Wedding Dress Sewing – Part 1 – Inspiration

Hi all! I’ve been busy up to something exciting…sewing my own wedding dress! This has been my dream since I started sewing, and it’s finally happened! My now-husband proposed on Valentine’s Day, and we saw no reason to wait too long, so we got married on May 23! I figured that after making a raincoat and jeans, I could definitely make a wedding dress, right?

This will be a series of five posts about the process of making my wedding dress. I’ll post links to the whole series on my Wedding Dress page.

wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...
I said “YES!”

Initial Wedding Dress Plans

Since our engagement was fairly short (98 days), I ordered swatches of 29 different fabrics literally the day after he proposed. I’m glad I did, because it took nearly two weeks for them to arrive, thanks to a Post Office detour to Florida. I’ll talk more about the fabrics I got and what I liked about them in another post.

Initially, I was thinking of mashing together the bodice from Butterick 5731 and the skirt from McCall’s 7718 for a Kate Middleton look without all the volume at the bottom. I knew, though, that I needed to try some different styles on to see what I liked best on my body before I went through the effort of actually sewing something!

After doing some internet scouring and research, I knew a few things about my dream wedding dress. First, I knew I wanted a lace overlay of some sort on the top. I knew I did NOT want a strapless dress but I like the look of a “strapless” bodice with a lace yoke. Second, I didn’t want something form-fitting. My initial plan involved an A-line skirt. Third, I really wanted a white dress. I didn’t know that “white is out” for wedding dresses, but that stayed important to me throughout the process. And finally, I didn’t want something too low-cut. The extra-sexy, low-cut wedding dress style is just not for me!

A Bridal Salon Visit

My mom came to join me for a visit to a chain bridal salon to try on some wedding dresses. She was in charge of pictures while I was in charge of wrangling massive amounts of fabric in the tiny dressing room. Many of the dresses I tried on were definitely not my style. While I specifically asked for nothing too low-cut, they kept bringing me dresses I would not want to wear. From the beginning, I didn’t think I wanted a train, but almost every dress had one. When else would the average woman have a train, I guess?

wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...
I liked this dress quite a bit more with the belt added
wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...
I liked this dress pretty well, but it was a bit more form fitting than I wanted

Regardless, I learned what I did and did not like on my body and ended up changing my plan up a bit. I decided to use the gathered skirt and yoke of McCall’s 7090, and the rest of the bodice of M7718. This was simply because I didn’t like the wide belt on 7090. Another option would have been to lay the 7090 bodice pieces on top of 7718 and lengthen them to match at the waistline. In retrospect, that would have been easier, but hindsight is 20/20!

wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...
this dress became my “inspiration”
wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...
same dress, front and back; my dad gave me money to buy it in case I decided I didn’t want to sew my own

The yoke/overlay on my favorite in-store wedding dress was scooped quite a bit lower than the one in the M7090 pattern. I knew I would have to think about how to modify it, or if I even really wanted to. I also would debate the skirt for quite some time so you’ll have to stay tuned to see how that turned out!

wedding dress plans | so rachel sews...

One feature I really liked about one of the dresses I tried on was the pockets. I found a great YouTube tutorial on how to add them into a multi-layer skirt.

Next up…

…I’ll talk about fabric selection!



McCall’s 7090
McCall’s 7718

The Whole Series:

Handmade Wedding Dress

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