Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Make a Wedding Dress for $100?

Making a wedding dress doesn't have to be this massive effort, nor does it have to be expensive. I did make a few minor changes to Fantasia (Sew Chic #9005) to make her into this bridal beauty, and with these few simple additions and substitutions, you can do the same! If you need to make pattern size adjustments, see my Pattern Resizing Tutorials, Part 1: Small to Large or Part 2: Large to Small and truly customize every inch of this once-in-a-lifetime dress!

The base fabric I used is a crisp nylon taffeta in a soft grayish mint color. The color is especially lovely under the white beaded lace with a bordered edge from JoAnn Fabrics (still available) from their Bridal Inspirations collection called "White Heather Bridal Mesh" for $24.95/yd. To get the yardage amount, I measured the pattern along all the edges I wanted trimmed with the lace border, and then divided that number in half  (because both edges of fabric have border).

The neckline front and back, the sleeve, and the hem are all trimmed with the border of this lace fabric. It was around 3.5 yards of fabric if I recall, so not too much.

You are thinking- but wait! the hem is curved, and that border is straight! I stayed with the curved hem with my base fabric but because lace doesn't fray and the grain is more forgiving, we are able to disregard all pattern grain lines and cut out the fabric in any way we need to. Here's how I do it:

Align the center of the curved edge of the pattern closest to the border, then extend the sides of the pattern to the end of the fabric. Just make sure your extension will be similar to the side it will sew to. You can see that this creates an angular hem once stitched together, which is beautiful, fast, and a carefree way to sew with straight edged lace. 

To trim the sleeve with lace, I substituted the normal cap sleeves with tulip sleeves, but instead of a curved edge, I gave it a straight edge.  Here's the link to my tulip sleeve tutorial http://www.sewchicpatterns.blogspot.com/2011/04/make-your-own-tulip-sleeve-tutorial.html 
Finish the sleeve edges and sew underarm of the base sleeve seam, then baste the lace over the top
Instead of the wide sash, we substituted a wide organza ribbon and simply hand sewed 3 beaded medallions to the front. This easy tie was in keeping with the delicate nature of the gown.

If you've never sewn with beaded lace, here's a few more tips that will help you:
  • Once you've cut out your pattern, remove all the beads and sequins along the seam allowance. 
  • Tack each bead strand to the mesh fabric and knot them individually or the beads will begin to fall off. 
  • After cutting out, baste your lace to the base fabric on the bodice only. 
  • Use a zipper foot to sew all seams.
  • After sewing, trim the seam allowance to less than 1/4".
  • I keep the two layers free at the sleeve and the skirt except for the front darts and at the zipper.
  • I sewed a wide bias of self fabric to the hem. This acted much like horsehair braid, but cost less.
  • Wear your dress with a petticoat if you want your skirt to be full at the bottom like ours is. 
 So what did I spend?

I found the taffeta (3.5 yards needed, but I bought a bit more) at Walmart in the $2 yard bin, which really helped to keep the cost down! (about $10)
The lace I bought with a 50% off coupon. ( about $45)
interfacing, zipper, spool of ribbon, thread (about $10)
Beaded medallions, also purchased on sale (about $15)
and the pattern ($18.95)
 TOTAL = $98.95

I bet you didn't know that a wedding dress could cost less that $100 and be so easy to make!
You can buy the Fantasia pattern at Sew Chic Patterns.com/Fantasia.html


  1. This comes exactly at the right time! I bought the Fantasia pattern with my wedding dress in mind. I plan on making it in a sky blue silk taffeta with an off-white lace overlay. The lace has a scalloped edge as well, so your estimate just saved me some headache...


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