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Friday, December 24, 2010

Designing a bridal gown: Part one

So I have been working on designing and making a bridal gown for a bride to be who is getting married this April. She had a photo from a blog pictured below but the photos on the blog didn't show a lot of detail. For instance, I can't even tell where the waistline is or what type of lace fabric it is. I almost said no to making it but then I thought " It's really only an evening style dress which happens to be white." So I ordered  Bridal Couture: Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear from Amazon. This book must be in high demand because it's the first time I've paid over the original retail price for a used book! I also signed up for an online couture sewing class by the Author of this book, Susan Khalje on Well I finished the class yesterday and here are some things I've learned about making a bridal gown:
  • If you use a delicate lace on the bodice and skirt you should interline or back it with silk organza to make the lace stronger.
  • Your main fabric should always be interlined or backed with another lighter fabric. For instance, I'm using silk charmeuse and I'm going to interline it with china silk.
  • As well as all the above layers, the dress also needs to be lined. That's five layers of fabric. The lace, the organza, the charmeuse and China silk backed to it and the China silk lining
  • As you can see that's a lot of silk fabric. It's going to be expensive. It's a good thing we are buying the fabric from a wholesale jobber in downtown Los Angeles. We would pay about double at a retail store.
  • Have a picture with you when shopping for a pattern. I couldn't quite remember the picture of the dress as I had only seen it online and didn't print it out. As you can see from the pattern I bought it's very different from the blog dress. Once I saw the blog dress again I decided to make a new dress from scratch. I made my own pattern, something I probably should have done in the first place since luckily, the bride is the same size as my dress form.
  • Zippers on bridal gowns are not elegant. The gown should have either buttons or hooks and eyes to close.
  • The finer the gown the more hand sewing required. And you can forget about ever trying to use a serger on a wedding dress.

The blog dress photo.

The first pattern I tried.

The dress with a princess seamed skirt.

The bodice, nothing like the photo and it has a raised waistline.

The new design with a sweetheart neckline and natural waist.
It also has a one piece skirt which can fit the lace without having a lot of seams which are hard to do in lace.

The back with a scoop opening.


  1. Justine, the dress is so beautiful in the picture. You're beginning designs look very promising. I know you will make a beautiful dress. i am very proud of you

  2. Such great work! You are getting my vision of the dress quite well.


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