Start early, for the love of god
Jason and I got engaged September 2016. The wedding wouldn’t be until January 2018. But we moved in April 2017, so I effectively didn’t really start my dress in earnest until around June. I’m glad I started when I did because so many things changed and unforeseen problems would pop up. Also, mistakes were made.
For instance, I must not have tried sitting down or bending over in my mockup dress at all because when I tried on my would-be-final wedding dress and bent over in front of my camera, I 100% flashed it. It’s a really good thing I did that video test because that meant I could fix the problem in November, before the zipper had been installed and the lace applied, rather than realizing it months later when we got back our professional photos from the wedding itself.
That said, here’s a quick breakdown of how I made my dress.
The TLDR of making my dress + completion times
- Made the cocktail dress mockup, sans interfacing and lining. [7 hrs]
- Made the cocktail dress base, using boning and interfacing for the bodice and plum fabric for the skirt. This plum fabric was peau de soie and the color was listed as “Paradise” on Dessy.com and is what my bridesmaids’ dresses were made from. (I also made the groom and groomsmen’s pocketsquares.) The cocktail dress was as simple as following the pattern. [24.75 hrs]
- Made detachable skirt, using 15 yards of tulle. I altered the pattern from an elastic waistband to an interfaced waistband that would wrap around and snap for an easy transformation! I was also able to use more fabric from the thrift store wedding dress to make an ankle-length 3/4 circle skirt made of silk over the top of it. (I had to buy more silk fabric from Joann’s however, to be able to finish it. I was able to match it almost perfectly!) Once the silk overskirt was added, the original tulle pattern effectively worked as a petticoat for the silk skirt. [26.5 hrs]
- Painstakingly stitched lace appliqués to a large piece of tulle by hand. This part I actually took home with me and would do in front of Jason, for fear of not finishing in time. It’s not like Jason could know what the final dress would look like just by seeing a piece of tulle with lace bits all over it. Once the lace was all added to the tulle, I draped it over the cocktail dress while it was on the dress form to form the bodice and neckline. I ended up having to add more lace to the shoulder seams because I hadn’t planned that part and realized the stitching was showing in the tulle. [24.75 hrs]
The Final Stats
- Total Time: 91.5 hours
- Does not include the 10-12 hours my mom contributed
- Does include:
- 4.25 hours of seam ripping the thrift store dress
- 1.75 hours of just cutting out the pattern pieces
- Total spent: $326.30
- Start Date: September 18, 2016 (When we got engaged, I started a project on Cosplanner for it)
- Completion Date: December 9, 2017 (The day before my bridal shoot
In addition to making my dress for the wedding, I also made all of these:
- Choker with Bioshock Infinite pendant
- Pocketsquares (4)
- Painted signage for the venue (5)
- Modded a wooden chest from Joann’s into our card chest (Jason stained the wood and I added felt to the interior and bottom.)
Shoutout to my mom
And now we’ve come to the part where I thank my mom for all her help with my wedding dress. Not only did she and dad let me keep all my supplies and fabric at their house, but she actively helped with the process. Whenever she had time, she would help me seam rip or cut fabric for Jason and his groomsmen’s pocket squares. She sat next to me and helped me wrangle 15 yards of tulle. She calmed me down when I felt like my mind was racing with too many things on my To Do list. Thanks, as always, mom!
What you’ve been waiting for! Pictures!
And here are some pictures from the wedding itself! We switched up my hairstyle and I of course gained some handsome arm candy with my new husband.
I’ve finished my youtube video going over the process of making my dress! I was much better about taking timelapse videos at the beginning of the process versus the end. By the end, my priority was finishing the dress in time, not filming it.