Tag: wedding dress

How I made this Wedding Dress – Part 3 Lace overlay

Part 3 of how I made this wedding dress – the lace overlay.


Jess on her big day
Jess on her big day

The lace overlay was probably the hardest part of the dress and definitely the part I dreaded the most! The thought of cutting in expensive lace and possibly making a mistake really got my heart pumping! But I managed (and sewed grandma slow!) and I think it was worth the effort! The lace fabric that Jess settled on, came from New Zealand! We searched high and low, but we didn’t find anything that we liked and was in our price range! But Grace and Lace had all the answers!

the wedding dress
Jess in her wedding dress

First of all, bust out the good scissors (this is what you have been saving them for) or at the very least get yours sharpened! If you are really nervous I suggest buying some very cheap curtain lace that is a similar width to your lace to practice cutting out so that you know if you have bought enough. Or which way to cut it out. Jess wanted lace with a scolloped border, which is understandable because it looks AMAZING! But that means that your cutting out needs to be perfect! For this dress we put the scollop around the neck and back and around the hem line to get the best look. The only problem with this was – this pattern connected two pieces of fabric to create the neckline – so I had to create new pattern piece for the the bodice to get the full affect of the scollop.

1. Using your original toile pattern pieces for the bust – roughly sew them back together so you can make a new pattern piece for the the lace. This is the only new pattern piece you will need to create. I laid out a large piece of paper, and put the toile bodice piece down, you want the straight edge of the paper in line with the neck line – this is how you will get the scollop edge to be neckline. Trace along the bottom of the bodice – move the toile neckline along the straight line. Trace where the toile ends – you will have a large pattern piece, to make this fit you will need to put a dart under the arms, but it is worth the trouble to get the scollop to become the neckline.

2. Roll out lace and start placing the pattern pieces down. I did each piece separately, but on my toile I took the time to label every piece which side was the right side and which was the edge we wanted the scollop on. Once every piece was pinned down, I cut each one out and left them attached to the toile pieces so I didn’t need to label the lace.

Cutting out the lace
Cutting out the lace

3. At this point you will need to change the needle on your machine to make sure that it is for fine fabrics such as lace, you will also need to use a scrap of lace and practice sewing on it. You may need to change the tension so you get a nice smooth stitch. You can see the massive difference changing the tension can make.

Sewing on lace before changing the tension
Sewing on lace before changing the tension
Changing the tension - makes the stitching so much cleaner and tighter.
Changing the tension – makes the stitching so much cleaner and tighter.

4. Sew together the skirt pieces first. I recommend sewing this with french seams – this means sewing your fabric with the WRONG sides together (opposite of the normal way) and then trimming the seams and folding them back so the the seam is enclosed in a seam and is neat. It is a good idea to do this with a fine lace because overlocking would be very obvious and it gives the seams extra strength and looks finished! Pin together the pieces starting at the bottom making sure that the scollop edges match up. Leave the side open – on the same side as the zip.

5. Start the bodice – start by putting the bodice on yourself (Pin at top of the shoulder) pin in a dart so that the scollop forms the neckline. Pin in darts on both sides – sew them. Try on again and make sure you are happy with the scollop placement and if you are – trim away excess fabric from the back of the dart.

5. Attach the bodice front with the back under the arm and at the shoulders. Leave one side open to get on and off.

6. Using the french seam method attach the bodice to the skirt – leaving on side open.

7. Roll the arm holes in onto themselves and hand or machine sew down. Alternatively you could make very thin bias binding from the satin and bind around the arm holes.

8. Place the nearly finished lace over the finished satin dress – mark where is zip ends with a pin on the lace. Sew using french seams the open side seam – up to the mark of the zip.

9. To get in and out of the lace dress I used clear plastic press studs hand sewn up the sides. I thought a zip would of been way too obvious. By hand I sewed 5 press studs up the opening.

10. Try on both dresses! Finally I marked by hand where I wanted more press studs to go. I put them on the shoulders so the lace wouldn’t slip off, at the back of the open back so to didn’t move, the neck line and lastly under the bodice so it would sit tightly on Jess’s rib cage so the lace didn’t just hang.

11. Once that hand sewing was complete the last thing was to do was make 2 small cuts in the lace at the centre back seam. This was so that the button and loop would poke through and the lace could also be hooked up at the back.

12. COMPLETE! Congratulations you have made your own wedding dress!!!!!!!

My big bro - pretty happy with his effort
My big bro – pretty happy with his effort
The perfect Day!
The perfect Day!

See all the steps for this wedding dress

Step 2

Step 1

You can check out Jess’s final dress

The Wedding!

How I made this wedding Dress – part 2 satin dress

Wedding Dress and Dress bag
Homemade wedding dress and dress bag – all ready on the big day

So this section covers how I made the under satin dress to this homemade wedding dress.
This part of the dress is was the easiest of all – After I made the pattern it was truly easy sailing. The pattern I had was for a bridesmaids dress but I made alterations to make it a wedding dress. I followed the basic dress instructions to finish the dress. I made it in two dresses – the satin dress first and then another dress from lining – then finished them by sewing them together.

1. Start with the bodice from satin, as you sew together the pieces of the bodice ensure that both your shoulders are the same width.
2. Once you sew together the top start on the back, again ensuring that the back straps match with the front straps. Sew together on one side – leave the other side open for the zip.
3. Construct the skirt, making sure that you leave the side seam open for you zip.
4. Sew together the bodice and the skirt of the dress – leaving one side open for the zip.
5. Finish all seams.
6. Do steps 1-5 again with the lining.
7. With both dresses right sides together – the satin dress inside the lining, carefully pin around the neck and back.
8. Sew around the neck and back, carefully turn back in and try on. you should have both seamed sided inside the dress, the right side should be outside (obviously) and lining against your body should be the right side of the lining so it is comfortable against your skin.
9. If you are happy with the neck and back line and it is even, turn back inside out. Once inside out clip and notch the back and neck line. (clip and notch means to cut out little triangles in the seam allowance – not cutting the seam. once you turn out the right way the neck line will sit flat instead of being bubbly)
10. Turn the right way out and admire your work! You are nearly done! At this point you need to work out if you want to keep your lining – because the bodice is sewn to the dress you can’t take it out and it looks much better with lining. But you don’t need to have it all the way to the ground! When Jess tried on this dress we found it was really hot with the lining to the floor, so we cut off the lining at the knee. It made a big difference!
11. Insert the zip in the side opening – I put in an invisible zip.
12. By hand fold in about 6 mm of both the satin and lining to the inside of the dress. Do this so they are not visible, pin as you move around the armhole. Top stitch around the armhole, starting and finishing under the arm. Repeat for the other arm.
13. Hem the dress, now I did this by hand because I wanted it to be as invisible as possible. If you are keeping your lining to the floor I would recommend you hem the lining into the dress especially at the back of the train. (If you aren’t going to clip up the back to dance then that’s not really necessary.
14. Jess did want to be able to clip up the back of the train so she could dance! So to do this I added a pearl button which I sewed onto the middle of the back seam about mid thigh.
The point of clipping up the back of your dress is so that you don’t ruin the back of the train but also so you can walk/dance easily. We did it so the dress skirt hung in a fan and covered the inside of the dress.
15. Have the dress hung up on a door and pinch the fabric up to match the button. You want the skirt of the dress to cover the folds and to fall in line with the rest of the hem line. Place a pin at the pinch make – this is where you will make you loop to go over the button.
16. To make the loop thread a needle and knot the end. Starting on the inside, create about 5 loops around your finger, all the same size. Starting at the base of the loop, tie a knot to tie all the loops together. Working your way around the loop and make the knots nice and tight. Once you are finished all around the loop, tie it off at the back of the of dress.

skirt button
Sewn button onto dress to hold up skirt for Dancing!


Creating loops to go around button


Creating knots around the loops to re-enforce the loop


The loop and button
The loop and button keeping the skirt up!

17. There you have it you are finished! If you are going to make an lace over view then I would leave step 11 -14 until you are finished the lace – that way you can be sure everything at the bottom sits properly.

wedding dress
The finished Dress ready for the Big Day

Please watch out for my Step 3 for how I made the lace overlay, it will be done shortly! But also check out these posts about the wedding dress too!

The beautiful wedding photos are from www.Thurtell.com

The other steps are here

Step 3

Step 1

Or the important sewing tips for the professional look

15 Hot Tips




How I made this wedding dress – part 1 custom pattern

wedding dress pattern
How to personalise a pattern for your wedding dress

How I made this wedding dress – part 1 custom made wedding dress pattern

So, as most of you know I made my sister in law (to-be at the time) wedding dress. I have shared with you before my 15 top hints on how to make you own wedding dress and you can check that out here – http://wp.me/p3WXOW-3Q

But today I’m going to explain how I went from old 90’s bridesmaids dress pattern to vintage inspired gorgeousness!

Base dress pattern
The pattern I altered to create Jess’s stunning dress

I am not a professional seamstress but this is how I made that pattern become this amazing dress it was on the day! You will need a rough pattern of what you would like your dress to turn out like, but differences can be made such as lowering a back or adding sleeves. I also used cheap cotton to make toile (basic rough draft of dress), traditionally calico is used but I used poly cotton because it was cheaper, even cutting up a sheet would do if you needed to cut costs!
1. First of all measure yourself, you want to make sure you are accurate! Write down your measurements, as you may need them later.
2. Cut out your pattern, cut out your largest size. So for example if you bust is a size 10 but hips a size 14, you will want to at this stage cut out a size 14.
3. Sew together your toile following you pattern instructions. You don’t need to overlock or edge anything, you will be ripping this apart. You also don’t need to hem or finish anything properly so make it easy on yourself and sew it together as basically as you can, at this point leave out putting a zip in or however it will be fastened.
4. Try on the dress, this is the first of many so get use to it!
5. While you have your dress on, this is the time to work out what you would like to change. Hopefully if you measured yourself correctly it should fit or be too big for you. Preferably on the seam lines or at darts, pin fabric in to fit. If the only other person around is the groom, grab yourself a lead pencil and draw on your dress where your seams or darts should be. I find drawing on yourself also makes it easier if you need to make adjustments where your zip should be, instead of trying to get out of a pinned up dress.
6. Repeat 4 & 5 until you are happy with fit of the dress.
7. Try dress on, armed with your pencil, start drawing on any alterations such as lowering neck lines or changing sleeves.
For me I had to add length onto the bottom of the bodice so it was higher cut, I also had to take a lot in under the bodice so it was firm fitting because Jess is teeny tiny (lucky thing!). We also cut the straps down to make them thinner.
8. Once you have drawn on these alterations start cutting down your pattern, make sure you still leave enough for a seam allowance. Once happy pin down all around the neck and sleeves to give yourself the look of how it will be once finished.
9. Try it on again! Just to make sure that your alterations are what you want! Take a photo front and back of dress just in case you need it for reference when sewing.
10. Once again write on each piece of dress, such as back middle etc. What ever as long as you know where it will go on your dress, this is important especially if your intending to put lace over your dress. I also wrote “top” on my dress pieces so once again I knew which was was up, which is important again if your doing a lace overlay.
11. Once your happy, unpick all your hard work! Yep all of it! You now have yourself a custom pattern for your own wedding dress!!!
When starting this process, please don’t try to alter a strapless dress to backless as well, think logically! (ie how are you going to keep up your dress). Also keep in mind your sewing experience. If you can find a pattern close to your dream dress as possible, that will only make your life easier! I buy a lot (some may say too many) of patterns on eBay. You can get bulk patterns that old ladies have cleaned out their cupboards for cheap prices. This is how I found this pattern, and I think it cost me less that $1! For the adventurous ones you could also put together a top of one pattern and a bottom of another, but once again start with the same size pattern and make sure the patterns have similar seem lines where you are going to join the two together. Stay tuned for the next two parts of making your own wedding dress! xx

The other 2 steps are now here

Step 2

Step 3


The Wedding Dress

the wedding dress

the wedding dress


Finally I can reveal the Wedding Dress that I made for my new Sister In Law!  As you can see Jess made a stunning bride.  It was a very special way of being part of the wedding! Very soon I will share with you how I made the dress  – now that the dress is out of the bag 😉 Hope you all had a lovely weekend – I sure did! xx

If you would like to see how I made this dress, check it out here –

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

back of the wedding dress
Jess in her wedding dress – Back view

How to make you own wedding dress – 15 HOT TIPS

15 hot tips to make you own wedding dress!

Tips to make your own wedding dress
Tips to make your own wedding dress

A couple of years ago I got married, YAY! and I wanted to make my own wedding dress.  I looked around and couldn’t find the exact pattern that I wanted, so I knew I would have to make the pattern and the dress…. A little daunting! And then a good friend told me how her grandma had made her own dress and hadn’t finished it so she wore it down the aisle with pins in it!  This story I knew was going to be me!  So I by a stroke of luck found a very similar dress I wanted in a store closing down in Melbourne after they had been on Project Runway Australia! So I bagged a eBay bargain and altered it to become my dream dress :-)

However I always was a little miffed i didn’t get to make my own dress – however my time has come!  Kind of… My brother is getting married and the always amazing JESS has let me make her dress!  So this is my guide to making your own wedding dress at home.  Even if your aren’t a pro, which I am definitely not!

1.  Find a pattern that is close to what you want.  You may need to use your imagination on how it will look in the white lace number you are wanting, I used a very attractive McCalls bridesmaids pattern from the the 90’s, and both the bride and I are pretty happy with the results.  I brought the pattern off eBay in a bulk pack of a nice older lady Ethel who couldn’t sew anymore.  I got 20+ patterns for $15 and Ethel the dear sent her husband round to hand deliver the goods on the same day! Talk about service, I even got a postage refund!

2.  Make yourself a toile.  A practice run out of cheap fabric, if you are really on a strict budget you could even make it out of your lining.  Cut it out, sew it up (no overlocking), try it on.  Make alterations until it is your dream dress and them unpick it and use that as your pattern when you are cutting out your expensive fabric.  It will take your blood pressure down a bit when you know for sure it is going to fit!  Traditionally the toile would be make out of calico or 100% cotton but I made mine out of poly cotton as it was cheaper and that was the reason we were doing this!  My mum came up with a great idea afterwards, a bed sheet would work well and be cheap!  THIS BY FAR WAS THE BEST THING THAT I DID – DONT SKIP THIS STEP!

3. Be realistic – don’t think you are going to make a dress in a weekend!  You will snap a needle or run out of thread or a million other things, give yourself heaps and heaps of time.  It has taken me about 4 weekends of about 10 hours sewing from start to finish.  You don’t want to be my friends grandma!

4. Buy yourself new machine needles and change them before start sewing so you know they are sharp!  Not sure which ones would be best?  Check this out first – http://www.feathersflights.com/2012/09/sewing-101-sewing-machine-needles.html

5. Buy yourself new pins so you don’t accidentally create a run in the $50m satin or worse silk!

6.  Take off your engagement ring if you are using delicate fabric and/or lace.  We don’t want you to become distracted by the amazing rock and dreaming about how much better it will look with your wedding ring BUT also you really don’t want it to snag the fabric or lace, trust me I know the horror!

7. Practice on the fabric before hand. My tension wasn’t right for lace and it looked terrible, I little turn of the dial and it looked pro!  Its worth reading your book or googling it! Mine went from a 2 to a 1 and it made all the difference. (I have a Janome.)

8.  Learn and practice french seams!  A french seam is when you sew you fabric wrong sides together, then trim the fabric seam and turn it again and sew so that the seams are on the inside, but incased.  A great technique if you are using sheer fabrics and don’t want a nice bulky overlocked seam running down the middle of your gown.  It looks great but also makes to more durable and doesn’t rub on the person wearing it – so very popular with babies clothes.  My mum made her wedding dress back in the 1960’s and used french seams on the whole gown, no overlocker in sight.  Even now that dress is still looking like it has another 40 years left in it and mama can still fit into it!

9. Buy your thread and then fill up at least two bobbins – you do not want to run out and not realise.  Then have to unthread your machine to fill a bobbin! A nightmare – be a girl scout and be prepared!!!

10.  Go crazy and use the good scissors – the sharper the better.  If you have to get them sharpened than do that – this is your dream dress and deserved to be treated with respect.

11.  Try it on and then try it on and try it on again.  If I have Jess with me everyday I think she would be trying it on every half an hour – better to try it on too many times and it fits.  Than think you don’t have time, sew it together and it doesn’t fit so you have to make besties with you unpicker.  Or if your lucky enough use a dress model, if your trying to keep costs down – you can make one like here – http://personalizedfashion.blogspot.se/2010/02/how-to-make-your-own-dress-form.html?m=1

12.  Clear out the sewing room/office/laundry/garage where ever you sew.  Don’t take on any other jobs like hemming you husbands jeans.  I don’t care that you have had them for 3 months – you have worn them un-hemmed for that long one more weekend won’t kill you!  Have full concentration on the dress, changing tension and thread and foot etc is unnecessary things that you could forget to change back!

13.  Enjoy it!  It is suppose to be fun, don’t stress, people will think that you are beautiful even if you turn up in a brown paper bag with a safety pinned hem!  Just give yourself a cut off – mine is 4 weeks before the wedding to have it finished by.  That way you can finish it and enjoy everything else without constantly feeling guilty for not hemming this or unpicking that!

14.  Keep your scraps!  Wedding dress fabric scraps make awesome christening gowns or ring pillows.

15. Ask for help!  Don’t think that you have to come up with all the answers.  I have asked all the girls I work with and my mum heaps of questions of what they would do when this or that happens.  Even if they aren’t big sewers a different approach is sometimes all you need.  When in doubt google it!

16. BONUS ADVICE – when your finished put it away.  You don’t want to be staring at it for the following weeks and either get sick of the sight of it or find all the faults in it.  You did the best you could and you will look amazing on the day – trust me!  Every bride does.  Or make yourself a garment bag to store it in (plastic ones aren’t great for long term storage as the fabric doesn’t breathe) out of sight out of mind! Here is one that I made for Jess if your interested in making your own http://wp.me/p3WXOW-44

Keep on the look out for the dress – coming after the big day on the 26 October!  Wish us luck now I have to make my own dress!  Good Luck if you are making your own dress – let me know how it goes!
Check out how I made the dress here – http://wp.me/p3WXOW-5M


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