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In part one I discussed the inspirations behind creating my wedding gown.  The next step was to draw the design and find basic patterns for my design.

Drawing one

My wedding gown has an empire waist with a removable overdress.  The overdress will be ivory satin tafetta with ivory silk chiffon flutter sleeves.  The dress will be tied with a wide light blush pink ribbon (either silk or satin).  I’m putting rosettes on the bodice and haven’t decided yet whether to make them out of satin ribbon or out of silk chiffon.  My future mother-in-law made some silk chiffon rosettes and I really like the way that they have turned out, so I may make them for my dress. I think they would go quite well with the silk chiffon sleeves.  I searched online and found some Art Nouveau embroidery designs and plan to choose one to embroider on the overdress, going down the front and on to the train.  I plan to do some pearl beading as well.  I may make the train more intricate and possibly add some colors, but haven’t decided yet.  Right now, I’m focusing on the construction of my dress and will work on the finishing touches and details as I come closer to completing it.  I have over a year until my wedding, so I have plenty of time to work on my gown.

Drawing two

The empire waist underdress will be ivory heavy peau de soie satin with a ribbon at the waist.  Other than the rosettes, I don’t plan on adding many details to this fairly simple but elegant dress.  But in the case I do become hot at my wedding, I can take the overdress off and still be wearing a beautiful gown.

I searched online sites such as: Vogue, McCalls, Butterick and Simplicity looking for patterns that would be the base patterns for my dress, looking not only at wedding dress patterns, but at patterns for evening gowns and historical costumes.  I found the two above from Butterick and will be using the overdress in the first one and the second for the underdress.  I also have a pattern for the sleeves that my FMIL found for me.  I’ll tweak these and create the dress that I’ve designed.

Top- satin taffeta, center- heavy peau de soie satin, bottom- silk chiffon

After a few months of thought, I decided on satin for my wedding gown.  Originally I wanted to use silk, but after looking at several photos and seeing different types of silk in person, I decided that silk wasn’t right for me.  I didn’t like the way that it wrinkled and went with bridal satin instead.  At first, I was going to make the underdress in a light blush pink, but after ordering some from Denver Fabrics and being very dissatisfied with the product (I ordered duchess satin and they sent me a low quality thin satin), I rethought my dress and decided to keep it all in ivory.  The overdress in satin tafetta is a darker ivory than the underdress in peau de soie satin and I like the way the varying hues look together.  I also originally ordered ivory silk chiffon from Denver Fabrics and they sent me a bright blue one…. so yes, they very much messed up my order but gave me a full refund after I returned the merchandise and complained (DO NOT EVER ORDER FROM DENVER OR FASHION FABRICS!).  My FMIL ordered ivory silk chiffon featured above, which is exactly what I wanted.  I also picked up some white muslin which I’ll make my dress out of first before I cut out the satin.  I’ll probably use the muslin as part of the underlining for my dress.  So yes, there will be more fabric to purchase when I start working on the underpinnings! 🙂

Perhaps you are wondering what the cost is of my dress so far.  I scoped out the fabrics and the patterns for a while before I purchased and waited for sales or until I had coupons.  After all, why pay full price when you know you can get it on sale?  I purchased all of my fabrics at JoAnn’s with the exception of the silk chiffon which my FMIL got off eBay.  The patterns were 99 cents each on sale.  The 7+ yards of satin taffeta was about $50.  The 7+ yards of heavy peau de soie bridal satin was about $90.  The silk chiffon was about $15 and the muslin, I think was under $20 total.  So …. so far the total is under $200 for my wedding gown.  Compare that to the $400-$1,000 in moderate priced bridal stores or the $2,000-10,000 or so for a higher end gown – mine is a steal!  Especially since my gown will be a custom-designed, custom-made, hand-embroidered, hand-beaded couture gown which would cost extensively more than that if I had one made….

When I decided to create my own wedding gown several months ago I wasn’t really thinking about the cost of my dress. My reasons were that: a) I couldn’t find what I wanted and b) I wanted something unique, elegant and vintage looking.  But now I see how much I’m saving as I create a wedding gown worthy of an heirloom.