Making a wedding dress – part 01

Making a wedding dress – part 01

Hello.

It’s been a slow week for me sewing wise, but I thought I would share with you an ongoing project. My cousin asked me  if I could take on making a wedding dress for when she is getting married in May. My biggest project as of yet (that isn’t for myself, that is).

A little hesitantly I agreed to do it. I was thinking it would be nice to spend time with her, and still… it’s a lot of responsibility to take on to make someones wedding dress. What if I get it wrong and can’t make it flattering on her.? Or if I don’t do the seams as they should be done and the whole dress falls apart when she’s trying to put it on on her wedding day.? Well, I guess I just have to make sure that don’t happen.

The start of the project

She came to my place before Christmas, and we talked about what she was envisioning and showed me some inspirational photos. Then during the holiday I started sketching on some designs and sent them to her for approval. This is the one she picked:

Making a wedding dress

Wedding dress sketch

The idea was to have a simple dress with a clean cut and straight lines. When I first drew the sketch I thought of a dress in several layers, with a brightly coloured satin or thai silk at the bottom and one or two layers of silk chiffon at the top. However, when she picket the design and we talked about it, it was decided that the dress should be made in a single layer with satin only( plus lining, of course), with no top layers of chiffon. I think part of the reason was that she wanted a dress she could use again after her wedding.

Pattern & fabrics

I searched, but I couldn’t really find a pattern that would serve for this design, so I had to more or less draft the pattern myself. After the pattern was ready I made up a sample, and had my cousin over for a fitting test. There were massive changes that had to be done. Lucky for me she was smaller than the initial pattern, so I didn’t have to make up another sample, but could apply the changes to the sample I had already made.

Next up came going through all the textile stores I could find in the Oslo area in search of the “perfect” fabrics for the dress. I collected lots of samples, and sent to my cousin for approval. She settled on a brightly coloured yellow silk from SAAB tekstil. It’s rather thin, and maybe not the first silk I would chose for a wedding dress for myself, but the colour is beautiful and it has a nice drape. For the lining I used a nice silk pongee from Morbærtreet.

Making a wedding dress

Yellow satin

Fabric challenges

Because of the waterfall in the front on the chest the silk needs to be cut on a 45 degree angle to the selvage. This means that there must be a horizontal line at the waist also, as the fabric isn’t wide enough to cut the whole thing in one piece. But when I cut up the pattern there was no need to keep the darts on the skirt part. They could were closed up as I flared the skirt at the bottom.

When I put the pattern on the fabric, I cut everything out in single layer to make sure that the fabric wouldn’t shift too much. After cutting out all the pieces, both main fabric and lining, I basted the whole dress together (mostly by hand). I did this in order to let her try it on, so we could check the fit again after I made the final pattern changes. Luckily there was no additional changes that had to be done.

Making a wedding dress

Hand bastin silk satin

And now we’re up to status quo. The dress is all ready to be sewn up. All that lacking now is some sewing inspiration to get started…

 

Making a wedding dress

Trying on the wedding dress

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Anne Lyth

I'm a Norwegian woman in my early thirties, -married and with two children, living in Oslo -the capital of Norway. I have a BA in Art and Design from Høyskolen i Oslo, and is at current working with production in my professional life. Sewing is my all time hobby and passion. 

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