On board the sewing train…upcoming sewing projects!

This is going to be an exciting year, mainly because there’s still some things I need to do for the wedding, mainly minor details like getting invites and favours made. The most exciting part for every bride though is seeing The Dress and trying it on!

Spoiler Alert: For the first time ever, I’m going to reveal details about the wedding dresses I will be making soon, so if you want to be kept in the dark till the final dresses are made, don’t read any further down the post. I’ll warn you when this is going to happen!

Apart from the all important dresses, there are a few other dresses I would like to make. One of this being the wrap jersey dress I bought additional material for making my Syrah jersey maxi skirt.

One of my lovely friends also bought me a voucher for spending on fabric from myfabrics.co.uk, so that’s exactly what I did. I had a look around the online shop for a while and had a difficult time deciding which fabric I would really like. If you haven’t tried buying fabric online before, it’s quite difficult to know how the fabric will look in person, how heavy the fabric is and how this would feel against your skin. I managed to find a lovely fabric though that I knew would make a great dress.

Light grey Checks Sherlock cotton fabric, on sale for £5/metre

As you probably know by now, I’m very much into the little details of the dress. I liked using mother of pearl buttons for the sleeves on my first or the type of fabric that I use for my dresses. It’s the little details about what you make that sets you apart in what you make; you know that it’s your unique style that inspires others and makes it your design, even if you’re using the same dress pattern as others around the world.

I was expecting the fabric, which looked like a knit, to be quite heavy. I wasn’t sure what the weight (121g per metre) on the description, but I figured if it was cotton it shouldn’t be too bad, especially when it mentions that it’s suitable for blouses and dresses. I was a bit confused at first when I pulled the fabric out of the packaging, it seemed the entire length was checked and I couldn’t see the floral motif which I thought would be an interesting detail for the skirt, but I found it on the other side of the fold. Oops!

The checked Sherlock fabric I bought from myfabrics.co.uk

Detail of the floral motif on the other half behind the fold

The floral motif is actually quite large, I realise now what the 84cm pattern size meant when I saw the design! I think it would still be quite a nice pattern for the skirt, although it’s much bigger than I expected it to be. Luckily when I bought the fabric, I still had enough credit left over that I was also able to buy a pattern that would work well with the checked design.

McCalls M6503 dress pattern

It’s quite a simple dress which is always a classic. I’m a big fan of full skirts with a fitted bodice, but what appealed most to me is the slight stiff collar and the button detail on the front of the wrap detail.

Below are some photos of other dressmakers’ beautiful finished dresses:

Finished Mad Men style sleeveless dress from Sleek Silhouette

Close up of front bodice from Sleek Silhouette. Love the piping detail!

Tea dress from Yes I Like That

It might seem quite similar to the first tea dress I made, but with a buttoned wrap front and a stand-up collar in checked fabric with a floral skirt, it will set itself apart and I can’t wait to get started!

If you don’t want to see or read anymore about the wedding dresses, close your window now!

I mentioned in a previous post that I was of a mind to make a unique lace dress, but the fabric you can get from fabric shops just didn’t call out to me. When I was browsing on Etsy and found Valentino inspired lace from Amy at FashionLace which I used to make a lace tea dress for the OH’s big birthday.

After I made the dress, I received a lot of compliments from friends, family, followers and fellow bloggers alike. I was surprised (and very pleased!) with how the dress turned out myself! If any of you are in the market for buying quality lace fabric, you’ll know what I mean when I say once you find that one supplier you know has it, you’ll keep going back to that seller for more supplies…to make more beautiful things.

That’s exactly what I did. I had a look around the Etsy shop after I scouted the blue Valentino lace and found similar style lace in the colours I needed.

White lace for my Western/white wedding dress

The pattern for the white lace is similar, if not identical, to the blue lace I bought for the tea dress. I was having a hard time deciding between this lace (which can be quite heavy when you’ve got a lot of length) or a different voile lace (which was much lighter with a larger pattern), but decided the pattern on the other lace was too big. My mind always went back to this fabric though although I had my reservations, but when I spoke to some friends and family for suggestions and ended up getting it, I knew I made the right choice.

Now, this is where you will need some imagination to get an idea of what the final dress will look like! This is the pattern I’ll be using:

McCalls 7847 wedding dress pattern. Source: Bridesmaid Dresses

As you know, dress patterns are great for mixing and matching how you want your final dress to look. You don’t have to end up with either dress A B, C or D; you can have dress A but take some elements from C and use the skirt length from B. I’d like to think of myself as a practicable person, especially when it comes to what I invest my money in buying. We’re having a September wedding so it won’t be too cold, neither am I fond of the tiered long sleeves.

It’s not a mystery how longer trains will get dirty very easily, especially if you’re wearing a white dress, so the plan is to make the short cap sleeve dress (B, on the right), but with the shorter train of the long sleeved dress (A, on the left). The photo shows a satin dress with an organza or chiffon overlay, but the plan is to use the white lace instead. Like I did with the Valentino inspired lace tea dress, I’m planning to go with lace sleeves (no lining) while the lace on the bodice and skirt (with a slight train) will be the overlay to crepe backed satin and lined with satin lining.

I’ve also been able to find a beautiful hair comb to go with my white wedding dress which was custom made by the talented lampwork artist, Sabine Little.

My hair comb from Sabine Little Lampworks to go with my wedding dress

I had intentions of wearing my mum’s Chinese wedding dress or kwa and even customised glitter court shoes to match, but on making alterations to the dress to fit, I realised it wasn’t going to work after all which was really disheartening as I was really looking forward to wearing it as my something old. So now I had wine red/burgundy shoes with no dress. I had no choice but to follow my initial plan of making my own kwa. My mum was of the same mind that I could make a modern version of the traditional Chinese dress by using lace.

White and wine red lace (for my Chinese wedding dress) side by side, both from FashionLace

Instead of re-colouring the glitter on my shoes to match the traditional bright red colour of Chinese wedding dresses, I decided to stick with the unique burgundy colour. I thought it would be a hardship trying to find a dress pattern for a cheongsam, but I was in luck and managed to find a pattern that I liked.

David Warren Butterick 6057 cheongsam pattern. Source: Listia

When wearing the kwa, women normally don’t wear trousers underneath, although I do like the style of the dress on the right. I like the idea of having a sheer overdress with a shorter slip underneath. For the Chinese wedding dress though, I’m planning on just using a shorter satin lining with a longer lace overlay instead of wearing a slip. Again, I was fortunate enough to have found the perfect accessories designer who was able to custom design a hair comb to go with my burgundy dress.

My burgundy/wine red lily hair comb to match by Chinese wedding dress from Spearmint & Thyme

Oriental lilies are my favourite flower and will be used in my bouquet. I felt it was only appropriate to have lilies with my Chinese kwa as well in my hair as I won’t be carrying a bouquet for that part of the day.

I can’t wait to get started! Working on the dresses will be time consuming, albeit exciting, but it’ll be fun to have other dressmaking projects to split my time with in between so give myself a break from working on one project for too long. I’m excited about what projects I’ve got lined up for myself, but I can already see that I’ll be spending a lot of time in the sewing room!

I’ve also got ideas about the bridesmaid dresses and the pattern for making those too which I will share at a later date once I start getting those organised.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on what I plan to do with my wedding dresses! Have you got any suggestions on how I should go about my dresses? Did you make your own wedding dress? If so I’d like to hear your story and see photos!

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