Sewing a wedding dress: The Big Reveal
Well! After trawling the internet for other home-sewn gowns, drafting…
After trawling the internet for examples of home-sewn wedding dresses it became clear to me that the difference between the gowns that blew me away and gowns that looked a bit sad was fit. A wedding dress that doesn’t fit is just about one of the saddest garments going.
Fitting yourself is extremely difficult, and the secrecy that surrounds a wedding gown might prevent you from asking for assistance from your usual sewing buddies.
Most DIY bridal couturiers seemed to spend weeks – months – in the toile stages and I quickly decided that my busy life simply did not have room for pulling a pattern out of an envelope and altering it to fit my size and shape. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But I wanted a perfect fit…
Enter Sally Mussared. Sally is an extremely talented bridal dressmaker currently hard at work on my sister Grace’s gown. I attended all of Grace’s fittings and was particularly impressed that the initial stage of the process was the measurement and construction of a customised moulage (sloper/block without any wearing ease) which fits like a cotton wetsuit from shoulder to hip.
I coveted that cotton wetsuit.
I emailed Sally who agreed to draft and construct one for me and my Lady of Honour (for whom I am also sewing a gown). I think this ranks among the best decisions of my short lifetime because – as future posts will show – I have managed to draft and toile my dress in what feels like a criminally short amount of time.
Sally’s studio is located in the picturesque Victorian outpost of Toolern Vale, about an hour outside of Melbourne. It is a gorgeous setting for thinking about pretty dresses!
After tackling the steepest driveway in the nation you’ll be greeted warmly by Sally and her friendly pets, and ushered into a gorgeous sewing studio full of gowns and natural light.
Sally was so wonderfully generous with her time and expertise. She gave me several tips which will no doubt improve the final look and fit of my dress. After taking about 30 measurements from each of us, Sally did all the hard work while we enjoyed lunch and farmer’s markets on Mount Macedon.
The result is the above two flat reflections of our proportions. We also got a sleeve block! Having the waist, hip and shoulder seams in perfect position is a great way to start any garment, and the cost was not prohibitive. In fact I think I got a serious bargain.
If you’re tackling your own wedding gown or other important project I highly recommend asking a professional to draft you a block. My next post series will show you how I got from the piece of paper above to a bridal corselet.
Thanks for reading!