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 mad!?” 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! 

UPDATE:

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:

SEQUINS

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.

LACE

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.

TULLE

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!!

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Top 5s of 2013! The Hits

It’s nearly a brand new year so that means it’s time for a bit of reflection with the top 5 lists!

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Head on over to Gillian’s blog to grab a button and check out her suggested lists and proposal on why looking back on our projects is a helpful learning exercise.

1. The Anise jacket

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I am so proud of this jacket. I learnt so much and think it looks pretty smart. It was in daily rotation before winter hit. And I don’t think it’s scared me off jacket-making in the future

2. Simplicity 2444

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I won’t ramble on too much about this dress. Safe to say it’s an absolute winner in my eyes. And this lovely aeroplane lawn version is definitely my favourite.

3. Sassy Librarian Blouse

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My first craftsy course was brilliant. Christine Haynes was a lovely teacher and I finished up with a cute practical blouse that I have in regular use.

4. Simplicity 1755

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I’m pretty darn pleased with how polished this dress turned out even if I don’t have much opportunity to wear it. The lace matching turned out amazingly and I’m rather proud of my collar.

5. New Look 6069

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Not so obvious but this little dress has been a star in my wardrobe. Its mostly due to the soft drapey viscose. It skims over me in a flattering way and I love the print.

So there are my top 5 hits of this year. Next up are the dreaded misses!

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Sewing with Minerva Fabrics – New Look 6069

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Recently Minerva Fabrics asked if I’d like to review some items from their site and I figured why the heck not.

I have used the site before with good results but bad experiences elsewhere put me off Internet fabric shopping for a while.

Minerva sent me a pattern (New Look 6069), the required fabric of my choice (a lovely multi coloured spot viscose) and a 22 inch black JTL invisible zipper.

First let’s take a look at the pattern.

I kind of love New Look patterns because I very rarely have to make adjustments.

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This dress really spoke to me as view C looks like one of my favourite dresses. Please look past the horrible sample fabrics in use here and see the lovely dresses underneath.

Let me just say for the record, those longer length puff sleeves look horrific on the model and line drawings. I cannot imagine anyone suiting those. If you’ve made this dress and LOVE those sleeves, please get in touch to see if you can prove me wrong or if you need medical attention because the heat has clearly gotten to you.

I found this on the Minerva site after a bit of trial and error. There’s no way to filter for different pattern companies. You can only jump straight to the sale (hey that’s not that much of a problem, am I right?). As they stock loads of patterns I just did a search across the whole site for new look dress patterns and combed through the results.

Onto the Viscose!

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I chose this print from the clearance section. It is so cute with all those different coloured oddly shaped spots. There are plenty of other lovely viscose prints I could have chosen, like 1, 2, or 3.

I wanted to use viscose so the dress could transition from day to night. I’ll probably make it up in an evening fabric at some point too.

The viscose I chose is lovely and cool to the touch. It’s a medium weight and very drapey. It washed very well with no colour fading and minimal wrinkling!

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I decided to line the skirt to avoid any sticking to tights so I supplied some black peachskin to this make. I also wanted to get hold of the fabric before picking my interfacing. I had some Vilene “softline” black lightweight interfacing that turns out to be the bees knees. Oh and that invisible zipper? Went in like a flipping charm.

Right let’s get down to a wrap up of my thoughts!

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Pattern Adjustments? I cut a 12 but then shortened the bodice by 2cm. I also cut the bodice on the fold as I don’t like needless centre front seams. I also added a skirt lining. That’s it!

Things I’d change in the future? Use a lighter coloured fabric to show off the lovely details a bit better. The yoke gathers and waist band are much clearer in person, but not very photographic. I would also add the sleeves; I have cut and prepped the sleeves for this dress and may add them now the weather is taking a turn for the worse.

Thoughts about Minerva Crafts? Love em! Why did I stop shopping online?! I do wish there was some filtering of the patterns available but the the fabric is well photographed and the colours were spot on when I received it. Plus after a horrible incident with some viscose from the market that ended up full of holes after its pre-wash, I was very pleased to be working with a reliable company stocking good quality fabric.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

I’m so happy to post about my new favourite dress!

This is Simplicity 2444; the dress that every man and his dog has made. Well maybe not the dog.

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I used an amazingly buttery soft cotton lawn from Textile Express. I really recommend the company. Great prices, they’re very helpful, they send samples and the delivery is super quick!

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The aeroplanes are varied in size and the repeat isn’t too obvious meaning no pattern matching to do.

I made a few alterations to the dress.

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I did a full lining as you can see. I also took a massive wedge out of the bust which helped as both a small bust adjustment and a petite bodice adjustment, two for one.

As this pattern contains 3 inches of bust ease I think anyone with a bust larger than the rest of their measurements probably won’t need a fba. If I’d been a 34 C instead of a 34 A I’d have been fine.

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I tried a lapped zipper for the first time and after a bit of head scratching I suddenly got it! The result was astounding. So professional looking and neat. I love it!

I wore the dress to work last week but no one was fussed.
“Hello!? I’m wearing a plane print dress! What’s wrong with you people?”

But when I wore it to this weekend’s meetup in Birmingham I got a phenomenal response. I was so grateful for everyone’s lovely comments.

You really made me very happy ladies!

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The meet up was great fun. I met loads of new sewists, added some new blogs to my reading list and got to chat with lovely familiar faces who were in attendance.

I managed to not spend much (£9 for this metre of Liberty golfer print lawn! Thanks to Barry’s Fabrics giving the meetup group a discount) and I was fortunate with some excellent swaps. More on those later methinks

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Thanks to Kat, Marie and Claire for another great day. It isn’t easy herding so many sewists about; I don’t envy them.

I hugged everyone goodbye and Claire packed me off to my Megabus with some lovely cookies she’d made.

I arrived home very happy but very tired.

I really do recommend going to meet ups if you’ve never been to one. It’s a great way to make new friends and have a fun day out. Excellent shopping is usually involved too!

Who’s off to the London meet up in early August? I will be if I ever book my train tickets.

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How was your weekend?

“So what did you do this weekend?”

“Oh I went shopping in London with 50 strangers off the Internet and we took over a Lebenese restaurant. What did you do?”

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I want to say that this weekend’s meetup in London was so tremendous that I’m finding it hard to describe. I tried to summarise proceedings in an email to my brother and pretty sure I didn’t convey how amazing it was (plus I know I missed bits out).

So forgive me if I opt out from trying to do it justice. If you were there, well you know. If you weren’t, our delightful host Rachel and many of the FIFTY other attendees will do a much better job than I.

Instead of a full round up I wanted to hone in some of my highlights of the day.

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A big highlight for me was how much more confident I felt at my second meet up than my first, especially given the scare factor of such a huge gathering. I think this was partly down to seeing lovely familiar faces. Rachel makes you feel like you’ve known her years. Marie is such a sweetheart, she always makes me laugh. Roisin is like a fantastic whirlwind and didn’t stay long but made a point to catch up with me. And it was lovely to chat with Catherine again (I had a feeling she’d pick my sparkly jersey from the swap).

Another highlight was meeting so many new people – people I’ve admired and read their blogs from afar and people that write wonderful blogs I’d not heard of before. Sitting with Camilla, Jo and Janene for lunch was great because they were all so chatty and funny. Finally meeting Sallie and confirming my suspicions of her Yorkshire roots was ace. And of course meeting LIZZY! Our international attendee. She really is so so friendly in real life. I felt a bit star struck to be honest; I didn’t get a photo of us together and I felt like I didn’t convey how grateful I was that she brought over for me!

The V&A is so spectacular I can’t believe I’ve never been before! I’m definitely going again.

Goldhawk Road was kind of a revelation. It was so neat to see all the fabric shops along one road where we could bounce in and out of them all hunting for bargains. Now some of you may have noticed my desperate desire to find horse print fabric. And since Goldhawk Road is famous for getting end rolls from commercial fashion companies I felt optimistic.

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I wasn’t disappointed. I also picked up some other delights. Not much mind you as I’d already spent all my money in Birmingham. My swap freebies included this amazing bird print rayon from Lizzy, and a printed silk plus a cute simplicity sundress pattern from a mystery source.

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Finally, I was amazed by the generosity of Minerva Fabrics and Abakhans. These two companies effectively sponsored our day out. I can’t even begin to convey the amount of fabric, notions and trims Abakhans supplied to the swap. And Minerva gave everyone goodie bags they’d thoughtfully put together – see the awesome felted wool knitted fabric I was given (above). I always thought the blogging community was surpisingly separate from the sewing supply companies but lately my eyes have been opened.

* Meet up photos by Digpal Singh

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