April 20, 2010...12:56 pm

Should You Make Your Wedding Dress?

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vintage wedding patterns 4816 1751

Yesterday I posted pictures of my (completed – yay!) wedding dress and afterward I sort of wanted to share more of the process with you.  It’s a very emotional, overwhelming project – much more so than I anticipated – but it’s also very rewarding in a number of ways.  When I started planning our wedding I would come across articles insisting women not do this.  I even read somewhere that a bride who sews her own gown will shed a tear in marriage for every stitch she makes.  COME. ON.  I guess we’re all supposed to spend, spend, spend.  I thought about other brides considering this route and compiled a list of pros and cons to help them/you make that very decision.  So here we go . . .

Should You Make Your Wedding Dress? – Veronica’s List of Pros and Cons

Pictoral Review 8798Pro: Whoa you’re gonna save a ton of money.  My dress is made of 100% silk chiffon with organza ruffling.  I scored 50 yards of that ruffling at $0.10/yard and found the silk chiffon online at $5.95/yard.  Um yeah.  My dress and matching bolero cost less than $200 (with the lining and notions, etc).  I don’t even know how I would price my dress if I were to sell it (it’s too sentimental), but it would be a lot more than that.  I mean, A LOT.

Con: It’s a ton of work.  It’s hard for me to calculate how many hours I spent on my dress, but the entire thing is french-seamed (and there are a lot of seams in that dress).  I probably put in around 100 hours.  Not all dresses are the same of course – my dress was surprisingly complicated.  It’s a very special garment so expect to spend some serious time making it.

Pro: It’s a very-special, one-of-a-kind wedding dress made only for you.  In the style you want and the fabric you want.  It’s 100% your dress.

Con: It’s kind of a bitch fitting yourself.  I have a dress form, which was necessary.  I also have a lot of friends who would have been more than willing to come over and help pin my dress.  I am very impatient though, so I never even asked and just plowed ahead. It was difficult and annoying.

Con: You don’t have that magical moment at the bridal boutique when you emerge from the dressing room and everyone cries.

Pro: Um you can still go to a boutique and try on dresses – you just don’t have to spend a ton of money on one.  Frankly, I did this with one of my bridesmaids – we were looking at dresses for her and I threw on a few bridal gowns as well.  It was not at all a fairy tale moment.  It was about 100 degrees in the cramped dressing room and I got naked in front of a saleswoman pressuring me to buy a bejeweled ballgown to wear to my backyard wedding.  Oh and all with fluorescent lighting.  I could have done without that experience.

Mccalls 2252Pro: There’s something very old-fashioned and romantic about sewing the dress you will wear on your wedding day.  To me, it was very sentimental and special.  And who doesn’t love seeing the dress their grandmother made for her wedding, right?  A definite family heirloom in the making.

Con: Maybe too sentimental and special.  Knowing it’s such a major garment makes the process a little scary.  Every imperfection will look to you as if it was circled in highlighter.  Trust me on this.  I make wedding dresses for other people pretty regularly, but when it’s your own dress, you will love it, then hate it, then hate it some more, then be terrified of it before you love it again.

Pro: But then you love it with all your heart.

Tips: I would advise against sewing your own dress without a good deal of experience, for all of the reasons I listed above.  This is also not the time to cut corners – take your time and make it as perfect as possible.  Oh and if you’re using a vintage pattern for the first time, I highly recommend getting in some practice beforehand.  Vintage patterns are very different from contemporary patterns – they don’t have printed markings and construction can be a little mind-boggling at times.

So anyway, to me, there was no question.  I was definitely making my dress and I would totally make it all over again – I am absolutely crazy about it and can’t wait to wear it on my wedding day.  Can’t wait. *sigh*

The above patterns are all available at The Blue Gardenia.

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