When my friend Nel asked me to make her wedding dress back in March 2017, I have to admit that I was shook for a couple of minutes. At that time, I was going through a rough time in my life (I was actually on sick leave from work) and was re-questioning just about everything in my life! And then, a light bulb when on in my head… As an occupational therapist, who has to encourage some of my clients into pursuing meaningful occupation to help overcome mental health issues, it was only the just right challenge I needed. Working on this project helped me see that my work was still meaningful, despite of what I was going through!
My friend started by sending me inspiration pictures. From the start, she told me that she really wanted to be able to wear the dress after the wedding. Also, because of her height, she wanted a short dress. She eliminated the option of buying a dress because she wanted to have a perfectly fitted dress for her height and size without going through complicated fitting sessions.
After meeting and chatting about her expectations, we went fabric shopping. We found her fabrics in different shops in the Montreal Fashion district (St-Hubert street). We selected an off-white satin and a silk organza. I used a commercial pattern to create an adjusted princess seam bodice. Then, I drafted a circle skirt for the dress. The overlay skirt is a simple gathered skirt attached to a sash made out of the dress’ fabric.
The initial request was to create a short dress. As I was playing with the overlay, I felt like showing her what a long overlay skirt would look like on top of the short dress. I decided not to cut but to pin the overlay up to show her how it looked short, then I let it down to show her the other option. I’m so glad I showed her both! She ended up really liking the long overlay and went for this option! Also, when she tried it, I felt like the open back was a nice design feature. She agreed and we also went for that option!
The dress has a full lining and the bodice is reinforced with boning in all princess seams. I used an acetate fabric for the lining. I drafted a full A-line skirt lining which also has a slightly gathered waist to keep volume to a minimum around waist but still get a fuller underskirt. In my opinion, it was unnecessary to do a full circle skirt lining.
My babylock Tempo machine made it easy to work with all those slippery fabrics! I also made sure to use my straight stitch foot to increase control over those fabrics. I left the Silk organza overlay raw in all edges. The selvage had a nice finish which was perfect for the open-back skirt!
The bride was beautiful and very happy on her special day!
Question from an Instagram follower:
- Where there any surprises that you didn’t anticipate? Not really. I love sewing evening and wedding guest dresses. There where no new techniques used to create this dress.
Overall, this was a great experience! It surely prepared me for my big day! I am now actively gathering ideas on my secret wedding dress inspiration board. Should I open it to my blog followers? Let me know if you want me to share about DIY wedding dress inspiration from pinterest!
Join me to wish my friend Nel a long and lasting happy marriage!