Thoughts on being an original – my dress inspiration

There are times when I feel imposter syndrome sneaking in and I start questioning whether I’m really a creative person at all. I start believe that I can’t think up any original ideas; I just copy things I’ve seen out in the world and I don’t actually know what I want to sew or wear. This comes and goes and it helps to remind myself that I have drafted an original design in the past, I am inventive with fabrics and I only feel happiness when I look in my wardrobe.

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And something guarranteed to make you feel more unsteady is a wedding and specifically a wedding dress. If like me you haven’t been dreaming about your ideal dress for years, there’s a sudden rush of confusion, pressure and indecision as you try and work out what to wear. I also know women who were rock-solidly confident in their dream dress until they were proposed to and the fear crept in.

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Its a giant white dress… that isn’t really like anything you’ve ever worn before. What is actually going to suit you and what you’re capable of sewing might also not match up! And how often are we asked to create pattern instructions from scratch that result in a flawless finish???

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It turns out, I couldn’t think up an original dress to make and I’m okay with that. Instead I went to several dress trials and whittled it down to one dress I really liked from Lou Lou bridal. I didn’t love it but I really really liked it. The way you can really like the possibilities a lovely pattern or piece of fabric holds. Then I thought about how I could tweak it and make it my own. Shortening it for sure, different bust gathers, a different combination of fabrics and a different skirt shape. I found a base pattern and made up the rest.

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It has been a strange roller coaster ride: I found what was labelled rose voile curtain fabric online but what I actually think is the exact poly-organza fabric from the Lou Lou source dress. Ordered 5m too much silk organza and currently have no use for the excess. Made four toiles for fit and a wearable test. Nearly cried over the hem. Nearly cried over the zipper. And stabbed my fingers countless times.

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It’s my dress, brought into being by these hands so it’s one of a kind in that sense and although I failed on an original design, I think I succeeded in testing my fitting, construction and time management skills.

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I love my dress. Even though its not perfect… because can we ever sew THE PERFECT DRESS!? If you’ve managed to catch that unicorn please let me know in the comments.

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16 Comments

  1. You should be so proud of the exquisite dress you created! The hours you have taken to produce the beautiful, individual creation, that epitomises your style of dress that suits you so well. Take to heart the wonderful comments you received regarding your creation on your wedding day. Remember your father’s tears when he first caught sight of his precious daughter in her bridal dress on her wedding day. A special dress, a special day and a special daughter.

  2. Your dress is beautiful, you should be very proud!

    I can completely understand where you’re coming from with feeling like you can’t have an original idea. I’m a designer and I often feel the same. Maybe your special skill isn’t creating ‘new’ things but bringing together lots of different ideas into one thing. That’s how my brain works and it’s taken a while to be ok with that. I’m not interested in creating from scratch but get me to synthesise ideas into a creative solution and I’m happy as Larry. Perhaps you’re similar?

    Congratulations on your beautiful wedding 🙂

  3. It is perfect. Perfect for you. We all fret too much over getting it just right. I always try to get it right, but have to keep the big picture in mind. The dress was lovely, you looked beautiful, and most importantly you have started on the next chapter of your life with the one you live.

  4. Your dress is beautiful You should be proud! Even when you’ve spent a lot of time sewing, a wedding dress is something truly something on another level and you’ve really pulled it off. Congratulations on your special day!

  5. This post resonates with me so much (as you can imagine)! I often feel more comfortable thinking of myself as a seamstress rather than a fashion designer because I’m interested in the technical part of the process and the creativity in putting it all together, and not so concerned about having a completely original runway look. Plus, the rest of the world isn’t judging you on that anyway!

    I also empathize with the pressure of sewing it all together and trying to figure out this whole thing called a wedding dress. So much stress, but so satisfying on the big day. Love reading your process!

  6. Your dress was absolutely perfect – tasteful and understated, ethereally light and sweet and the essence of summer – and it suited you so well. Loved it!
    You looked so beautiful as you walked down to make your vows on the arm of your proud father (my cousin Steve) that it brought tears to my eyes.
    I hope you keep it forever with all the memories it holds of your special day.
    So pleased we could be there to see it.

  7. Absolutely gorgeous! The finished gown is amazing and sewing a wedding dress is such high stakes business! Your selection was classic and timeless, yet reinterpreted for you. You can’t ask for much more from a dress, surely?! I love that it was a rose printed wedding gown too – such a beautiful selection! Best wishes to you and your husband and congratulations! x

  8. Gorgeous! The most important thing is that you love it. I think there’s lots of different reasons to sew and they are all valid. You created a beautiful dress. Congratulations on your marriage.

  9. I think over analyzing it takes away the joy. Sometimes I try and create something that is different and original, but sometimes I love just making something simple, but as clean and perfect as I can get it. I thought your dress choice was lovely, with classic styling but a twist with a floral fabric (I am from the US and we stick to white the VAST majority of the time). I think the only thing that will top the experience of making your own wedding dress will be sharing that type of experience with someone you love someday.

  10. Amy you have created a charming, feminine and lovely dress which you made entirely and suits you perfectly! Trust me, in 30 years time you will still get a buzz from being able to say “I made my own wedding dress”…and of course it’s original, there isn’t another one like it because you sewed it yourself!

  11. I felt exactly the same way! I had no idea what I wanted, but knew I wanted to make my own. I worked hard, made countless muslins, broke zips, replaced them, handsewed metres and metres of hem and lace, let it out, took it in, let it back out. On the day I felt great and really enjoyed wearing something I had made myself. Then the photos came in and I immediately began to find the flaws and errors. I cried over the thought that I had made a less than perfect dress and couldn’t repeat the day. It really got to me and I found the whole thing overwhelming, I couldn’t even look at my wedding photos. I had a long chat with my now husband about how ridiculous I was being, and he slowly managed to convince me that I was searching for perfection when I should be focussing on happiness and the feeling I had on the day. It took a while but I now look back with pleasure on a comfortable, unique to me and really lovely dress. It may not be perfect (as you say, nothing is!) but only I can see the flaws, everyone else thinks it was perfect, so I am focussing on that and now really enjoy the photos, looking back at the pleasure on my face, not focussing on the wrinkles in the fabric where I think wrinkles shouldn’t be, etc.

    At the end of the day, you put your heart and soul into creating something beautiful that made you happier on a day that was already the happiest you have so far. Nothing is ever perfect, but happiness is a far less elusive friend!

  12. You should be so very very proud of undertaking such a huge task& executing it beautifully. A beautiful dress for a beautiful woman.

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