February 1, 2018

the dress | chapter five (final chapter)

I made my own wedding dress, and I'm really glad I did
It's done. My wedding dress is done. I set out to make my own gown, and I did it. And you know what? It turned out really nice. It's nothing flashy, nothing fancy. It's simple. And that's all I wanted.

Looking back at where I started with my original idea, I pretty much stuck to the plan. I did skip a belt in the middle, and added some extra trim around the neckline that I hadn't initially planned for, but other than that - that initial sketch has materialized into something real. Finishing this dress was such a relief - and with time to spare! It feels really good.
Thought on making my wedding dress
So... what's it like to make a wedding dress? While this isn't the first gown I've ever made (shoutout to my prom dress which I am totally NOT going to share pictures of), it's certainly the most notable. That's what stuck with me while I was sewing. I kept thinking, This is an important dress. I have to be mindful while I'm working on this dress. Normally, when I'm sewing for myself, I don't fret over the details. I don't care if the thread matches exactly, or if the hemlines are a little crooked. But not with this project. And I think it's that mindfulness that makes me love the dress now that it's finished. I took my time (um, basically a whole year), and I think that helped. I never sat down at my sewing machine for too long, because I never wanted to get frustrated with or tired of my dress. I wanted to love this dress, always.

Here are a few quick things I learned along my dress-making journey:

  • Test your stitches on scrap fabric first. Figure out the tension while you're testing, and write it down for future reference. Time saver!
  • Use ALL THE PINS when sewing a zipper in. Don't let it budge a bit.
  • Boning (the support pieces that hold the bodice of a dress up) will straighten out nicely if you keep your dress on a dress form. 
  • Speaking of dress forms - get a dress form! You can see what your dress will look like IRL without having to try it on over and over. The hemline is really easy to set on a form. And you can add trim with ease. 10/10 would recommend. This is the dress form I have, if you're interested.
  • Get your hands on a steamer. Even though you iron pieces of fabric as you sew, it's inevitable that the dress will get wrinkly while you're working on it. A steamer will fix all your wrinkly woes. 
  • And finally, buy your shoes before you pick the length of your dress. It's the easiest way to get the length right.

My favorite part about this dress are the pockets, and I can already tell how handy they'll be the day of our wedding. I'll be carrying everything in them. Chapstick, tissues (because I know I'll be tearing up), a copy of my vows... it makes me wonder, how do brides manage without pockets??
Are those wedding bells I hear? Thought on my DIY wedding dress
The last little details of our tiny wedding are coming together. We pieced together a ceremony, my soon-to-be-wife has her suit pressed and ready, and the day before our marriage we'll go pick up a bouquet or two of flowers. I absolutely cannot wait.

I don't want to give away what the final dress looks like yet - I'll wait until our much more qualified wedding photographer can snap some pictures of it. Until then, it's just a matter of counting down the days until I'm a Mrs.!

- m.e.

P.S. Take a look at the previous chapter in this DIY wedding dress journey.

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