Monday, 31 August 2015

Wedding DIY

Yesterday I posted my wedding dress. But that wasn’t the only homemade thing at our wedding!

Tie & pochet

Pattern: based on bought tie.
Fabric: purple satin cotton.
Haberdasheries: heavyweight sew-in interfacing, lightweight fusible interfacing.
A first: making a tie.

I wanted to make a tie and pochet for my fiancé using the same fabric I used for my dress, so we would match exactly. Also, I had never made a tie before, and that seemed fun to try.

I tried the Purl Bee tie pattern first, but the pattern pieces did not line up at all! They formed a zigzag :s. Also, the pattern did not specify at which scale to print, and how large seam allowances are!

So, I bought a cheap tie, took it apart, and traced the pieces of fabric to make a pattern. I cut the cotton fabric on the bias and added very thin fusible interfacing to the three pieces, as the fabric was rather thin.

I used the heavyweight sew-in interfacing from the bought tie, which was already cut to size and made the purple tie nicely thick and real-looking. Once I’d sewn the three pieces of cotton together, I just folded them over the interfacing and sewed them together by hand in the middle. As the loop through which the narrow end of the tie goes to secure it, I added the label from an old tie of my father’s, as a joke.

The pochet is simply a 24.5 cm square (including seam allowance), hemmed by machine. I think they’re usually larger, but the pocket it had to fit into was quite narrow, so I made this one smaller.


As I couldn’t find a petticoat that had the right fullness as well as the right colour, I bought two Hell Bunny petticoats in dolly pink, cut one of the two layers off one and sewed it onto the other.
Strangely, the amount of ruffling on the petticoats varied greatly; some ruffles I didn’t find full enough to peek out from under my dress, while others were fine. Obviously I picked the fullest ruffles for the outside layer.


I wanted all my accessories to be light pink, but of course, I didn’t want several different shades. So I cut my veil from the leftovers of the second petticoat, so they would at least match that. I cut three strips that were as wide as I could make them, which was 22 cm, and about 66 cm long, and the hairdresser firmly stuck them into my hair with a bobby pin each.


I am not exactly a shoe person, and had trouble finding nice shoes to go with my dress. First I looked for light pink ones that happened to match the other light pink items, but of course there was little hope of that. Even when I just looked for light coloured shoes that I could paint in the right colour, I still didn’t find any nice ones in any shop! So I ordered these Clarks Bombay Lights online, and luckily found them quite comfortable, as well as a bit vintage looking.

I painted them with Angelus acrylic leather paint. I bought colours 191 (shell pink) and 186 (hot pink) and mixed them – and managed to get exactly the right colour! The shop assistant told me to add the darker colour to the lighter one drop by drop because the lighter one would change colour really quickly, but that wasn’t the case at all :P. Adding drops to the bottle also didn’t work, as shaking didn’t make them mix in properly, so I mixed some paint in a bowl instead. I only needed a tiny amount, even though I painted several layers. The paint worked well, and the stitching on the shoes remained nicely defined. I did find it a little sticky, and I didn’t like the ‘satin finisher’, which didn’t create a satin sheen but a very shiny one! So I decided not to use it.

Bouquet, boutonnieres, corsages and floral arrangement

My beautiful bouquet was made by my mother! She picked the flowers at the Botanical Gardens where she volunteers. I found that, and the fact that she made the bouquet, a really nice idea. Also, this meant I saved a lot of money, but the main reason for asking my mum was that I know she’s really good at flower arranging, whereas getting the bouquet from a florist would have been a gamble tastewise. My best friend actually left her bouquet at home when she got married, because it was so not what she wanted…

My bouquet contained echinaceas, saponarias, maidenhair fern leaves, lady’s mantle leaves, anemone leaves, and one flower I don’t know the name of.

We spent a whopping €29,55 on the flowers, corsages and boutonnieres. Not too bad! This was actually spent on the basic materials – bouquet holder, florist tape and corsage magnets– as the flowers were free.

Corsages are very easy to make. The florist tape sticks to itself, and can easily be wrapped around a magnet to hold it in place. The other magnet goes behind the wearer’s garment, which is thus not damaged by a pin going through.

Guest book

 (Photo by me)
After searching for a guestbook for a little while, I realised I was actually looking for one that resembled our invitation card. So I thought: why not buy a dummy book and glue one of our surplus cards onto it? I also like the paper in dummy books – matte, cream-coloured and quite thick.

The pink hearts on the card and the guestbook matched my accessories, by the way! And the letters inside the card had the same colour as my dress.

Cake topper

Searching for nice cake toppers, I came across silhouette ones, which I really liked, also because of the historic aspect.

I did actually want the silhouette to be ours, so when my fiancé had picked up his suit and my petticoat and dress were finished, we took a photo of ourselves from the side! I cut out the silhouette on the computer and printed it onto printable shrinky dinks foil, as large as would fit onto an A4 sheet. Strangely, the shrinky dinks shrunk more widthways than lengthways, so I had to multiply the width by 1.25. But then it turned out exactly as I had hoped.

Initially I wanted the silhouette to be black, as is traditional, but the black printer ink was damaged when I cut the silhouette out before baking it. Also, I thought black didn’t really match anything and was a bit gloomy. So, as we happened to have a can of silver spray paint, I made a silver silhouette instead.
I stuck bamboo forks to the back to be able to mount it on the cake.

Photos by Happy Photographer, unless otherwise specified. The guest corsage pictures are just fragments of the photos.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

My wedding dress

Pattern: Colette Parfait, heavily modified (of course! :P)
Fabric: purple satin cotton.
Haberdasheries: a zipper.
A first: making a 1950s-ish dress. It won’t be the last! I really like this style. This wasn’t actually the first wedding dress I made – I also made a Regency style one for a friend in 2008.

I got married this month! :D And I made my own wedding dress. Here’s a summary of the process.

I’m not the kind of girl who dreamed of getting married since I was a child. I always wanted to be with someone, and from early on in our relationship I knew that if I wanted to marry anyone it’d be him, but just living together was fine with me as well. Nonetheless, it can be hard not to get sucked into what society thinks a wedding should be! So I found this quote really good to keep in mind:

“A wedding is a party, not a performance. If at the end of the day, you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly!”

Despite this, unfortunately I still got very nervous :/.

I never dreamed of getting married, and I also didn’t dream away at the thought of a big white dress. So I knew from early on in the planning process that I’d probably have to make my dress myself. But I did start by going to a bridal shop which had lots of coloured dresses on their website, with my mother and my mother in law. It was funny to try on the dresses, just a special thing that you can only really do for this one occasion, but there wasn’t any dress that I truly loved. In fact, I found that most wedding dresses and party dresses are made of cheap materials, not very neatly finished, and thus very much overpriced. I know that everything connected with weddings is automatically twice as expensive as it would normally be, but I wasn’t expecting these dresses that are so important to many people to be made of polyester… Unfortunately, as a seamstress, I couldn’t help noticing these things and found them disappointing.

After this, for a while I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted, mainly of what I didn’t want (polyester, white, strapless). I considered having a dress made, but one shop I looked into had a 20 week delivery period and charged over 800 euros! As it was already less than 20 weeks until our wedding it wasn’t even possible to have my dress made there, but also, if felt a bit silly to have this dress made by someone else while working on less important things myself. So I set out to find a nice fabric, which also proved difficult…

Then my mum and I went shopping once more and ran into a vintage style shop I’d never seen before. I tried on some swing style dresses there, and (partly because of the shop assistant who had some very good suggestions) finally knew that this was the style I wanted – swing style, just below the knee, with a petticoat! I felt so great in those dresses, and thought them really flattering, showing off my waist and the slimmest part of my legs.
(The evening before this revelation I found this collection of coloured wedding dresses online. I liked several of them – especially, yes, the 1950s style ones!)

I eventually bought purple satin cotton in bed shop. I’m used to sewing with bed linen, so this was not as strange to me as it may be to some people ;). The fabric was beautiful, finely woven and shiny, and available in a nice colour that was bright enough for me, but not garish. As I wrote here [link to Spring For Cotton post] I had a colour analysis done to find out which colours were most suitable for me. I initially considered a light pink wedding dress, but since intense colours suit me best, I chose purple with light pink accessories instead. (The colour is actually a lot less bright in real than it seems in the photos, but I love both versions of it!)

Then I still had to find a pattern… I considered a shelf bust, but decided on a sweetheart neckline instead. I came across the Colette Parfait pattern and ordered that. It was too summer dressy though, so I attached the straps to the top part of the bodice with a smooth line, as well as making several other modifications to the bodice to reduce the hanging boob effect I think it had :P, and to make it fit me better. I didn’t use the skirt parts of the pattern, but cut a full circle (in two halves, as I had to accommodate the zipper). I hemmed the skirt by hand, which went a lot more quickly than I expected!

I bought a black elastic belt with a bow at the vintage style shop, which goes with, and really spices up, almost any outfit. But I didn’t want any black in my wedding outfit, so I made a purple version of the belt. I felt it looked nicest with the bow at the back.

I definitely want to make the original version of this pattern some time! I love this striped one.

Photos by Happy Photographer.