Soooo….. I’ve been putting off this post for a while. I got married 2 weeks ago (woohoo!!) and I actually finished my dress a few weeks before that (yess!!!!) BUT to be honest, there were a bunch of pictures that I took during the process of the dress-making, and the final part of the dress was actually SUPER frustrating, SOOOOO as much as I ended up loving the dress, and I was really proud of how it turned out, I didn’t want to relive the whole thing again XD
But it’s necessary to. Because one day when I forget all about this, I want to have some form of documentation to look back on. And I also want to show you guys how everything worked haha. SO here goes nothing.
#1: Quick 30-second recap from Part 2
Last time I created the inside “structural” layers of the dress. All I had left to do was to create the top layer and then sew it together to the “structural” layers. Sounds easy right???
WRONG! (You’ll see in step 3 hahaha)
#2: Sewing the bodice and the skirt
I went about the next step in the process, which is cutting out the fabric for the outside layer bodice and the skirt and sewing everything together. This is the layer that everyone will see, so I had to make sure not to make any glaring mistakes!
As you guys can see, the skirt is HUGE!I had to mark and cut the fabric on my living room floor because my table wasn’t big enough! You guys can also see a close-up of the embroidery on the fabric here.
*Pssst…… Did I tell you guys that this fabric is actually from a thrift store??! I saw two huge pieces of curtains that I thought looked very bridal, took a leap of faith and made the purchase hahahaha.
#3: Combining the inner and outer layers
Since I made the inner layer already (from post #2!) and finished the outer layer (previous step,) in this step, my goal is to combine the two layers.
My plan was to join the two layers along two seams: the top seam; and the centre back seam (which contains the button loops and the zipper.) In the images below, you’ll see me sewing the button loops and the zipper to the centre back seam (a nightmare to do!!!)
Once the inner and outer layers are attached, this dress should be pretty much done right??? (You would think! But no!!)
Here’s what it looked like…. (Say “hi” to my dog Charles in the corner.)
…… And I didn’t love it. The high waist-line didn’t look flattering. You guys might not see this in the picture, but the fabric of the torso also tended to ride up, because of the horizontal tension and because the two layers were not fixed at the waist-line.
BOTTOM LINE IS…… I had to ALMOST start over. (THE HORROR!!!) I took apart the top layer AND most of the bottom layer, which involved undoing 50% of what I talked about in the previous post. This was the most frustrating part of the whole dress!!!
#4: Redoing the bodice
To better explain my change in approach:
Previous approach = (top + bottom of inner layer) + (top + bottom of outer layer)
New approach = (top of inner layer + top of outer layer) + (bottom of inner layer + bottom of outer layer)
I also decided to drop the waist-line so that it sits at my natural waist-line rather than an empire waist kind of look. (Why was I even thinking empire waist??!! IDK!!! *face-palm*)
I was able to reuse the pieces of fabric from the bottom outer layer of the dress, BUT I had to cut the inner outer layer of the dress again (because I skipped some steps last time. LESSON LEARNED: NEVER SKIP STEPS WHEN SEWING, it comes to bite you in the butt XD)
This time I also decided to sew an extra seam to fix the seam allowances which is a nice decorative details in the end. See? Sometimes doing things all over again leads to some overall improvements!! #positivity.
#5: Sewing the lining
This was an optional step. People probably won’t see the lining (which is the extra layer of fabric that is on the inside of many dresses, jackets, etc) unless they are the person wearing it. However it is important for two purposes:
- Comfort! For many heavier pieces of clothing, the outer fabric can be abrasive to your skin, so a soft and smooth fabric is typically used to line the inside.
- It looks better and more professional! No one wants to see seams and threads hanging out from the inside of their jacket or dress.
Of course, because I wanted the dress to be perfect, I decided to create a lining layer. Basically I traced out the same pattern for the bodice as the top inner and outer layers. For the bottom, I used a smaller piece of fabric because it did not need to be a full circle skirt.
#6: Putting it all together! (Again!)
OK. I apologize because I reallllllly didn’t take many photos here hahaha. I think at this point I really wanted to be done (and I was ready to hurl the sewing machine AND the dress out the window!! except I didn’t, because at this point I had no other wedding dress to wear and because the sewing machine was expensive hahahah)
My task for this step was to combine the inner, outer, and lining layers, as well as several layers of tulle in between the bottom layers of the dress to add volume and create a ballgown shape.
Here’s my formula!
- Top section = Outer layer + inner layer + lining
- Bottom section = outer layer + tulle + inner layer + lining
- Then top section + bottom section + zipper + button loops (this is probably the hardest part because of the large amount of layers to sew through, and the need to make sure everything lines up!)
I used two (or three! honestly I don’t remember!) layers of tulle from the old wedding dress I purchased from the thrift store. I thought I would use more of the old wedding dress BUT in the end these two layers of tulle was all that I ended up using hahaha.
On the plus side I REALLY loved how the buttons and the button loops turned out. Many dresses have a row of fake, nonfunctional buttons (that are just sewn onto the fabric and do not require button loops)……. but because I am extra (and because I wanted the dress to look awesome and professional!!!) I decided to do real buttons and button loops in addition to a zipper. The zipper is what holds the dress in place. The buttons just look nice. It was a LOT of work but totally worth it.
#7: Before I forget! The hem!!!!
The hem is the seam that goes around the entire circumference of the skirt. Basically we want to sew the fabric to: 1) prevent fraying, and 2) look nice and polished! Usually the hem is the last step to complete.
I’ve sewn hems before so I thought this is going to be easy-peasy after the entire dress is done!! I completely underestimated this step hahahaha.
I decided to use horsehair braid (don’t worry, they are made of polyester- no horses were harmed in the process!) This is a type of fabric that is used stabilize the hem and give it more shape. The downside is that it pretty much has to be hand sewn, especially for a curved hem such as the circle skirt I have for my wedding dress.
And guess how long the hem is??!!!
YES, this meant 9 metres of hand-sewing hahahah. I think I spent 5 hours or more just on the hem. (Audiobook entertainment? Red Rising by Pierce Brown and LOTS of writing videos on Youtube haha.)
Here is what the hem looks like (inside.)