Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Operation Wedding Dress - Stage 2

After a month or so of constant Pinteresting... Step two of Operation Wedding dress was to decide on the design and pattern of my dress by going dress shopping.
I've known for a couple of years that i'd like a short 50's style wedding dress. I love the fitted waist but big skirt style of the era, and I know its something that suits me. I was also fairly adamant I didn't want a strapless dress and thought that i'd go for a boatneck style, or something with sleeves. But everyone of my friends who is getting married said 'you never end up with what you thought you wanted' ...and I was surprised by some of the things I discovered!
The main aims for wedding dress shopping were...
To check a shorter dress would work on my figure
To convince my mum that it should be a short dress
To take a sneaky peak at how some of the dresses are constructed...i.e lace overlays etc.

And here's a few picks of me pulling funny faces in some of the dresses at the last shop...(none of these were my favourite...)

I chose 3 wedding dress shops, one independent British designer specializing in 50s and 60s gowns, one standard bridal shop, and another (cheaper) shop with only short dresses. Whilst I didn't get the 'suck-in-breath' 'WOW' reactions you often see on 'Say Yes to the Dress', by far the best reaction to a dress from me and my Mum and sister was one of the first I tried on in the independent designer, Candy Anthony. Any doubts I had about a short dress were well and truly blown away, and the surprise winner of the day?.... polka dots.
Their service was amazing, it was the only place I was actually given (honest) advice on what they thought suited me and their dresses are SO PRETTY. If I change my mind tomorrow about making my dress I wouldn't hesitate to get my favourite dress there (not to mention the fact it'd be made in the UK rather than a Chinese factory...)
I did try on a series of longer dresses at the next shop, but whilst they were beautiful and some even suited me just fine, they didn't feel very me. I know it's the biggest day of your life and the one day most people want to be dressed as they never have before; but I felt strongly that I wanted something I could dance in. And that wasn't too far removed from the sort of dress I usually wear. A huge dress you have to lift up to walk and a train several feet behind you, just isn't my bag. Besides given I'd like to get some photos taken in a field, and it's me, the chances of a dress being covered in cow pat and cake by end of the day seemed much higher if there was much more of it.
But don't worry, that's not to say there won't be plenty of pouffe in my dress. I discovered I liked a full skirt with a big petticoat underneath, the bigger the better. I also found that whilst I liked boatneck style dresses, it didn't feel 'weddingy' enough to have a dress that was mostly a white version of what is in my wardrobe. So the winner was a strapless silk tea-length dress with a full petticoat underneath, with an overlaid dress that had scallop edge polka dot on the bodice with cap sleeves and plain tulle for the circle skirt. The plan is to try and recreate that!
Originally when I thought i'd make a boatneck style, I was planning on using Vogue 8729 and shortening it. However now I've decided the base dress will be strapless, I intend to use Simplicity 4070, perhaps switching the skirt for a circle one. The overlay dress will be a circle skirt, and the bodice I think I'll attempt to draft myself.

I've looked at buying a petticoat, but they tend to cost so much that I think if there's time i'll make my own. There's a few great tutorials out there... this one in particular, and I'm going to make a practice one in a few weeks to go under my Betty dress for a wedding.

So stay tuned for the next wedding dress post... which will finally have some actual sewing in it!

Emily Kate.


  1. They are really pretty, especially the polka dot one, good luck with making the dress! I'm in exactly the same position (minus the making of the dress), and I hope my mom's resistance to the short 50s dress will go away once she sees me in it. I was thinking of getting a petticoat from here (http://dorisdesigns.co.uk/), which is still pricey but I like the idea of it not being tulle.

  2. That polka dot lace is fabulous. I really like the style you have chosen too. It definitely suits you. Good luck!


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