Warning: This is an excessively long sewing related post. It’s also picture heavy, so I will put in a break right here.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram might be happy to finally see my #specialproject as a whole. I have been posting sneak peeks ever since the first muslin:
Of course the special project was making parts of my wedding celebration dress. I only have action shots of the finished dress, such as this one:
For those of you who are only interested in the pictures, sorry, you’ll have to scroll a bit to see everything, but for now here’s the full length front view:
Originally I had planned to buy my dress, as I didn’t want to stress myself about making one. Additionally, sewing time was very limited due to having the bean. However, in February the lovely Anlin from Kessa in Stitches approached me and asked if she may knit my wedding dress. I was blown away by her offer! All that work! Plus, she’d just had a baby and thus limited time herself. But knowing her, I knew it was going to turn out fabulous, so I got very excited about the project.
I knew I didn’t want to wear pure white. Firstly, because I needed to rebel a little bit (after all I used to cringe at the idea of being conventional (though I know I’ve become super conventional)). Secondly, blue just suits me better. Also, even before Anlin mentioned the lace overlay idea, I had loved the look of white lace over a non-white underlay. Ever since I had first seen the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2013 bridal collection I couldn’t get the colours of this dress out of my mind:
The poofiness, however, is just so not me! All the wedding dress patterns I had bought had the same slim silhouette (Butterick’s “Pippa”, Vogue’s oop 2720 and Sew Chic’s “Fantasia”). In the end I settled on the skirt part of the Fantasia, plus a simple self-drafted boat neck princess-seamed bodice. Though I love the wrap bodice on the Fantasia, it wasn’t going to work with the lace we had planned.
The skirt fit almost right from the start (I just needed to take in the side seams and curve the back seams a little more). The bodice, however, took 7 muslins and a lot of fitting advice and moral support from some awesome L.A. ladies (thanks stitches!). The work did pay off, though! Here are some comparison photos from the 4th (?) muslin to the final version of the underdress:
The part that needed most tweaking was the back, which is hard to do on your own. Of course there are still some wrinkles, but I guess they are mostly amplified by the shiny fabric.
Speaking of fabric, I knew it needed to be easy(ish) to handle, due to my current sewing skills. It also needed quite some body to support the lace. Luckily I found the perfect silk dupioni in my favourite (German) online store, and it’s even at an affordable (for Europe) price:
While the colour was spot on, the quality wasn’t excellent (but just right for my project). It also frayed like crazy, so I underlined the whole dress with cotton poplin. I serged the two layers together before construction, which made working with the silk as easy as working with cotton. I used a microtex needle to further facilitate things.
I will not show pictures of the insides, as they look atrocious. I used pencil to mark seamlines and notches on the white cotton, I made several seamlines without unpicking the previous ones (I had to take the skirt in quite a bit a the bottom to let the lace flow nicely) and the slip-stitching to anchor the facing is amateurish, to say the least. Hence the dress is all façade and no substance. But after all it only had to look good for one day. 😛
And look good it did! It looked spectacular, in fact, thanks to the gorgeous lace Anlin had made. It took her over 70 hours to knit the full dress from top to bottom. o_0
Being a n00b when it comes to lace knitting, I have no idea what magic she used to make the patterns we chose work. If you’re curious about what patterns she used, head on over to her blogpost about the dress!
The lace is light and delicate as a whisper. I think the weight of the yarn she used is called cobweb, and that’s exactly how it looks/feels like. The composition is silk/viscose (if I remeber correctly), which gives it a wonderful sheen. We attached the overlay on the neck- and armholes and along the center back zip. Anlin was afraid the lace could stretch over time, so I anchored the nubs around the hip and around the waist seam. To keep the train from twisting and shifting to the front, I anchored the overlay along the center back seam. Other than that it hangs freely.
To give that extra finishing touch, and to cover the lace edges, I added a trim of tiny pearls along the neck and armholes:
We had originally also attached the lace at the hemline, To make the beautiful peacock feather lace more visible. Unfortunately this kept pulling the hem up. I left the dress hanging for several weeks, hoping it would stretch to the correct length. I even added curtain lead inside the hem, but in the end I had to undo and let the lace move freely. Consequently, the lace overlay hit at different heights throughout the night. 🙂
In the end I was super happy to have made parts of my own wedding dress. Thanks to the help of Anlin and Maria (my mother-in-law, who helped me a lot during the last week) it was also a not too stressful process (some stress was unavoidable, though). As chlicheed as it sounds, it made me feel truly special!
Would I do it again? Probably not, but I’m exceedingly proud we’ve made it!