Bridal sewing…The dress! 

Making the toile cleared a lot of worries from my head and the next big task was to choose the fabric. Not easy when you have a daughter who, by her own admission, finds it almost impossible to make a decision! 

Having looked around without much luck a friend suggested we take a look at samples she had from Platinum Bridal Fabrics. By looking at those ones & searching their vast website we were able to selected a few possibles & request our own samples.  The company will provide a couple samples free of charge & they are actually good size samples so are great to see the design. 

As well as the lace we also used a Matt duchess Satin & tulle from the same company. 

The body of the dress was made up as explained in the last post. Lining & corset first with an ankle length underskirt attached.

 Then the interlining,  to which the skirt was attatched, then finally the Satin outer layer. 

The button looping  was  also added at this point as the main fitting had been done. It’s a sort of braid that has slightly stretchy loops, I forget the real name but I bought it from Stone Fabrics although I see you can also get from Sew Curvy now too. 

The skirt overlay had 4 layers in tulle. Each layer cut slightly longer than the last & all handbasted on top of Satin skirt. The final layer had a lace edging that was machined to the sides & back before attaching. I choose to leave adding it to the front until the final fitting when I hand stitched it. 

Adding the lace edging to the curve of the skirt edge meant that it was best to pin in small sections at a time, cutting the tulle backing & overlapping to smooth where needed, before sewing with a medium zigzag stitch along lower edge then again around inner edge. 

At this point the dress only just fitted in my sewing room so it was a good job it was just the lace overlay to go! 

With the strapless dress complete we could still play about with the neckline ideas before cutting the lace, checking motifs were in the required place. 

Using my drafted pattenpieces as a guide it was then the scary job of cutting the lace out. I lined up the grain line with the design & cut each section slightly larger than needed so motifs were kept whole. 

The front & back panels were then basted at shoulders & pinned in position on bodice before hand stitching into place. 

The process was repeated with each panel, smoothing out wrinkles & cutting into shape as I went. There were plenty of fittings as I was being over fussy!! 

Now for the final bits… the neckline shape was cut & finished with the decorative edge from the lace , as were the armholes (sorry rushing by now so forgot pics!) Buttons were decided apon & I patiently stitched on all 27! 

I had cut a single motif from the fabric & handbeaded it to add extra sparkle so this was added to the upper point of the skirt side front. The same beads were also on the veil & hair vine which will be in another blog. 

Yay finished with 4 days to go! 😃

Bridal sewing- The toile 

How could I say no when my younger daughter asked me to make her wedding dress….many people told me I was mad or stupid but apart from the odd moment of terror it was a great experience😃

Before the decision was made to make it plenty of dresses of all shapes & styles had been tried on. Some styles were liked, many discarded, and we worked out she liked something with a bit of structure to it. 

Once I had a shape to work towards it was on with the planning! 

Being a hairdresser that works on site for weddings, it’s surprising how many times I end up helping a bride do up her dress as the mothers or bridesmaids hands are shaking too much! I remember one bride having an internal corset in her dress which I thought that was a fantastic idea…..this sprung to mind as I started looking at construction. 

I made sketches & notes, many of which were in the middle of the night when I woke with a brainwave! 

Using a selection of different patters for reference I drew out the panels for the dress body &  cut the first toile. 

Then cut a hip length version in coutil for the corset section. Drawing on the lines for bone casing placement. 

With both layers the front and back sections were stitched together but side seams left open for fitting. After each fitting any changes were noted back on the paper pattern. The back corset panels were faced in lining and eyelets made. 

With the front corset added to the outside of lining & the back inside (hope that makes sense to you!) the side seams were stitched 

It took a bit of playing to get the shape of the skirt next for the upper curves on the front & back. In the end I found the best way was to draw the shap then  cut & spread the pattern to gain fullness, the butterick pattern back skirt panel was used for the hemline shape. 

Once all together it was time for the brides verdict… 

Didn’t get a pic of her trying the toile on but she loved it…….great result when you think it was made out of remnants & old curtain lining!

I’ve never spent so much time & effort on a toile but it was well worth it. I was able to work out problems and get the process straight in my head before starting on the real thing. It also helped to work out the fabric required before we seriously started looking😃

Mother of the Bride.. 

A month ago I was busy finishing my outfit with only days to go to the wedding. It’s not as if I hadn’t been planning it for ages but still it ended up a rush at the end. 

For over a year I’d been thinking about what I’d wear. I knew I wanted long. It’s not often I get the chance to wear something  elegantly floor length & it also meant no one would notice if I took my shoes off! I also knew I wanted green or purple. 

As soon as I saw Vogue 2237 I fell for the structured shape. 

But then had a little wobble & bought MaCalls 7407, because of the drape neckline, and some lovely feeling velvet from Goldhawk Road. 

However once I saw my daughters faces when I showed them I knew it wasn’t right! They loved the shape of the dress but velvet…..  

So the fabric hunt continued & I started to think of patterns. I had seen an perfume advert in a glossy mag with a girl in a flowing dress covered in oriental blossoms. My mind was set  and on a chance visit to Fabricland I found just the one (& a few others just in case my fabric stash was getting low) a cotton stretch sateen in pale green. A bargain at only £5.99 a metre. 

So it was back to pattern one. I constructed the dress in the opposite order to the instructions. Starting with the foundation. This was made using the main fabric backed with Power net from Sew Curvey. This gave a nice firm but comfortable foundation to the garment, especially when the Spiral steel bones were added


Once I was happy with the foundation I moved on to the lining. Again I used a stretch fabric, just a remnant so not sure of its content, but I only cut this to knee length to eliminate to much fabric being trailed along the floor. 

I used the lining to get the fit before cutting the main fabric. With only 2 pattern pieces it was very quick to come together and the lovely shape is achieved with the very unique shaped darts in the front. 

The little jacket was pretty straightforward too I omitted the shoulder pads as I forgot to ger some & decided I was happy without. 

I was really happy with my outfit on the day. It was very comfortable & survived the eating of a big meal & an evening of dancing. I needn’t have worried about taking my shoes off as flip flops were provide for all. 

( photo by Big Day Photography )

I will make this pattern again, maybe in a shorter version, and the only change I would make is to raise the front neckline slightly as it did seem a little low. 

I liked my dress so much that I had to put it on again as soon as I could. We spent our wedding anniversary in Sri Lanka so  Mr B took this photo of me on the beach before we went for our celebratory meal😃