white bodice with either a cobalt skirt or a bright red skirt (almost a burnt orange, I’m envisioning). Statement necklace and simple flat sandals and I’m hoping to look both relaxed and chic (a full length dress can be a bit overboard at these kinds of functions so paring back all the other details should keep the tone about right).

That then gives me almost a year from June until next May to work on the dress proper, and decide whether the real thing, being a bit more formal, will need anything more in the way of understructure – and, indeed, if I like what I’ve made!

Sorry that this blog has featured so far almost no images. I promise I’ll start adding some photos soon!

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