Monday, May 19, 2008

Confessions of Someone who Thought She Could Sew

This is me 14 years, 5 months and 2 days ago. It's my favorite picture from our wedding. I remember thinking when it was taken, "I'm going to think about how much I love Trent and how excited I am to be marrying him." In all the other pictures I think I'm thinking "I really hate my wedding dress."

Yes, I made my wedding dress. I had grand dreams of making my dress and impressing all that saw it. UGH! I was so dumb. I thought I knew so much about sewing and I now know how little I knew. Make a muslin? What's that? Why would I do that? Patterns are drafted for a B cup. Really? Full bust adjustment. Huh? Interlining? I wanted to do it all by myself, so I could say, "I made it all by myself" and now years later I look at the pictures and I think "It looks like you made it all by yourself."

Things did not go smoothly from the beginning. When I first went out to try on dresses to get an idea of what looked good on me, every shop I went into demanded to know my dress budget. I had very little money to spend on a dress, but didn't want to tell them that. Besides I was only trying on these dresses to get ideas of what looked good. I wasn't going to buy one of them. The ladies in the shops would only bring out the less expensive dresses and steer me away from the kinds I had seen in the bridal magazines. Finally I went to the last place I thought would indulge me. It was a small, very expensive bridal boutique close to where I worked. I should have went there first as they treated me wonderfully and let me try on whatever I wanted.

My wedding dress is based on one I had seen a picture of in a bridal magazine. I still have the picture somewhere. The original dress had long sleeves, but they looked wrong on me-even though our wedding was in the winter. I bought a pattern that was similar in design and proceeded to change it to look like the dress I wanted. The pattern I found had a deep V back. I didn't want a bare back, so I just filled that in part of the pattern in with tissue paper. I didn't even think that I might need to make a practice bodice to see if that would work. Of course it didn't have the ease I needed and the result is pictured below:
The neckline doesn't lay flat like it's supposed too. Well it did if we didn't zip up the dress past the point where the zipper originally was supposed to go. I was constantly pulling at that neckline the whole wedding. Sigh . . . I hate those sleeves. I wish I had made them them long like they were originally. Either that or made them much shorter. Actually I wish I had made an empire waist bodice-more like a Jane Austin type dress. Of course I never even thought of that, but now I wish I had. Also, wish I hadn't used that shiny $2.00/yard satin. I wanted a beaded bodice, but couldn't afford the $70.00/yard beaded lace at G street so I bought the $1.88/yard lace from JoAnn's and sewed on the beads myself. The problem was I couldn't get a nice look because the lace kept shifting and bunching so I applied wonder under to the lace and then ironed it onto the satin and then sewed on the beads. It worked.

When I lined the dress, you could still see through the material and it didn't have much body, so I used two or three layers of $1.99/yard polyester lining. The only problem with that was I couldn't get the bodice lining to lie flat, so I never sewed the bottom down on the inside. I would have to lift up my skirt and pull the bodice lining down to get it to lie smooth.

We won't even talk about that big bow on my bum. Just pretend you never saw it.

All in all the dress materials cost me a little over $100.00. I made two of the three bridesmaid dresses. They're not much better. They were long straight dresses with really big poofy sleeves made out of a Navy Blue iridescent taffeta. The material for all three only cost $90.00. I also made the flower girl and ring bearers outfits. I would scan those pictures in, but the outfits were so dark you can't really see them. I like how the flower girl's dress turned out the most, even though I made it out of $1.99/yard broadcloth. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I didn't have any money and I was paying for most of the wedding myself. I felt bad about asking anyone in the wedding to pay for anything. I always felt I should do that.

Thanks for letting me share this sorry moment in my sewing career. I have learned a lot since then and although I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I could do a much better job if I could do it all over this time. Maybe one of my daughters will trust me to make their dress when they get married. I better hide my dress and these pictures or they'll never give me a chance!


Mary said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself. You did the best you could with the resources and knowledge you had at the time.

And you're not alone, I am embarrassed every time I see this old quilt I made hanging on the wall at my mom's house. Whenever I see it, I see the points that don't match up and the distorted edges, blah. I think I discovered a walking foot shortly after that project.

Really, you look so pretty in that picture that no one would notice the details on the dress.

Heidi said...

You know, it's really not as bad as you make it out to be. I've seen photos of MUCH worse dresses that were store-bought. Check this out:

I've also talked to people who spent thousands and thousands of dollars on their dresses and still hated them just as much (or more) than you do... so hey, at least you didn't go into debt for a dress you hated, right?

And you do look really happy in that picture!

Ariane said...

Hilarious! Thanks for making me giggle. My mum made mine but I was 5000+ miles away in a different country and by the time it arrived it was completley see through and upon closer inspection I found out she marked the lace overlay with black permanent marker! I feel your pain when it comes to regretting the dress.