When I read on Whitney Barnes’ Darling Dexter blog that she was making not only her own wedding gown, but her bridesmaids’ dresses too, I had to find out more…
When I tell people that my mother and I are making my wedding gown, I get the same reaction every time – a look of pure amazement and curiosity. But now, as we put the final touches on my $150 custom gown, I would not have had it any other way. It took two trips to bridal salons before I was heartbroken at the overwhelming expense of the designer gowns I had so longingly desired to wear on my perfect day. I had actually found the dress I loved, but was soon informed that it had been discontinued. All of this led my mother and I going on a hunt to recreate the dress of my dreams – from scratch!
For the fabric, we went to the best store in the region – and although the bridal section was amazing, I actually found my dress fabric in the drapery section! We ended up piecing together two patterns and my talented mother used her sewing abilities to manipulate the pattern to fit me perfectly. Every weekend that I came home for a fitting, we got closer and closer to my own “couture” gown.
Once I settled on my gown, it was on to the infamous bridesmaid dress. After flipping through mounds of bridal advertisements and becoming intoxicated with multi-colored, satin dresses (with a sash of course), a question was raised in my mind: “Why aren’t their any patterned dresses?” It may have been outlawed in the 80’s, but I simply wanted a sweet, wearable floral patterned sundress that would add a soft contrast to my vintage-inspired wedding gown – all within a reasonable price range of course.
My mother and I went back to the drawing board and thought to ourselves, “Can we actually make all eight dresses ourselves,” especially considering my bridesmaids are all over the US and one in Australia. Of course, we decided to go for it.
I chose a pattern that complimented all body types and could be produced without getting fitted. The biggest hurdle was to find fabric that would be cost effective and suitable to my tastes. I struggled with creating a soft and subtle effect with the colors being orange, aqua, and brown. But, we went to the quilting section of the fabric store and began cutting samples of everything we liked and things just sort of fell into place. I have decided to choose a different printed fabric for each of my maids, all falling within the same color hue. In order to keep the dresses cohesive, we will be using cream muslin for the top of each dress, above the empire waist. Then, each bridesmaid will have her own unique pattern for the lower half of the dress.
Drawing towards the end of the process, I couldn’t be more pleased. We have invested so much emotionally, mentally, and creatively into the making of the dresses. I know I will look back on this process throughout my life with added meaning because of the hand-made touch that created my perfect day.