The wedding dress saga

I dislike the frills and lace and bling of ready-to-wear wedding dresses. And the forced mermaid-or-princess-or-bohemian looks. If I’m to be an old bride, at least with some dignity…I hope. Designing my own is the only option! Yippeee!


Instant crush on Dessy’s Lela Rose 177! Elegant, simple, a bit sexy, perfect! Alas only available in polyester. I already imagine it clinging to my nervous damp skin on a hot day. Could I try to copy it, in a natural (cotton/bamboo/silk) fabric? No similar pattern to be found anywhere, not even at Marfy. So I stumble, step-by-step:

Prototype 1. Lekala 4400 to test the almost-off-the shoulder. So far so good.

Prototype 2. Cotton satin: first draping then cutting: bulky heavy blah!

Prototype 3 white cotton satin: first cutting the neck, then draping. Not bad, but the cotton is still stiff, and drapes like a bath towel and Prototype 4 a cheap green polyester lining, lined with a thin cotton bedsheet (getting desperate here): it’s better, but still not quite it. Getting really desperate.

So off I go to consult my own Tim Gunn, aka the fiancé. I show him the photo of original by Lela Rose, and NOT my weird toga. His candid reply: “It looks like it’s about to fall off the shoulders! And those curtain folds on the hip are weird. It’s alright but it’s definitely not a wedding dress.” Aouch. There goes my idea of stunning him with a wow dress on the big day. So I ask what would be a pretty wedding dress in his eyes. “Something like this” and he sketches the cutest, cliché wedding dress. Thin waist, wide ballgown skirt. Princess Sissi…

Complete change of tack, because through the horrors of a princess Sofia  dress, I can envision a classy 1960’s dress, with a touch of Rosa Clara, but less bombastic.


Weeks and weeks of pattern hunting bring me to StudioMariLaura on Etsy with this lovely pattern, McCall’s 7076. Also my mom is on a quick visit, we go into Brussels and she buys me 5 meters of beautiful silk! ♥


Prototype 5: McCall’s 7076 in cotton (short version > bonus summer dress). Not bad, but the bust has fit issues, and the stitched skirt pleats are too flat. Beautiful silk in mind. Also the opening of back is a bit too high/small, compared to the illustration.


Prototype 6: June dress by La Maison Victor from old cotton satin curtains. The bust fits better. But the waist is much too high, and the skirt folds too boxy. The neck line is too high too.


After some meticulous blending and adaptation of the patterns: Prototype 7. From a cheap cotton bed sheet. Almost there! Just wondering if the skirt part would look better not cut in the bias, and less circular a pattern.prototype.jpgPrototype 8, same but with a rectangular-cut skirt, on the grain. No, bum looks weird. Let’s stick with prototype 7.

prototype2.jpgSo off I went with my 5m of silk to Elena Couture, a friendly and patient seamstress in our village. I outsourced the actual sewing of the Dress. I would have botched the pretty silk with bad choice of needles and tension and such. She did a marvellous job!!!

The happy ending of the saga:


DSC_0070e.jpgDSC_0110b.jpgLink to the post about sewing the children’s outfits.


…and as we leave, the flash from the camera is reflected on the amazing pearlescent silk!




  1. Rikke

    Wow! Had no idea the process was THAT long…the end result is beautiful. R X

  2. Aw, I love a happy ending ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ well done, I admire your determination. Hope your day was as amazing as you both look 😃

  3. Wow such dedication. Congratulations on getting married in a fabulous perfect dress

  4. Absolutely beautiful -well done for persevering, adn congratulations!

  5. You look amazing in the dress!!!! So inspiring to see you go through so many versions. Prototype 7 itself was already great. Can you wear it around as a summer dress if you shorten or dye it or even just leave as is? Congrats on getting married 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind comment. Great idea to use prototype 7, I hadn’t thought of that. I was thinking of altering the wedding dress for future use… but P7 makes much more sense! Mmmm… shorter + dyed, or with embroidered/painted flowers… or maybe even a colourful petticoat… thanks again for the idea.

  6. This turned out SO beautifully!! I love the simple design you chose and the fabric just looks so luscious. Lovely job! Are your prior attempts wearable? Because they look really nice too!

    • Wow your compliment means a lot to me 🙂 Half of the other attempts are wearable (when hemmed)… some are a bit tame and need some painting or embroidering.

  7. Lovely. I agree with all the above comments.
    I designed and made my daughter’s wedding dress in silk (first time I’d used it) – wedding was in June – and went through so many prototypes that I lost count! I outsourced the bridesmaid dresses, which we had designed, as I ran out of time.
    The bottom of the dress is so muddy that I haven’t managed to get it clean to reuse the dress
    Have a look at my blog if you’d like to.

  8. Pingback: Ringbearer and flowergirl: the cutest outfits | atelier in the attic

  9. Pingback: Vintage Pattern Swap? | atelier in the attic

  10. Annina ! Je trouwjurk staat in de meest recente editie van La Maison Victor ! Gauw naar de krantenwinkel !

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