Well, I didn't really sew it, but I designed it! My sweet Mom did all the sewing. I helped pick out the initial patterns and chose the fabric and tried on all the different versions of the dress. Her friend Kathy came over multiple times to help with the cutting, sewing and fitting process. Thanks Kathy! We finished late Tuesday night, except for a few minor changes that will happen at the final fitting. Of course I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise of the dress with photos (you'll have to wait until after the wedding for those!), but I can show you a few process pics.
-You know someone who can and is willing to help you sew. Do not think you can make this and fit yourself in it. It just doesn't work! You need to have a sewing team!
- Your sewing team has a good understanding of patterns and has successfully made clothing before. My team has past experience making costumes and tutus for the Ballet studio where both of their daughters dance. Barb & Kathy are quite the sewing duo!
- You have a good fabric store with great employees in close proximity so you can run over and ask them questions. Thanks to Patty at Fabric Hut in Norfolk for all her help.
- You know what you are looking for in a dress and can find patterns that are similar in style. After going to a few bridal shops, I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to find "the dress" in a realistic price range. I sketched up exactly what I was looking for and I went to the fabric store and found 2 patterns that looked like they would create the look. We ended up adding 1 additional style to the dress for a total of 3 different patterns to get the right look - one for the bodice, one for the cummerbund and one for the skirt.
- You have patience and understand the final results aren't going to happen overnight. I can't tell you how many times we ripped out seams and had to stop and think about the patterns we were using. We used muslin for the first dress (NEVER cut your first attempts in the wedding fabric!) and made so many different renditions so that we could get the right fit. The good news is that you can see progress pretty quickly.
- You want to save money! I wouldn't go as far as saying the initial goal was to save thousands, but once we added up all the costs, that is essentially what happened! I am pleased to say that the dress came in around $300 including muslin for the initial pattern and interlining, tons of crinkly, lusciously slubby silk for the dress, taffetta for the lining and all other notions. Note that this number does not include time spent making the dress.
I really couldn't be happier with the dress. Kathy and Barb are my sewing fairy godmothers and what they have created is something I could have never have found in a store. The experience outweighs the results though, in my opinion. It was a delightful opportunity to make this dress with my Mom and it's a memory I'll always have to look back on. So there you go, future brides! We did it and so can you!