Couture Wedding Gown
I had the honor of making my niece’s wedding gown. I have sewn most everything but never a wedding dress, or a strapless dress with corset. I knew the fitting and the dress had to be perfect. I used Butterick 5325 for the start of the dress. The fashion fabric is a Duchess satin with a beautiful lace overlay. A linen ribbon was hand sewn at the empire waist and a linen flower pinned on for the pop of color. The gown was completely underlined in silk organza and lined in silk charmuese. It must have felt wonderful to wear.
I first made a muslin and fitted the dress to my niece. The muslin was carefully marked with grain lines, stitch lines, notches, and all notes made. This muslin became my pattern. The stitch lines and grain lines were all carefully transferred to the duchess satin using white tracing paper and a wheel. (Yes, the lines were a bit difficult to see.) I then carefully cut out the fabric a layer at a time and basted the layers together. The duchess satin, lace, and silk organza underlining became one. All basting was done on the stitch lines and carefully removed after the seam was machine sewn. After all pieces were ready and layers basted together, I basted the dress together and did another fitting. Once I was sure it fitted properly, I then machine sewed it together. I made the corselet using a tightly woven cotton. This corselet was going to hold the dress in place. The corselet was fitted very tight and then a little bit tighter. The corselet contains 13 steel bones sewn in channels, a waist stay, hook and eye closure up the back, and a nice lace trimmed lower edge. The fabric is a double layer of tightly woven cotton that was preshrunk (washed and machine dried). It was preshrunk to avoid any additional shrinkage during the iron/steaming when constructing. I machined sewn the corselet to the top of the dress, understitched it by hand, and trimmed off the outer top edge with some beautiful lace. I hand stitched a zip up the center back and lined the dress completely in the silk charmuese. After hemming and hand stitching the lining to the bottom hem, I added an additional lace around the outside edge of the hem.
Finally, I made the bustle using ribbons under the back at 7 points and hand sewn them to seams (a stronger point) and then color coded the ribbons using embroidery thread. The color coding was key so that the maid of honor knew which ribbon to tie to which after the ceremony. (The bustle was like a roman shade under the dress.) I decided against an over bustle because of the weight of the dress and there was really no place to hide buttons or hook and eye and loop tape in the back. The dress and the bride looked beautiful and it fit perfectly and didn’t budge while she danced all night.
After the dress was completed I made her a little purse using the same fabrics to carry any small items she made have needed.
corselette with steel boning, waist stay, hook and eye closure ready for install
Duchess satin and lace
final muslin pieces marked and ready for fashion fabric
layers hand basted together with silk thread