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