|Photo by Terry Bonham Photography|
|Photo by Terry Bonham Photography|
It all started when I was browsing through Pinterest and saw a dress that I loved, but it was a designer dress and would be way out of my budget even used. There were also a few aspects of the dress that I would've changed, and why would I spend that much on a dress that I wish was just a little bit different anyway? So I just decided that I would make my own version.
I know the basics of sewing, but I am no seamstress. Seriously, believe it or not, I just winged it. I knew what I wanted and I knew I could figure out a way to make it work. The crazy part about me making my dress isn't my lack of sewing expertise, but what I made the dress out of.
It's a funny thing that you can actually buy clearance clothing for less than the cost of the fabric to make it. Knowing this, I bought 3 clearance dresses online from Forever 21 that were similar in color and fabric to what I wanted my future wedding dress to be, and those are what I used to make my dress. I did this in part because I got the dresses for less than I could have bought the fabric and I thought it would save time because I thought I would be able to preserve some of the existing dress structure. I was right in part because I did keep some of the original hemlines, but I ended up not being able to use as much as I had originally thought and almost completely reworked everything, ending in a dress that is pretty unrecognizable from the original dresses involved.
|The dress in the center was my inspiration. To make it, I used the dress on the left for the main structure and 2 of the dresses on the right for layers and for the lace appliqué.|
I thought I could save some of the dress structure because my original plan was to put the sheer outer layer of the dress on the right over the dress on the left, and with some slight modifications, that was going to be it! I mean, enough to see how I liked the style anyway. The result was horrifying. I looked like a sloppy marshmallow. Both dresses were huge on me. Forever 21 smalls are not small. It looked like a large. And in addition to that, the seams didn't match up and there was way too much bunchy fabric. It was just bad. Definitely not anything that resembled a wedding dress.
So the first step was to alter the base layer dress. I did this by pretty much completely cutting it apart and then sewing it back together, only smaller and with some modifications. This was my first time sewing with chiffon but I knew that my sewing machine would definitely eat the delicate fabric. I used tissue paper, like the kind for gift wrapping, on both sides of the seam to support the fabric and it worked like a charm. I also did the same for the sheer netting of the outer layer.
Next, I cut all the crochet lace appliqué off of the sheer dress and then cut those pieces into smaller sections. I used those pieces of lace as the lace on my dress. I was first going to simply sew the lace to the dress but the crochet was too harsh on the mesh and ended up looking too casual so I sewed the lace to the back side of the mesh which ended up giving it a softer look. This took the majority of the dress making time because I had to individually hand sew each piece on.
Once the dress was basically done, it was just down to the finishing touches. I felt like it wasn't fluffy enough so I ended up buying a second sheer dress (thankfully there were still some available on clearance. I guess nobody liked that dress!) and cut it into pieces to add fullness to the skirt. Most of what's under the skirt is just strips of fabric hanging freely under there. The effect was just what I was looking for.
My veil is a different story. I wanted to make a veil, but my mom said I should buy a nice one. So we ordered a champagne veil that was seriously beautiful, but when it came the day before my wedding it looked seriously orange next to my dress. I wasn't too worried. I settled on the idea that I would just pin some fabric on my head and be done with it. I mean, isn't that what a veil is anyway? However, when I woke up, I had a perfect veil made from the fabric I had originally bought to make my veil and even had some scrap lace from my dress as the head piece. My mom had stayed up till 1:00am to finish it, and it was perfect.
I definitely went through a panic about a month before the wedding when I thought I had made a terrible mistake in not making a white dress. I thought that this was my one time to wear a beautiful white dress and I ruined it by choosing blush instead. I also went dress shopping to secure my decision to wear my homemade dress and found some very nice options, but the entire time I was trying on dresses my eyes were drawn to a whimsical blush dress on a mannequin that was so much out of my budget that I wouldn't even dare to ask to try it on. So blush it was and I don't regret my dress at all. I loved everything about it!
I wish I could tell you more about how I actually made my dress, but I honestly don't know myself. I didn't use a pattern or dress form, I just eyeballed it and kept adjusting until I got it just how I wanted. If you look very closely, you can definitely tell that it wasn't made by a professional. It has mistakes and the inside seams are far from exemplary, but I figured no one would be looking that close anyway! It's probably a miracle it turned out as well as it did. In the end, it didn't matter to me. I loved my dress and I'm glad I got to wear something that I made, imperfections and all.
Here are some videos if you want to see it in action!