Lissa’s Wedding Dress
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a hell of a year, for all of us. One of the highlights to come out of this year however, was that I sewed the most beautiful thing of my entire life. More beautiful than my own wedding dress, more beautiful than any dress I’ve ever imagined. It’s the sewing love child of my good friend Lissa, a natural born artist herself, and myself, the creative talent that can wield a needle and thread.
I will break this up into a few different parts to make for easy reading, but see the other posts for details!
Before I get into the technical details of the dress, you might be asking yourself, why in the world would someone volunteer to make someone else’s wedding dress? Especially after sewing your own and telling your husband to not let you sew another wedding dress ever again! Isn’t that possibly the most stressful, intense, high pressure thing you could sew? Why yes, yes it is. But it’s also the most rewarding.
When Lissa and Jimmy announced their engagement, I knew in my gut that I couldn’t see her be married in anything less than perfect. I had already seen one friend be married in a $99 David’s Bridal dress. It still pains me that I didn’t involve myself more and give them something so much more unique and reflective of their personality. So when a mutual coworker, half in jest, mentioned that I should make Lissa’s wedding dress, I said, yes that’s a discussion we will need to have! Because I want to!
I have never sewn something so important for anyone before. Luckily, Lissa and I close, and we’re both laid-back people that were willing to be candid with each other. I truly do not think I would be able to commit to such a endeavor with many people.
We discussed the guidelines and expectations, the possible price point that the dress would eventually reach depending on fabric choices, as well as our comfort level with engaging on this potentially risky venture. She put an enormous amount of trust in me, and I in her, to collaborate on her dress. But we were both committed.
I came home that night, abashed to admit to my husband that I volunteered to make Lissa’s wedding dress. He shook his head and said, I thought you said you’d never make another wedding dress again. Well, here I am, planning to make one!
The first part of our planning was trying to figure out what we wanted to create. As I said, Lissa is a creative individual herself and I knew she’d have some ideas of what she wanted. To organize our ideas, we made a shared Pinterest board to discuss and give feedback on what would be possible, easiest, or least expensive to make. We decided that there would be a lace bodice, long sleeves, an open back, and a slim, sexy silhouette. We floated the idea of big, bohemian bell sleeves and a chiffon layered skirt, but ultimately decided to let the choice of venue (the beautiful Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden) guide the design of the dress. The dress was to be elegant, sophisticated, sexy, and yet dreamy.
The most difficult decision Lissa made was choosing the lace. Us seamstresses know the cost of good materials, but when you’re thrown into it, it can be overwhelming! She went into it wanting something floral, but found inspiration elsewhere. Ultimately she fell in love with an art deco inspired, embroidered and sequined tulle lace that had the most incredible design. I believe this lace helped us to solidify the rest of the design choices for the dress. It was just so stunning, we wanted it to shine as the main focal point.
For the bodice, we decided on slim sleeves with buttons up the wrist. For the silk neckline underneath the lace, we ended up going with the beautiful, elegantly curved neckline of Vogue V8814. The pattern for the bodice and armscye were from Vogue V1428, and the back was drawn on the muslin. We literally made the muslin and I drew the line for the back V!
Lissa loved the shape of the skirt on my wedding dress, so we decided on doing the same thing. Bias cut silk charmeuse, layered over bias cut crepe de chine, using Butterick B5710 as the pattern again. It’s soft, sexy, and screams elegant. She threw a challenge at me though, laying this gorgeous, directional lace over the silk to have a full lace skirt. It was a puzzle for me to solve, and I spent too many hours to count daydreaming of a possible solution to execute it well.
The silk was the same silk I ultimately used in my own wedding dress, which warms my heart in a way I didn’t expect. Lissa had ordered multiple color samples to see what would work best with the lace, but independently came to the same conclusion that Winter Wheat is truly the best neutral, off-white wedding dress color!
And so, we had a game plan. We knew what shape we wanted to acheive, the materials that we would be using, and a timeline. Up next, was the muslin to test out the fit. Follow along to the next post to see how that went!