The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Fall Wedding

Photo: Robert Gaona

In September of 2015, K contacted me about making her wedding dress. She had found a picture online of a dress that she loved but couldn't find anything like it in the shops. I poked around and finally figured out that the original dress was custom made by a woman named Penelope Perkins in Salt Lake City.

Photo: Alixann Loosle Photography

K loved the layered look of the skirt but wanted some changes. I did a few rough sketches until we were both on the same page about what she wanted.  Then came swatches and fabric choices and finding a base pattern. I decided to use Kwik Sew 3929 because the neckline was close to what she wanted.

This was a very different experience from my first wedding dress, as almost everything I needed to do I had already done before. I didn't have the same nail-biting moments where I "knew" what I had to do (but I only knew it because I had read about it in a book or watched a video online) but wasn't entirely confident I could pull it off. So this time around I had much more confidence and much less terror.

The muslin revealed some fitting issues and I made the following adjustments to the pattern:
  • Sway back adjustment of about 3/8"
  • Take in princess seams here and there
  • Lower center front section by 1 inch
  • Lower armsyche by 1/2"
  • Adjust front shoulder slope - not sure what to call this, but I had to slash and spread a little dart (you can see this in the photo below)

Blue lines are new stitch lines

Construction details:
  • The bodice and skirt were underlined with white cotton batiste
  • I used poly charmeuse for the base layer for both bodice and skirt, and the bodice has a lace overlay
  • I used the same poly charmeuse for the lining, and underlined the bodice lining with muslin
  • The bodice has boning at center, side fronts, side seams,  side backs and just outside back zipper for a total of nine spiral steel bones (I later shortened the center bone by about 3 inches)
  • The skirt handkerchief overlays are alternating chiffon and lace - once I knew how long I wanted the points to be for each layer, I got to review high school geometry to figure out the size of each square
  • I cut the waist of the skirt overlays large so that I could add volume with pleats (you can see these in the picture below where K's mom is zipping up the dress) 
  • I did not hem the lace overlay and I sewed a tiny rolled hem for the chiffon layers - about 13 yards worth of hemming
  • Neckline lightly eased to shorter twill tape to help it curve inwards
  • Waist stay added to help distribute the weight of the skirt
  • Wedding dress strength invisible zipper
  • Lining hand stitched to outer layer
  • Fabric was purchased from 

K's mom came to almost every fitting and her joy and excitement for her daughter was palpable.

Photo: Robert Gaona

Photo: Robert Gaona

K works for our local park district and she and her husband were married in one of the local parks. We've had a mild fall in the midwest, and their day was sunny and bright, warm in the sun and slightly crisp in the shade.

Photo: Robert Gaona

I love these kinds of projects: fun, challenging sewing on something that really matters to the client. I am so grateful for this work. Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers - may you all find projects that will you with gratitude for the gift of sewing!

Photo: Robert Gaona

8 comments on "Fall Wedding"
  1. Stunning.....beautiful work & beautiful bride!

  2. Such a lovely dress! I think it looks much better than the original. You are an incredibly talented designer and seamstress =)

    1. Thank you, DatPixieGirl! How kind of you to say that!

  3. Lovely dress! Now I want one, though I have no occasion to wear it to!

    1. Thanks, Elaine! I often think that I need more reasons to wear fancy dresses.

  4. Wonderful work on the dress. It looked perfect on the bride and really complemented her. Your work was really neat and I appreciated how you provided us with the details of your work. Good luck.