Mr J and and I had very different ideas about my wedding dress. He wanted me to make one and I wanted to buy one. I pleadingly said "But what if I make a big fancy dress for our engagement party?!" and so it began.
My brainstorming started. I wanted something huge! Something ridiculous! I thought I could make a fitted dress with some sort of massive clip on skirt that I can whip off once at the party and ta-da!. Two dresses in one! Spending the next few weeks wandering the bridal high streets of Armadale and seeing this dress over and over I started to think it looked more costume than bridal and my crazy ideas started to subside.
Back to basics. I knew I wanted strapless. It's my signature style with a custom made to measure bodice with boning in every panel. That part was easy. Then I dreamt maybe a floor length gown but the idea of dragging bridal satin around a Smith street bar made me feel queasy at the thought.
The answer: a mullet dress. Short at the front, long at the back. Or known by the much prettier name of a 'waterfall' dress. I didn't conceive this idea wholly on my own. I'd been looking at wedding dresses with a friend for herself and she'd shown me so many varieties of asymmetrical hem that idea had begun to imprint.
I made a few sweeps and draws with my french curve and set out making my first calico muslin draft. For the hem I was dead set on horsehair braid thinking it would give the perfect stand out hem. Alas it looked like a clown collar. I tired a thicker horsehair and it had the same clown collar effect.
I stared, I prodded and decided a longer skirt was probably the way to go. I messaged a friend I studied with at Melbourne school of fashion with and she suggested the horse hair wasn't working because it was a straight edge on a curved hem and to try a thick tulle instead. I felt newly inspired! I purchased the netting (no thick tulle could be found) cut it in the curved shape of the hem and it was working much better but still not quite as I'd have liked.
I was starting to run short of time with a week to go and of course I got sick. Two lots of antibiotics, allergic reactions and swollen hands later I started to realise all those blogs about women making their own wedding dresses weren't exaggerating or kidding about their stress. And mine was only a party dress!
I woke up the Friday morning full of sewing motivation constructing pretty much the entire dress that day. The bodice went together in a few hours and I used a heavy jacket interfacing for the hem and crossed my fingers it would solve all my symmetrical hemming woes.
I hemmed the dress the following day with invisible hand stitching around 3 inches apart which are far too bigger stitches but it was three o'clock and the party started at six and there was still hair and makeup to be done.
I loved my dress in the end and so did Mr J and the photo's and memories of the night don't show a hint of stress or the frustration of the white dress drama involved.
Skirt: Butterick - B6102
Skirt hem: My own.
Bodice: My own.