My wedding dress – inspiration

So as I alluded to in past posts I intend to sew myself a wedding dress! Some of you may think “she’s not serious!?” And some might be giving me a double thumbs up. And basically I’m in the middle, thinking “bwahahah this is so surreal”.
I wanted to share the process on the blog so I always had it to look back on but was relieved to hear that many of you wanted to read about it too.

So I’m going to throw my hands up and confess I’m a terrible decision maker when it comes to big dressmaking projects. It often takes me a long time to settle on fabric and pattern pairings, often changing my mind right up to the last minute. This is amplified when I’m emotionally invested. Not very good for a project where you need a clear plan and a strict time frame!

We’re currently struggling to find a venue for next summer. Apparently we’ve missed the boat for a lot of places which majorly sucks. There is a slim chance we’ll get Sept but it’s touch and go. This means my wedding may be 2018 and I’ll have double the amount of time to pick a dress design!


I clearly jinxed myself and today we’ve lost our chance at getting married in 2017. Sadly now I doubt I’ll do anything towards my wedding dress until this time next year… sorry about that. I won’t delete this post though as it might still be nice reading!

First up let’s get something out of the way… I’m having a short dress. Below knee or tea length. And a big bad ass petticoat floofy skirt. Bodice is still tbc… I have to mull that over. So in the mean time I’ve been examining fabrics. Here are my thoughts:


I’ve seen some beautiful sequin dresses. Light frothy cleverly pieced frocks and embellished designs. Recently I’ve been obsessing over the Jenny Packham Jolene dress which features sequinned (and beaded) star appliques on it. The completely wrong silhouette for me but wow at all the bling. Searching for star shaped appliques stole a day of my life.


I favour dense lace designs (Nottingham, guipure etc), but at the same time I love 3d constructions and beading. Where lace steps into embroidery really gets me excited. Blooms built up with subtle textiles and colours like this dress makes me stop and stare. I also ordered a swatch of some beautiful beaded lace from Bridal Fabrics but I need to go see it in person. I also need to level up my lace handling skills if I go down this route.


There’s always something that pulls me back to tulle dresses. Probably because I know of several suppliers of stunning coloured or polka dot tulle. There’s so much drama you can achieve with tulle and mesh at the same time as looking light as a feather. It takes a lot of effort to look that light though but with stunning results. I want to test this vintage Butterick tulle pattern with tippet style shawl (thanks go to bridesmaid, talented seamstress and wedding dress designer extraordinaire Charlotte for explaining tippets to me).

Next steps

I have a few appointments to try on dresses to help me pin down the design. That seems crucial to me but not being able to take photos will surely prove problematic. I am working out a rough time line in my head for the construction but think starting the bridesmaid dress toiles may give me a little breathing room for my own decisions!

If you know any short wedding dress companies or vintage dress sources please do drop them in the comments so I can continue pinning my heart out. Thanks for reading and please cross your fingers for me on getting a date!!

(22) Comments

  1. Oooh, how exciting! I made my wedding dress and loved every minute of it! I actually made two outfits – my dress, and a skirt and top combo that in the end I didn’t like as much. I loved buying all the trims and fabrics – the pattern choice was easy for me as I knew I wanted a 1920’s style. Enjoy the process, don’t stress out over it – after all, it is only a dress (an important one for sure) but it is a dress, and you know you can sew a dress!

    Just in case you were interested – here is mine!

  2. Oh, how exciting! I made my wedding dress, and it was the best fun ever. Don’t be afraid to go all out and make something that is very different to what is otherwise available. My dress ended up being Downton Abbey meets 1950’s with a lot of lace!

  3. Natalia says:

    You will have fun with this, I promise! I made my own dress out of necessity, being 6 months pregnant on the big day (oops). I ended up using the Anna bodice with a scooped out back, lace overlay and big floofy gathered knee-lenght skirt and petticoat that I attached the day before, not knowing how big my belly was going to be. The lace overlay was a bit fiddly, but totally worth the trouble.

  4. Wow Amy!! Massive respect for the decision to make your own dress. I have opted not to, due to anxiety and the same as you… an important make means I stall loads and then have to rush at the end.
    Can’t wait to see your progress!
    Wedding venue stress is the worst. Can’t believe how early you have to book. We booked ours 1year 5 months in advance, but have opted for winter wedding so our date was easier to get. Good luck with getting yours!!

  5. Bloggspot says:

    I’m in a similar place to you and think I will make my dress but who knew there was quite so much choice?! We went for October next year in the end given that our summers are so changeable at the moment. Good luck with your decisions making!

  6. I love the idea of a short dress. So much more practical! I’d recommend getting in touch with June Parsons Designs for a chat. She’s in Pudsey and I think you’d get on well!

  7. Caitlin says:

    So excited to hear more about your wedding dress journey! I’m also getting married next October and whilst I would love to make my own dress, a few people I know have suggested that perhaps it might be too much stress for me (I once talked a friend out of making her own wedding cake and so she is returning the favour), but I have said that if I don’t find something I love in a shop then I will be making it myself whatever anyone says.
    In terms of short dress designers, would you look at similar styles in other colours? If yes, have a look at “Deadly is the Female” for inspiration. I have one of their dresses and it’s given me a few ideas….

  8. Have fun trying dresses on first, try out all styles & fabric as you may be surprised what decisions that helps you make. My daughter had a very set idea & it totally changed I loved making her dress & it may have been stressful at times but it was also a fantastic challange. I learnt so much on the way. My bit of advise it to take time & do a practice version in cheap fabric first. I found this helped me see what points were going to be difficult & the best way to tackle them. I knew when my daughter loved the version I made out of old curtain lining & net that it was all going to be ok!!!

  9. Sue Harvey says:

    I found a beautiful deco looking bugle beaded tulle in Berwick Street for my wedding dress and the design was graduated so it was beaded at the bodice and graduated down to light beading at the hem. You could go for a lace bodice and tulle skirt and carefully cut out some of the lace and hand stitch onto the skirt to cover the waist seam onto the top of the skirt so you don’t have an obvious line between lace and tulle.

  10. I’m actually secretly quite jealous that you are just at the beginning of this process… I loved designing and making mine. I love the beaded flowers but I’m sure whatever you end up doing will look stunning!

  11. Highly recommend for short dress inspiration. Sounds odd – they mainly do corsets, but their vintage style short dresses are just fabulous. I’ve been pinning lots although I’m going to go down a different route to make mine… no white/cream here thank you very much, it doesn’t suit me at all!

  12. That lace dress with the pearl waistband is BEAUTIFUL. Oh my, I can’t wait to see what you make.

  13. Hannah says:

    Ah, I posted so many photos on my Pinterest board before I made a decision. My tea length dress was from House Of Mooshki who have lots of photos on their site for inspiration.
    Good luck!

  14. How exciting! If you’re looking to try on a lot of dresses – and take pictures of yourself in them – I’d recommend the Bradford Oxfam shop on Darley Street. It’s not a luxe experience with free champers or compliments on tap, but you can try on as many as you want, in your own time. They also sell their dresses very cheaply, so you might even find something you could cut up to make yours. Worth checking how many they’ve got in before you go, or if they’re expecting a delivery from a top-notch local bridal shop soon.

  15. Sarah says:

    I didn’t make my dress but I did go fifties tea length (red with leopard print trim) from Candy Anthony who has her shop in the OXO tower. Worth looking at her website for inspiration…

  16. You are definitely not mad to want to make your wedding dress! I bought a new sewing machine to make mine 34 years ago and recently bought for another new one to make my daughter’s wedding dress this July! It is the most special thing you can make and it makes your wedding so personal to you. Go for it!

  17. You are already well down when the track of decisions, knowing it must be short and full. All the best with the planning and I look forward to reading alll about your journey 🙂

  18. Danielle says:

    Hey Amy
    You mention finding a good place for coloured tulle. Where are they? I’m still up in the air about whether to make mine!

    1. almondrock says:

      Hello! Top fabrics of soho are a fave. Check out their online shop

  19. It’s the marriage that matters, not the venue! But I made my wedding dress (in 1968), a scoop neck, trumpet-sleeved mini of cream silk, (probably a Style pattern) plus a trouser suit from John Lewis furnishing cotton. I used furnishing fabric a lot for jackets and suits for work. People now are often surprised that there were mini length wedding dresses. Good luck, and I enjoy the blog.

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