The whole thing started when I tried on a wedding dress in a bridal shop. I liked it a lot, but it was not comfortable, I don't like polyester and I was afraid of the embroidered tulle train. Besides that, it seemed to be "not me". The seller tried to hurry and made a lot of pressure, as it was the last piece. But I needed more time to think about, and I was not really sure about it, so a real odyssey on the search of the perfect dress began.
I don't know how many gowns I tried on. And I guess I lost a lot of weight trying them on. Wish I could repeat it, it was an entirely comfortable way of losing weight... In my head I had the picture of my wedding gown I once had seen in a Vogue pattern book in the early 90s, but no dress came close to that somehow blurry picture. It had to be something completely different that was available in all those posh shops. In the end, I was so desperate that I started to search the internet for Vogue wedding gown patterns, hoping to find the ONE pattern I thought I had in my mind. Of course it was a hopeless quest...
But I found something else instead: pages and pages with the most beautiful vintage patterns from the 30s, 40s and 50s - and they all were much closer to what I had in mind than any dress I had tried on before. I fell in love with this vintage Givenchy pattern so much, but the only copy I found was too expensive. The fact that Hubert Givenchy designed this dress for the unforgettable and outstanding Audrey Hepburn makes it a very searched after item for pattern collectors...
But I saw very soon that there are many very similar designs. So I bought some of these patterns and thought that each one of them, without sleeves and with some accessories, could make the perfect wedding gown for me. I soon realised that I would have to make it myself, as there are not so many professional seamstresses here in Switzerland, but I thought it would be possible. I had made some decently good fitting garments for me before, and I was confident to make it in time. My choice was this vintage pattern from about 1956, Butterick 7708. As many other patterns, I bought it on Etsy.
Finding the perfect fabric was sheer luck. There are only two fabric stores left in Zurich, and I was so lucky to find the most beautiful Duiponi silk in champagne colour. I love roses, so I knew already from the beginning that I would add some fabric rose accessories. I was lucky again that they had the same fabric in a shade of pink. I felt so happy when I came home with my big bag full of this wonderful silk. I love silk, and I love roses (did I mention it before?), and therefore I had to have roses on wedding gown!
First I made the ring-cushion, just to get an idea of the fabric, how it felt to work with this silk. Then I made some kind of moussline, a test-bodice from a cotton-fabric to make all necessary alterations. I don't tell you how many times I had to alter the pattern (I guess women in the 50s had different body measurements, and I have a rather small bust), how many times I had to change this and that, as I wanted the dress to be sleeve-less and with some boning added to the side of the bodice. You really don't want to know that I had to re-make the silk-bodice again as I made a terrible mistake when I cut it the first time... At a certain point my dear husband (DH) and me had some sleepless nights as it seemed my sewing-machine didn't work properly anymore, and we were afraid it was broken. I always was afraid to run out of fabric (I still have some left!), and of course, I always was afraid to run out of time. Of course, it's a nightmare for a bride to add such a project to all the other, regular wedding preparations. I had so many sleepless nights, and in those hours in my mind I was always trying to find the perfect solution for the boning, for the under-skirt, for the straps, for the fabric roses etc... I was mentally sewing, when I was at work in my office and even at night. And, in addition to all, we were expecting our little daughter (I was in the 2nd month of my pregnancy at the wedding). This was such a special time, and my DH and I still look back from time to time and lough about it - especially remembering all the many times when he had to assist and close the zipper of the almost finished bodice with his eyes closed...
|My dear friend Kunigunde with the finished gown|
Of course, at a certain point, he couldn't help me anymore, and I'm glad I had a dress-form. (Her name is, by the way, Kunigunde.) Of course, I put an awful lot of work and time and nerves in this dress, but the more the dress advanced, the more I enjoyed it. In the end, making a pompadour and the rose accessories was just like having a delicious desert. The roses were made after a Vogue pattern (Bridal accents V7009), as well as the ring-cushion. The pompadour was made after a pattern from a 90s Burda magazine, and, the day before the wedding, I even had to make a bolero, as the weather was not so good as expected.
I was so proud when I put my dress on on my wedding day, so proud. And so were my parents. You can't imagine the feeling, and it made me feel even more special on this special day. And my husband's smile and look when I entered the church - I was so happy, and it was worth all the labour and the fears and the troubles.
|Yes, I was already pregnant, but it's not the belly that shows it but my gesture. But nobody noticed... :-)|