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Thread: Dressmaking advice needed

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Dressmaking advice needed

    So, I'm working with DD on her wedding (mid-September). I have been to a wedding dress trunk show with her, and I've watched many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, and I've kept updated on her Pinterest boards of wedding dresses....

    ....and last night she asked me if I'd be willing to help her make it.

    I used to LOVE to sew... I made all my high school clothes. I took a sewing class at a local fabric store (which there were lots of in the 60s). And I applied to Emerson College because I thought I wanted to be a costume designer. All that being said...

    The only sewing I've done since then is some really kick-butt Halloween costumes. So I'm VERY intimidated by her request. I explained all the pitfalls. A simple sheath is probably doable, but a dress with a lot of lace and beading, not so much. The finishings will be the most difficult. Zippers and buttons and topstitching will all scream "homemade." It's going to take a lot longer than you think, and with all the other wedding tasks, do we want to risk running to David's the week before for an off-the-rack?

    But she said, "Come on, Mom, it will be fun!"

    My questions for you seamstresses/fabric-workers out there:

    Advice?

    What fabric is the most forgiving? I know that some fabrics pucker and stick to the needle.
    What finishings will add elegance, not tackiness?
    Zipper or buttons?
    Is lace hard to work with?
    Paper pattern (if they even sell them these days) or muslin?
    Should we invest in a dress form?

    Any other advice: things to stay away from and things that will probably work well for a wedding dress?

    She is looking for a fairly rustic Vermont wedding, so she doesn't expect long trains and bling. Her look is retro--50s or even earlier--Art Nouveau/turn of the century. Or boho.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I watch every wedding dress show there is! But I got nothing for making your own dress. There’s so many ways I would go before making my own. There’s many BoHo dresses that are not part of the wedding industry I would look in that direction, but that’s just me.

    Also, used dresses would be a possibility but since she wants something simple I really think she can find it without a lot of hoopla and sewing would be a whole lot more hoopla.

  3. #3
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    I did theatre costuming in college and made all my clothes in high school. But my skills have deteriorated over the years, for sure.

    My take on it would be yes on the dress form, and yes on making a muslin prototype. Zipper or buttons would depend on design, but buttons would be my thought. I think you could do nice things with antique lace that you could probably source on ebay if stores continue to be closed, but they will probably open and you could go cool places to look. The nice things is it's a wear once kind of thing so you don't have to worry about durability and mixing old with new.

    How are your daughter's skills? Can she do the actual sewing and her skills up to it?

    If I were trying to help my daughter, I would probably try to find a local seamstress to help with the scary parts, but that is because my skills are not up to it. It sounds like between the two of you, you may have it covered.

  4. #4
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    I would make a muslin dress. Use a basting stitch so it is easy to pull out. Once it fits her exactly as she wants, take it apart and there is your pattern.

    as far as sewing,anything is very doable. Go slow, go steady. It is not a race. It is very important to use the right thread and the right needle with the fabric she selects.

    https://www.weddinggownpreservationk...n-pm-blog.html

    https://www.brides.com/story/wedding...ms-information

    https://blog.deer-and-doe.com/9017-p...r-your-fabric/

    Thread site is harder to define. Best bet is to search for thread advice once she has selected the material for the gown.

    Enjoy the journey! Mom and I were going to sew mine back in 1980 but a shop was going out of business and I found one I loved for less than the cost of just the material.

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    From what I am reading in the news, if you can make it, you can count on it vs so many bridal shops having problems getting the dresses from their suppliers.

    A simple classic sheath with a shawl or long outer jacket of a filmy fabric might give you confidence to tackle it. You will share the results, please?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    I’m with Razz!

    And I also agree that getting assistance from a local seamstress for the tricky bits might be something to consider.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Probably the easiest type of dress to make would be a sheath or A-line simple sleeveless dress in the bride’s length of choice, with some sort of a shawl. The shawl could easily be two sided with two different colors, if the bride wanted a pop of color. Or since shawls are so popular, buying one online would be very easy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice--enlisting a seamstress for the hard parts is a great idea.

    Gardnr, thanks so much for those links!! I'm really kind of looking forward to it.

    Tradd/razz, I love the idea of a shawl or outer jacket...

    Here's an example of the look she's thinking of, which doesn't look THAT scary...

    IMG_0650.jpg
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Looks lovely. A sleeveless sheath with a sleeved sheer jacket might be an idea as well. This sounds like a fun idea.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  10. #10
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    I love the one on the left!! So beautiful.

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