DIY Wedding Dress – Patterns, Design Choices and Fabrics

There was a reason that I was hunting for a haribo ring in a box, which was hidden in our boiler cupboard on Friday 29th May 2020. That reason was I had ‘mentioned marriage 3 f****** times before 10 o’clock in the morning and the ring had been hidden for two months so I should really start looking’. The mentions were because I’d found a dress pattern that I thought was perfect for my wedding dress.

Pattern Selection & Design Decisions

The pattern in question was the Vogue Misses 2965, It has a gorgeous low back, is cut on the bias and has a cowl neckline. This would have shown off some of my favourite features of myself, my collarbones and my back. However, our choice of venue has a lot of stairs and I am terrified of tripping over hems / myself. Coupled with a planned March wedding in the UK where I may have frozen to death, I decided that however beautiful the dress would be, it wouldn’t look great with goosebumps. In the end we got married in April 2021 and had our reception at a city farm, so these practicalities still held true.

Vogue 2965, the dress pattern which launched a proposal!

I had a few ideas in mind for my dress. I knew I wanted it to be ivory, silk, cover the tops of my arms and be mid-calf length/ tea length (they’re different!). I extensively searched lots of pattern websites (including the foldline) for inspo. I then made a shortlist, the Vogue 9327 Misses pattern caught my eye, particularly views B&C. I sketched up my ideas (using my mybodymodel) and had a chat with my mum and some of my friends. Most people couldn’t quite see what I was on about. 

Vogue 9327, the pattern which caught my eye!

I really liked view B for the long cuffs and slashed, pouffy sleeves. In my first iterations and sketches I was considering the fabric for these to be lace. My mum had very kindly said I could recycle elements of her dress! After a while I settled on making them in a silk chiffon. 

The initial design, which changed a bit, but not hugely during toileing

Even though I was making my own dress I didn’t want to miss out on the rite of passage that was going dress shopping. Me and my mothership went off to a boutique to try on some dresses, there weren’t many which were calf/ tea length and to get a sleeve, most of my options were adding a beautiful lacy bolero over the top.  I even tried a really fitted fish tail dress on, which made my figure look great (but restricted my motion way too much).

Dress Trying on 2020 style!

I went back to the drawing board, bought a few more patterns and then decided to stick with my original vision as I couldn’t get it out of my head. I did however realise that I now really wanted appliques on my dress to elevate it to the next level. I also bought a petticoat pattern (Burda 6739) to give the skirt some support structure.

The two patterns I bought as other design options. One is a vintage reproduction

Fabric

About 3 hours (3 weeks) after Matt had proposed, I went on the New Craft House website. They do some bridal fabric drops every now and again, there was some ivory silk habotai of which 3 metres went straight into my basket. This was originally for the bias cut gown, it ended up as lining for my final dress. I then played the waiting game for other silks to come on to the website. I snapped up half a metre of the bone coloured silk organza when it appeared for the areas which may need some stiffening or extra OOMPH. Then, in one of those ‘risk it for a chocolate biscuit’ moments, I bought 4 metres of an ivory silk dupion. 

I call it risky because I hadn’t touched, seen, heard, smelt OR tasted a single one of these fabrics and was largely relying upon the New Craft House to have used the same definition of ivory throughout their fabric collection. I have at least a weekly debate with Matt about what colour something is so I was absolutely thrilled when the dupion turned up and was an excellent match for the habotai. This especially cheered me up as I’d broken my arm rollerskating 3 days before it arrived.

The chiffon from the sleeves needed a bit more of a search, I knew it was unlikely that the New Craft House would have any ivory silk chiffon coming in in the timescale required (3 months). So I went in search of specialist silk websites. I came across Beckford Silk and ordered a few samples. I wavered between natural white, pale cream and cream, eventually deciding on pale cream and ordered 2 metres. Prior to dress construction I got all of my silks dry-cleaned to avoid shrinkage! If you happen to be in the Bristol area I can recommend Victoria Dry Cleaners for their knowledge and willingness to listen!

I also ordered two styles of cotton appliques from Etsy, I couldn’t decide which I liked more so waited until I could pin to the finished dress to get an idea of which went best with the shape of the dress.

For the petticoat I used some of the habotai for the yoke part and ordered some standard ivory tulle for the structure. I dyed some of the trimmings and lace from Mums dress and used these for the finish of the petticoat hem.

From left to right: Bone organza, ivory habotai, ivory dupion. Bottom, silk chiffon.

If you’re still with me, thank you and congratulations! The next post on the dress is going to be about the fitting process and construction tweaks, the final one will be a lot of picture spam with close up detail shots!

** Disclosure** I have put a lot of links in this blog, I haven’t been asked to include these links or been paid/given anything in return for linking them here. I just want to give the best information possible about my process

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