Skip to main content

Making My Sister's Regency Style Wedding Dress -- Start to Finish

If you follow me on Instagram (@manicpop) you know that for the past 3 months, I took on making my sister's wedding dress. While she actually got married on October 15th, 2016 (a full year prior) we scheduled a dinner for her and her husband for her 1 year anniversary.

My sister got married in a courthouse in Houston in a dress she really liked but was not the dress she envisioned and wished she had worn. (Had I known she would be getting married, of course I would have offered to make her dress!)

So here we are, January 2017 and I ask myself, "Wait, why don't I make her dress?"  As always, it starts out with a sketch.

Here is what I ended up drawing, front and back for her dress. She loves Regency style era dresses, a la Jane Austen time period, so this is the silhouette we went for.

She had fairly specific requests which meant I had to create the sewing pattern entirely from my own mind. We couldn't find a sewing pattern that mimicked what she wanted so I just went ahead and started draping.

Good thing I went to fashion design school!

So after the drawing, I started planning out my stylelines on my form. My sister and I are very similar measurements so I didn't have to do a lot of tinkering with fit. The main difference is that she is 2 inches taller than me!


She then notified me that a classic Regency style dress would have a corset-like underpinning for her to wear underneath, so she went ahead and ordered one as corsetry is not my forte.

So here I am, planning that all out. (All I have are cell phone photos, sorry!)


After that, I started draping! I don't really remember the last time I fully draped so I was referencing my old textbook from college about draping. It all started coming back to me, so I kept going with stylelines and started pin-fitting a half muslin to start.






After that, I started tracing off the pieces of what I draped for a full muslin set of patterns. These were not final patterns, but patterns I could use to construct the full muslin, make any adjustments with if necessary, and then work out more details.


Below is a photo of me using the original pattern (place on the book) for the bodice, and then the lower piece is how I decided to space out the gathers on the dress, eliminating the dart. I did keep the other piece of the bodice for lining patterns I also would need to make.


From there, I started working out my full muslin to test out everything. At this point, I was sewing most of the pattern pieces together rather than pinning them all into place for a more accurate fit.

 This is when the back mini-train started really coming together!


So here is my 1st muslin fitting which actually went really well!


Once I had the corsetry underneath though, I realized that there would be some minor edits to be made. Some of the corset was peeking out from underneath the dress and we couldn't have that happen in the actual garment.

I also did a sleeve test, of course. 



In the end, I really only needed to adjust the front shoulder a little due to the frame of my dressform and us being so small. This lifted the waistband up a little as well as the bust and made everything fit like it was supposed so. I also did some minor sleeve editing as the sleeve cap wasn't fitting correctly initially.  


So here I am in what ended up being the final muslin fitting on her dress. (I also STILL made more edits on the sleeve after this photo.)


Next, it was all about shaping the hem and the hem facing. So I sat on the floor of my workroom and shaped.


And this is the back of the dress after the hem was figured out!


Bea helped too. 

So after all that, it was finally time to lay out the dress, cut and sew!

I ended up placing paper down and taping it to my table so I would not ruin the white fabric we found for it. It's hard to see in photos, but the fabric we chose has a white-on-white stripe detail that is subtle.


Here is me sewing the front bodice up!


 Aaaand a bunch of photos of me sewing it all together!



I don't know why these photos look so low-quality (aside from the fact that they are my phone photos) but they look super blurry.







When it really started coming together, I tried it on one more time!


 And then it was finished! The dressform does it no justice if you ask me.



At this point, I was just so excited the 3-month long project was done. It would be one more month before the event, but it was all set to go!


And then.... the reveal! My sister and her husband just prior to us heading to the dinner.



And then some photos of everyone at the dinner. Here is me and my sister below.




 Of course, you had to see the glittery dress I wore that my friend Cindy found and gave me!

Then below, my parents and sister and her husband.

My sister with a grandmother.

And that's it! It was a long process, but it was worth it. Almost everything went off without a hitch and that is amazing to me. From the draping process, to the muslins, to the cutting, sewing, and it fit her perfectly when I couldn't even do any fittings on her! I mean, really -- how amazing is that?

Hope you all enjoyed this super-long photo-heavy post!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Latch Hook Rug Update

A little under a month ago I received all of my supplies to take on one of the biggest long-term projects I have ever taken on - a self-designed latch hook rug.

I don't know why, but I am clearly nuts. So beginning today I am posting photos each month, (preferably on the 1st of each month) progress of this gigantic shag rug. See how I started it here (scroll down past posting of my $10 dress). 

This is a photo of it today:

 Yes, I used the candelabra for scale. Haha. 
 This rug is really soft and is fun to run your fingers through. 

It doesn't look like much was accomplished, but though the number of packages we have gone through of pre-cut latch hook rug yarn already I have calculated that  we've used over 2500 strands for this ie.) 8 packages. I also just ordered 10 more packages of lime green since that's what I ran out of first and 6 more packages of straw yellow.


There is still quite a bit to go, but you see the blue row squares? Each of those are 10 rows. We cou…

DIY Trapeze Dress

I'm a pretty big fan of tent dresses (or trapeze dresses - call it what you want). They're simple, easy-to-make and you can have many variations of them. These are a fun style to wear for spring and summer! 
See this DIY from a Good Housekeeping Crafts book from 1971 - photos at the end of my own trapeze top from a while ago! (Bear with me on the photos here - this book is quite cumbersome and hard to scan.) 



Applique patterns, in case you wanted the dress to look EXACTLY like the photo. (But why?) 


How to cut the fabric efficiently. (This is actually pretty important cost-wise for you - especially with something this big.) 



Using pattern instructions from my patternmaking book from college, I created this swingy trapeze top a bit ago. I used sweater fabric from a thrift store find for the collar of this top. 

 I also opened up the back on the pattern to have a diamond shape. 

 It can easily be belted like in this photo for a blouse-y look. (Photo by Jane Chu.)

Have fun, kids…

The Lost Art of Rug Hooking

I am totally in love with the idea of this rug! But anyone who knows me shouldn't be surprised as I like stripes, vintage, and anything remotely psychedelic looking. 
The squares can be kept separate for rearranging or sewn together for a full rug. Be forewarned: these rugs take quite a long time to hook, so do this only if you have lots of free time. Or, I guess if you want to be working on it for years - whatever. 
On the contrary, these knots don't take too long to learn - mostly just muscle memory. You only need to buy a rug hook (which is still sold in most kits in craft stores) as well as the pre-cut yarn. In recent years, I find this proves to be slightly difficult as rug-hooking is a dying art, but you may be able to come across these yarn pieces online.





Of course, the fun part is that you can do whatever colors you want. I like this little chart that explains the reasons why you would pick each colorway - a little color theory here and there.  


And design your o…