Wedding Gown – the pattern

Hi everyone!
Thank you for the interest in the bourse class. If you popped over to Focus on Finishing, you must have realized by now how easy a bourse is! I was even a little ashamed to be writing this tutorial… But that was a request from many of you on the Focus on Finishing blog. The bourse got the most votes in the poll Anne and Karen created when the blog opened. So, I hope it will help some, even though I know many of you don’t even need a tutorial for this.

Today, I wanted to post an update on my wedding gown. I’ve been working on the muslin last weekend and at evenings during the week.
I’ll share pictures of the muslin later, but first had to tell you about the pattern.
I changed my mind quite a few times about that! Finding the right pattern has been an ongoing process for the past several months.

I had finally decided to make McCall’s 5383 (pictured to the left), but…
Once I got the pattern, and could look at it close and personal, while I still liked the simple lines, I thought the bodice was… wanting. It wasn’t classy enough. Too flimsy. Never mind, I can still use the pattern to make a cute shorter dress some day!

My mum also told me she thought princess seams would be more becoming on me, and I thought she was right. (My dear mom is not always right when it comes to my style, but this time I think she was spot on!) The last time we were together, I was wearing my red roses outfit (the first I machine-sewed), and the top has princess seams, which is why she thought about that.

My mum sounded honoured that I emailed her pictures of prospective patterns and asked for her advice, but it meant a lot to have her opinion. If I was shopping for that kind of dress, instead of making it, I would be shopping with her, right?
Another reason why I like the idea of princess seams, is that I know her wedding dress, which my grandma made, had princess seams. That is about the only thing I know about that dress: it was lately cut apart to make a suit. Sigh. The only picture I have seen of my parents’ wedding is a bust portrait and my mother is holding her big bouquet of marguerites in front of her… So I never saw the dress’s style.

I still wanted an empire waist, and after putting my thinking cap on again and browsing some more, I finally decided to use New Look 6318.

I am very happy with my final choice and have not had a flicker of doubt ever since I purchased it…I guess that is the same feeling you get when you shop for your wedding dress and find “the one”!

Of course, I want the dress to be completely and utterly mine – otherwise what would be the point in making it oneself, right? So I am changing a few things to make it fit my own idea exactly.

First, I am going to use the bodice in view A over the skirt design in view C. The bodice, dress and overskirt will be in blue dupioni, while the underskirt (which is actually the dress’s front skirt panel) will be in a contrasting white.

I was thinking of making the contrasting underskirt in batiste (like the lining and underlining), but my friend Becky treated me to a very generous birthday gift certificate to yesterday! Thank you Becky!!
So, I am now thinking of spending a little more and using a lightweight white taffeta. The weight and drape should be closer to the dupioni, which should be much better for the general hang of the dress. I didn’t want dupioni for the underskirt because I want to play with contrasting textures (I want a smoother look for the underskirt).

That means I’ll have to wait for the fabric to arrive before making more progress on the dress, but that’s OK. I can make something else in the meantime and read more from the fantastic Bridal Couture book.

The other main alteration concerns the straps. I am going to redraft the straps so that they are wider, and also tapered where they meet the bodice (or maybe I should do the opposite and have them wider on the bottom and tapered on the top of the shoulders? I’ll have to try both).

Dupioni update: I cut out another swatch and this time simply soaked it in cold water for an hour or two. After a careful ironing, the swatch was still beautiful. The fabric may be slightly less drapey, but that is not a problem. The texture is almost the same. I shall therefore soak the whole fabric piece before using it. Knowing the dress won’t be ruined by a drop of water is a great relief! Which just gets to show, it is always good to experiment. Even the fabric books don’t agree on how to treat dupioni, by the way. (I have to thank Tany for her help with sewing books!)
That is the beauty of sewing – the freedom to experiment and achieve the exact result that you have pictured in your mind’s eye.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting pictures of the latest muslin fitting later.

44 thoughts on “Wedding Gown – the pattern

  1. Susimac says:

    Oh your dress is going to be wonderful.I’m glad to see that you are not going to let the troll get you down with nasty remarks – some people are not nice and their comments are so unwarranted. I for one as you know am absolutely delighted about your forthcoming wedding


  2. KarenV says:

    Isabelle, your dress is going to be so beautiful! I love the idea of the contrasting underskirt and I agree with the princess seams – very elegant and flattering!Don’t let horrible people get you down, they’re really not worth it and you definitely don’t deserve that.{{{Hugs}}} and have a lovely weekend!


  3. Anne S says:

    I don’t know how anyone could leave you undesirable comments – you’re a blog angel, and always a sweetheart. Just try not to let it get to you – the rest of us are absolutely thrilled with your news! And your fabric and pattern choices just exquisite! It’s so awesome that you’re sharing the details with us 😀


  4. Barbara says:

    Your adventurousness in creating a totally unique, totally Isabelle wedding dress is just amazing! I love silk, but I can’t imagine daring to try to sew anything in it – and especially not dupioni silk! You’re amazing! You’ll have a true heirloom when you’re done – and I hope you’ll never cut it down to make a suit!! (gasp!)As for commentors, I will never understand why people can’t keep hurtful comments to themselves. My Grams always used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” While that is a bit extreme 😉 it is certainly a good standard by which to measure what one <>does<> say. You have the right attitude and your reaction is, as always, graceful. 🙂Hugs to you, dear friend, and wishes for a wonderful weekend.


  5. Shannon says:

    I’m glad you found the perfect pattern and the perfect way to treat your silk – now you’re off to the races!! I look forward to seeing your progress.P.S. Ignore the petty people that are obviously taking their inadequacies out on you. Why is it that some people are only good at being nasty?


  6. Vonna says:

    Your wedding dress is going to be beautiful and you will be a lovely vision to behold. I think it remarkable that you are determine to make the dress yourself inspite of your busy schedule. Many kudos to you 🙂As for the nasty comments go, I believe one needs to search inside themselves, as it says in a bible tale, “ye without sin may cast the first stone”….I think it horrible that people pass judgement about something they know nothing about…forget it, you are a sweet, loving friend, you don’t need nasty people clouding your bright horizon 🙂


  7. Nicki says:

    Your dress is going to be gorgeous Isabelle. I’m so impressed that you are changing patterns and adapting everything. I love hearing about it. It’ll be a real family heirloom 🙂As for nasty comments – well some people need their heads sorting out. You’re a wonderful, beautiful person and we’re all so happy for you. {{{hugs}}}


  8. Summerset says:

    It’s wonderful that your mother can be part of the planning process! I think you’ve made a good choice for the gown – the princess seams will give your whole body a longer look. The contrast inset will be perfect. Are you using any lace or trim? Or are you keeping that a secret for a while?;)


  9. lena-lou says:

    Isabelle I LOVE your ideas for your dress and the pattern you are using for the basis of it is beautiful. You are such a petite looking person the princess seams and empire waist line be just perfect…see Mums do know us daughters very well and I expect she is delighted to feel so involved in the process. I think it is a lovely idea that you are going to use Becky’s gift certificate towards/for the taffeta :-)) I also think it is such a shame some people want to put a blot on a happy horizon!! I think your attitude to them is cool 🙂 I also think most of us are delighted for you and are thoroughly going to enjoy your dress preparations.Enjoy your weekend!


  10. stitcherw says:

    Your dress is going to be gorgeous. I’m so glad that your mom was able to make a suggestion that worked so well. It’s wonderful that she can be involved with helping find a pattern just like if you had gone shopping for a prefinished dress.Sorry some people thought to leave some nasty remarks, people are so thoughtless and mean sometimes. I’m glad that you aren’t letting them bother you. You deserve to have every happiness.Miss Cutie is a cutie, fun pictures.Sue


  11. Karoline says:

    Your dress sounds like it will be gorgeous, thank you for sharing your thought processes.Sorry to hear that you’ve been receiving nasty comments. I’m with Barbara’s grandma on these things. Love the photo’s of Violette 🙂


  12. All of Us! says:

    As always Isabelle, your grace and loving heart show through. The cream will always rise to the top. I have to say that I think you made the right decision with the dress. The first dress didn’t really seem like YOU. It’s a very pretty dress, just not quite right. I have to say I think you got it right. It’s going to be stunning and you will completely make the dress once you are in it. I cannot wait to see pictures of an August wedding in Paris. I’m so excited for you. Will you be wearing a veil? I have so many questions so I’m just going to put them in an email. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend dear friend!


  13. Redwitch says:

    *Sigh* Oh Isabelle you’ve made me go quite dreamy and whimsical 🙂 I just love hearing about your plans for your dress, it will be stunning and you will be the most beautiful bride in Paris! I love that Becky has been able to contribute a gift towards your dress too, that is very special. Even your kitty has style Isabelle! 🙂


  14. Tany says:

    Isabelle, your dress will be very special (as you are)! I can´t wait to see the muslin! I’ve been away yesterday and no sewing/updating/emailing news… I’m glad to know you’ve found your way with the dupioni silk! Hugs from Portugal!


  15. claudia says:

    I can’t wait to see your wedding dress! I can’t wait to see you in it. You and it will be the most beautiful ever!I can’t help but chuckle at Miss Cutie! She looks so comfy just sitting there. She is so darned cute!


  16. coonie says:

    Isabelle, your dress is going to be so beautiful! This design is just so delightful and you’ll be a princess in your dress 🙂P’tite Mignonne is so cute as usual, I’d like to cuddle her 😉(((big hugs)))


  17. Gina E. says:

    I’ve just caught up with your news Isabelle, and I am so pleased for both you and your soul mate Seb! He is bound to change his mind about marriage once you have tied that knot…sigh..I love being married and not just in a ‘meaningful relationship’. It is a very special thing, not for some people it seems, but for others it is so right.


  18. Sew-in-Love says:

    Nice to see your pattern. Look forward to seeing your version of it.Sorry to hear you’ve been offended by something someone said, but don’t forget that you may actually have misunderstood their intentions! It’s easily done when using Internet communications.=(


  19. Margaret says:

    Your wedding dress is going to be gorgeous Isabelle. Love the idea of the contrasting underskirt. How sweet of you to ask your mother’s opinion – I am sure she was absolutely thrilled. Isn’t it amazing how suddenly something will feel just right, just like you now know exactly how you want your dress.Just a little comment about the negative you received. Just think to yourself “Jealosy with get you no-where pal!!” because that’s probably what it is.Just keep on enjoying every minute of this special time.Hugs, Margaret


  20. Tracy says:

    You dress is going to be just gorgoeus! The blue silk and white taffeta underskirt sounds like a lovely contrast of colors & textures! We look forward to wedding dress updates! So sweet of you to be including your mother in the whole dress process…As to the negativity you’ve been experiencing, I’m sorry that you’ve had anyone spoiling things for you. Sometimes there are showers between the sunshine…Gently hold on to the sweet things and let the sour fall behind. Know that all will be well. :o) Hope you have a great weekend. And Miss Cutie sure is a cutie!


  21. Katrin says:

    Hello Isabelle,I missed to check your blog some days due to very slow internet connection and missed some really nice posts. Your final choice regarding the wedding dress is really beautiful. It will look wonderful in the blue dupioni silk.And your cat is the most gorgeous cat I have ever seen, and: She really knows ;-).Don´t bother too much about unpleasant remarks. You will always meet envious people and they are only happy while seeing you disappointed. Just ignore them !I wish you a wonderful time preparing your wedding !Greets,Katrin


  22. Lizzy says:

    Oh, my Isabelle, but your dress is going to be so very beautiful! I love the blue silk… it’s just perfect for you and I know you’ll be the most beautiful bride in Paris! 🙂 I am so sorry someone is trying to cloud your happiness, Sweetie. I believe *What comes around goes around*… so please, don’t give it a second thought, for you, my Dear are a beautiful Soul… so sweet, kind, thoughtful and wonderfully inspiring… and we are all blessed to know you! 🙂 May love and happiness forever shine upon you and Seb… Miss Cutie is such a darling angel! 🙂


  23. Michelle says:

    I think you’ve chosen the perfect pattern for your dress, and I like the ideas you have to make it your own. I love the idea of making the straps wider and narrower – you have such an eye for detail. Big hugs – there are always people who have to throw their two cents in, you just don’t have to take it. I’m so excited for you!


  24. Katrina says:

    Hi Isabelle, I’m just catching up on your recent news and just wanted to wish you and Seb all the best for the next few months in preparation for your weddding. I think your dress will be absolutely stunning and look forward to seeing more pics as it progresses. Take care


  25. whitecalla says:

    Oh ! Isabelle..I think you made the right choice with the princess seam. Its know it will be abeautiful and stunning dress. Am already dreaming of your beautiful wedding.Care not of those unpleasant remarks..ppl behave strangely when one cannot accept a change.Miss Cutie is indeed a cutie.Love n hugs


  26. Wendy says:

    I think you have definitely picked the ‘right’ dress for you, Isabelle! Your choice is going to be absolutely stunning in your blue silk. Oh, I can’t wait to see you in it! How exciting!!


  27. Patty says:

    <> sure this is going the most gorgeous handmade wedding dress!!! I love the fabric. As for the rest (sewing…),I won’t help you. Sorry!you’re amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a little jealous… knowing that you’re sewing your own wedding dress must be so exciting…so great! <>


  28. Renee says:

    Cela vaut vraiment la peine de lire ton blog en anglais. Il y a plein de confidences que tu nous caches en français (rire!). Je comprends tes références à quelque chose du passé dans le choix de ta robe. Pour mon ensemble de mariage (robe+manteau à traîne+cape…) je voulais quelque chose qui ressemble à ce que la haute société portait en Pologne à l’époque de Chopin! J’ai donc fait des recherches et j’ai dessiné un “sketch”. Pourquoi cette idée saugrenue? Tout simplement parce que j’épousais un charmant jeune homme d’origine polonaise (pas du tout pianiste par ailleurs!)


  29. Jenna says:

    Oh Isabelle! That dress is surely the most perfect pattern for you. I love it! And in that gorgeous silver blue dupioni silk… ahhhh. Just beautiful. The epitome of French elegance. That suits you to a “T”! 🙂Sorry to hear about the not-so-nice comments regarding your nuptials. People are just strange sometimes. Forget them and focus on all of the love being poured in your direction!


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