Check Out My Wedding Dress + Sanity Saving Tips For Making A Custom Dress

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Point of No Return

Wedding Dress Blues

imageplaceholder Jill Case
Online Editor, Sew Daily
SewDaily.com

I love your feet because they have wandered over the earth and through the wind and water until they brought you to me.
– Pablo Neruda


The Wedding Dress. I still have my wedding dress, it is safely in a box in the basement, not sure what to do with it now. Before I got married I had grand plans for my wedding dress. This is what I wanted it to look like only in blue.
Dress patttern

I didn’t want a traditional white gown and found a beautiful blue velvet and blue silk tafefetta for the over skirt.  I didn’t have time to make it myself so I had a seamstress make it up. This recommendation came from my mom who knows about sewing and such, so I felt comfortable with her recommendation. I’m sure you can sense some foreboding here.

Now, I have never had a wedding dress made or even a prom dress made by a ‘professional’ seamstress. So, I had no idea really what to expect. This woman apparently had been sewing since she was two. Okay. The first thing I had to do was send her my measurements and she would then make the dress. And, that was it? No muslin, no pre-dress warm-up, just send the measurements, the fabric and she was good to go. Red Flag.

Oh, and of course this was all going down about 2 weeks before the wedding.

I got the dress back and tried it on, the velvet dress was huge and very heavy. It was a woven velvet but the dress was lined with a stretch lining. Not sure what that was about. It had absolutely no shape or drape to it. I just looked like a long blue tube. I put the skirt on and asked my older sister, she said it “it looks great” all while grimacing painfully.

Long story short the dress was stitched well but it really did look awful on me. Admittedly,  I did not go into this well prepared at all. Turns out the woman was legally blind and had only sewn custom doll clothes.

Anyhoo, I made a mad dash to several bridal stores in the area found The Wedding Dress the night before the rehearsal dinner. It only needed the French bustling to be fixed and straps to be taken up. My cousin Jodi and anyone else helped get it all together that night. So very lucky that everything turned out well.
If you do want to sew your own wedding dress we can help. Or if you want someone else to make it here’s a few tips from me.

  • Know the difference between a designer, a seamstress and a tailor. A tailor does not necessarily design.
  • Meet the person who will sew your dress in person. (Perhaps an eye test is in order)
  • Starting weeks, months ahead of time is paramount to success.
  • Be sure you have a clear idea of what you want. Very clear but be flexible.
  • Choose a dressmaker who is familiar with bridal dresses and fabrics. See their work and ask for references, or check Yelp, Angie’s List etc.
  • Check your blind faith at the door. This is no time to be letting the whims of the universe take over.

Looking back on my wedding day it all seems so long ago.  Here I am in The Dress. I was really prurty that day(the dude isn’t too bad either).

What was your wedding dress like? Did you have a great experience or something else? Would you like to make your own? Let me know on the blog!

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Wedding & Special Occasion
Jill

About Jill

I am the Online Editor for Sew Daily and I am so incredibly excited to meet everyone here on this amazing sewing community!

My first passion is garment sewing, I love vintage sewing patterns and working with knits and silks. I also get very jazzed about sewing pants and love learning couture techniques. What about you? I can't wait to get started finding out more about you and what you like to sew.

14 thoughts on “Check Out My Wedding Dress + Sanity Saving Tips For Making A Custom Dress

  1. I showed this to my Mom and she just snorted! I made my wedding dress, and she found me in the living room at 3 am the day of the wedding adding pearl beads and sequins. She was mad that I was up (so what was she doing up???). Then she really flipped a wig when the flower girl showed up at 10 am to have her dress made. I did have 6 and a half hours before we were leaving for the church! It was a simple sheath dress and she was just about 75 lbs. Dress was done by noon. All together I made my dress (cathedral train, about 700 inches around hem, I designed myself), my veil, 9 bridesmaids dresses ( a Burda pattern, can’t find it anymore), 9 cummerbunds & 9 bow ties for the groom’s attendants. Mom was a little stressed!

  2. you will be surprised, but we decided to get married on january and got married on march. we didn’t have time to get everything ready, and I’ve thought about making my own dress, I had the patterns ans everything, but my mom stop me and told me that it would take a lot of time and she was right, I had 1 month before the wedding day and still no dress, so I take a deep breath and bought a dress online, to china. I was scared, It was only one week left and I hadn’t my dress, and it suddenly arrived, it fitted perfect, the color was the baby pink, and I always had planned, was a short dress. I don’t regret my desicion, I would like to make a dress at least once in my life, but still i think i was lucky 😉

  3. I made my wedding dress way back in the 70’s. A long A-line dress with a lace coat and hood – i think it was a Simplicity or McCall’s pattern. i made it in crimpiline – remember that fabric? Never wrinkled but it was hot to wear. My mom hand sewed gathered lace along the edges of the sleeves, the coat and hood. I still have the dress and coat stuffed into a spare room closet. Can’t bear to part with it – it’s old fashioned and very modest by today’s standards but it brings back great memories though. Some things you just have to keep!

  4. My mom was a great sewist and made almost all of our clothes when I was growing up, so of course she would make my wedding dress. We went to dress shops and found exactly what I wanted. Then we went home and she put three different patterns together to make an almost identical version for less than $50 (this was in 1978). She also made the bridesmaids’ dresses. And her dress. And my grandma’s dress. I honestly do not know how she got them all done, but she did it and with time to spare. And we all looked beautiful!

  5. Yeah, why are wedding dresses so stressful, anyway? Hubster & I got engaged on Friday, and married the next Saturday, and I was really busy coordinating a company merger, so I had 1 day allocated to “dress shopping” and NONE to dress sewing. Luckily for me, I was pretty slim at the time, and not too picky, and had never even given a moment’s thought to what I wanted to look like on my wedding day. I tried on a few dresses, picked out one that fit pretty well & went with it. One of the ones I tried on though, was hot pink (LOVED IT!) and well out of my price range. To this day, my sister-in-law insists that if she had known the marriage would last this long, she’d have bought it for me!

    Now, my MOB dress was a different story altogether! My daughter gave me a month’s notice that SHE was going to be married, so I started shopping around…in stores and online. Found a gorgeous gown from JCPenney online and purchased it. And waited, and waited, and waited for its arrival. Three days before we had to leave to get back to Virginia, it still hadn’t arrived. I began to be a wee bit concerned & started making phone calls. They insisted it had been delivered (somewhere….), but I didn’t have it. Luckily (again, right?), I had been saving one of those gorgeous patterns for a dressy lace over bodice-type gowns, with various neck & sleeve combinations. The name Jessica McClintock (spelling??) seems to ring a bell. Figure-flattering princess seams, a long line of button loops & covered buttons, etc….beautiful. Better get myself busy, I had to pack up a trailer & sew a dress! I used crepe-backed satin knit, shiny side for the skirt & matte side for the bodice, overlayed matching lace on the bodice, and it turned out beautifully, in only 2 days! Whew! Then, during a “dance” with my grandson, the skirt was snagged in several places and ruined, but, hey, it served its purpose for the day!

  6. I had my dress made by an online company located close to where I live…spent months doing research first though. Well worth it, though a few friends and family did ask why I wasn’t making my own dress….simple…I didn’t need the pressure!!!

    In the end my dress arrived 7 months before our wedding and was above and beyond my expectations for it! And on our wedding day, it was perfect.

    Honestly, research, research, research!!! Try on many different styles of dresses, take people with you who will tell you the blatant truth, and then follow your heart. If you’re brave enough to make your own…WOW, I’m in awe!

  7. My own wedding gown was cheap ($400 in 1983) but looked great. Polyester with Juliet sleeves, Renaissance lines to go with the Swedish crown. The hem was crooked and my brother’s MIL pinned up the dip with a safety pin. Wedding gowns have different sizing. This was a petite and so short I had to wear little white ballet slippers which I embellished with French ribbon ties. . . . I want to caution everyone about something else with the seamstress they work with. A Swiss friend living in San Francisco took a lot of polyester knit print to an Asian sewing lady — Vietnamese or Cambodian or Thai. She sewed beautifully, Gerda had heard. So Gerda told her to make a scoop neck and a little blousing and elbow sleeves, blah boah. When Gerda went to get the clothes, there was the turtleneck and long rusched sleeves she had been wearing when she took the work! So when the dressmaker nods her head a lot and you think you’re on the same page of the pattern book, I’d suggest a trial garment of some sort — especially for the big day.

  8. I was already 32 when my husband and I got married. I had been married before but not in the church. My father wanted me to wear a while gown so my mom made it for me. I though it would look pretty to have all the wedding party have a raised hem in the front. Well, as I said my mom made my dress and she decided I needed to have a train! So the raised hem in the front wound up being just above my shoes and the train was about 4 or 5 feet long. The dress was also covered in lace and pearls that my mom lovingly sewed. Both my dad and I were ecstatic! It was sooooo, beautiful. Oh, did I mention, my mom was actually my step-mom who raised me after my father remarried. I thank God for her every day.

  9. Fun stories! My first wedding dress was a regular dress (denim), and we got married during lunch at the Justice of the Peace. My second wedding dress was more traditional, except I bought it off eBay for $25 (I’m sure the seller wanted more, but I was the only bidder)! Luckily, the only alteration I needed was padding for the boobs. 🙂

  10. Back in the late 70s, I wanted to make my wedding dress but no time since I was also in college. Found a very nice dress, had photography done three days before the wedding. Two days before the wedding we dropped my dress ff at the local laundry to have the front steamed. And…somehow they scorched it and didn’t tell me until we picked it up the next day, the day before the wedding. We hopped in the car and drove an hour out to civilization (we lived in a pretty rural area) Walked into JC Penney (back then they had a good budget wedding salon). The salesperson walked up and, thinking she was making a joke, said, “So, is the wedding tomorrow?” she nearly fainted when I said it was. The dress I found was a bit too big, but at least some of the lace matched the dress in my photos. That was a day.

  11. Back in the late 70s, I wanted to make my wedding dress but no time since I was also in college. Found a very nice dress, had photography done three days before the wedding. Two days before the wedding we dropped my dress ff at the local laundry to have the front steamed. And…somehow they scorched it and didn’t tell me until we picked it up the next day, the day before the wedding. We hopped in the car and drove an hour out to civilization (we lived in a pretty rural area) Walked into JC Penney (back then they had a good budget wedding salon). The salesperson walked up and, thinking she was making a joke, said, “So, is the wedding tomorrow?” she nearly fainted when I said it was. The dress I found was a bit too big, but at least some of the lace matched the dress in my photos. That was a day.

  12. Back in the late 70s, I wanted to make my wedding dress but no time since I was also in college. Found a very nice dress, had photography done three days before the wedding. Two days before the wedding we dropped my dress ff at the local laundry to have the front steamed. And…somehow they scorched it and didn’t tell me until we picked it up the next day, the day before the wedding. We hopped in the car and drove an hour out to civilization (we lived in a pretty rural area) Walked into JC Penney (back then they had a good budget wedding salon). The salesperson walked up and, thinking she was making a joke, said, “So, is the wedding tomorrow?” she nearly fainted when I said it was. The dress I found was a bit too big, but at least some of the lace matched the dress in my photos. That was a day.

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