I've dreamed about my wedding since the day I first understood what the word wedding meant. Every sleepover I had in elementary school and junior high was filled with giggles and innocent dreams about that day and all that it would hold. The dress, of course, was one of the most important thoughts. Would it be long and flowing? Would the veil cover my face? Would the dress sparkle in the candlelight?? I was a dreamer and for as long as I can remember, these thoughts have filled my mind.
Once the reality of wedding bells grew closer, though, I began to realize that the dreams in my head of that perfect dress were going to be hard to satisfy. You see, I'm rather picky when it comes to clothes. This is mostly due to my love for vintage clothing, especially dresses from the 1950's. When I picture the perfect dress in my mind, I see a full skirt with a fluffy petticoat peaking out from below the hem. As I began to think through what type and style of wedding dress I really wanted to have, I began to realize that it was going to be very hard to come by, especially with my rather limited budget.
So, I came to the only decision that made sense: I decided to make my own dress.
Now, at the time I was a novice seamstress, at best. I had made a few aprons with full bodices, a couple simple dresses, a skirt, and a few random other things. But, you see, I have this philosophy on life that if it's possible to make it myself, then, by golly, I'll make it myself!! Because, you see, up until the last sixty years or so, women often made their own wedding dresses (or their mothers/grandmothers made them) and I do so despise the fact that we are losing the art of sewing in our society. So, with all that in mind, I figured, it couldn't be that hard---I could, and would, figure it out. And, so, I did!
I found a picture of a vintage dress pattern, that I absolutely adored and a few pictures of wedding dresses that had a similar feel and I used them all as inspiration for my design. (The sources for these images are long forgotten. My apologies!) I was able to use the picture of the back of the vintage dress pattern to give me an idea for the amount of fabric I would eventually need.
I then ordered my fabric online, which took a lot of searching to find just what I was looking for! The sheer overlay ended up coming from an Etsy store based out of China and the main fabric of the dress I found at Joann.
Then came the most challenging part--designing the pattern. As I sat in my chilly apartment that winter and stared at my sketches before me, I regretted all of the times that I had thought that fractions were a waste of time...I decided through this designing endeavor that my future children will learn the practicality of fractions. They are rather necessary in so many of the projects I find myself doing!
After the initial pattern was designed and cut out of tracing paper, I got to working making my first sample dress out of an old white sheet.
Although I thoroughly documented this entire process, I unfortunately lost the majority of the pictures in an unexpected phone crash right before the wedding. Out of all of the pictures I lost, the ones of my dress were the most disappointing.
After the white sheet dress was finished, I made a few adjustments and then started on the second sample, this one was made out of an adorable vintage sheet set with bright yellow flowers that I had slept on for years at our beloved cabin. I ended up wearing that dress for my family bridal shower, which was perfectly delightful! Those photos were also lost. Boo.
Then, about a month before the wedding (Hah!!! Yikes, is right!!), I started on my actual wedding dress. It came together rather quickly and I was so happy with the pattern tweaks that I had made along the way. The final product was exactly what I wanted. It fell to the perfect spot on my legs, it twirled just right, and I felt my absolute best in it.
I also made my hair piece and veil, which were by far the easiest parts of the project, but they added just the right amount of vintage flair and feathered spunk to my full ensemble (especially when paired with my mustard pumps)! Oh, I did so love how everything turned out!!
Now, I as I said earlier this week, I wanted to write about our wedding as a way to inspire. I realize that the majority of the brides out there are not going to make their own dresses, and that's honestly not why I'm writing about this. I am sharing it with you, though, to help you think outside of the box. My dress, shoes, and accessories ended up costing me less than $200. I made everything except my jewelry (a pearl necklace and earrings, which my mom had bought me for my 18th birthday) and my shoes, which I found online after months of searching. The point is, when you stop to think about it, there are lots of ways to get creative with weddings and any event, for that matter. Why spend so much money for something that so many people end up sealing away in a box and sliding under their bed?!
For me, I couldn't do it. So, I figured out an alternative. And as for storing that lovely dress of mine? It hangs in the closet of our spare bedroom so that each year, when our anniversary comes 'round, I can pull it out, put it on, and let my husband twirl me around our living room with our wedding songs filling the air with their sweet, sweet melodies.