A Very Nerdy Wedding Dress

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Photographer Credits: Simply in Love Photography

Completed: December 2017

Accessories: 

Hair and Makeup: Cocoa Beach Spa

Patterns Used: 

How I Made it: 

A huge moment in any person’s life is their wedding. When my now husband proposed a little over a year ago, one of my toughest early decisions was whether or not to make my own wedding dress. I had a fairly specific vision in mind, but I also know myself and knew that I’d likely paralyze myself with indecision.

2017 was also an incredibly difficult year for me creatively, so when it came time to buckle down and really work on wedding planning, I decided to take the easier path and purchase a dress. I located a wedding dress maker on Etsy who had a design fairly similar to the dress I wanted for a rather reasonable price. I scoured her reviews and found nothing but good feedback, so I pulled the trigger, sent her my money and measurements, and let her do her thing. Or so I thought.

Around Thanksgiving 2017, I was going over my wedding checklist and realized I hadn’t heard anything from my dressmaker since I placed my order. I’ve had my fair share of experience with lackluster cosplay commissions (and fixing said situations for other people), so I reached out for a follow-up. My requested delivery date came and went with no response. I reached out again and realized that my dress hadn’t even been started. The dressmaker was apologetic and swore up and down I’d have my dress for the wedding, but I started preparing for the worst by gathering up materials and setting aside patterns. The dress I purchased arrived about two weeks before my wedding day and it was… bad. The fit was bad, there was no boning to be found, and the bodice didn’t appear to have any interfacing in it. Nearly all of my custom requests were forgotten as well. Thankfully the seller was quick to refund the money, but I found myself in a really tight spot: barely fifteen days until my wedding (even less until we had to fly out to Florida) and no wedding dress to show. So I cleared off my craft table and got to work.

Let’s move forward to the actual construction of this dress. I didn’t have a lot of time to second guess myself with barely 2 weeks to construct the dress, so I defaulted to the design I had in mind for ages: a Cambie style bodice with a super full skirt and a chiffon overlay.

Again, since I didn’t have a lot of time to second guess myself, I went with fabric my friends offered me from their fabric stashes (I seriously have the best friends in Cosmic Coterie <3) or stuff I could find at my local Jo-Ann’s. The base fabric was white casa satin and the chiffon overlay was also white from the casa line. My interlining layer was unbleached cotton coutil I ordered from Richard the Thread for some of my corsets this year. The lining of the bodice was the stained glass fabric cotton from Jo-Ann’s, and my skirt lining was a soft lilac Casa satin.

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This bodice lining makes me so happy.
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Skirt lining!

After making a quick mock-up of the bodice using Simplicity 1606 as a guide, I dove straight into this build. The bodice came together fairly quickly. For the fashion layer, I underlined the interfaced satin pieces to the chiffon and serged all the edges prior to sewing.

The back portion of the bodice was a little trickier. The chiffon layer is free-floating, but since I still needed to finish the edges of the neckline and the sleeves, I did a double layer of chiffon with French seams all around. The back of the bodice connects to the lining at the top, and then the sides connect to the front with a standard straight seam.

This gave me a tricky challenge I didn’t initially account for: the back bodice of the Cambie wasn’t quite designed for what I had in mind, and the arm hole was about a half inch too high. to fix this situation, I carefully trimmed down the arm hole, finished it with a zig-zag stitch, and covered the edges with a cute rose and faux pearl trim I found at Jo-Ann’s. I opted to put the zipper in the side since I wanted a clean and clear view of my back for photos.

For the interlining layer, I added German plastic boning to all the seams as well as the center front and center back. To keep life somewhat simple for myself, I used some spare grosgrain ribbon I had on hand to create the boning channels.

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Whomp whomp. Didn’t work quite how I hoped.

The skirts were… interesting. For the lining layer, I drafted a half circle skirt to prevent potential wardrobe malfunctions on the beach. This layer was originally an aqua blue (one of my wedding colors), but the blue was too visible under the white. I instead went with a soft lilac (my other wedding color), which was perfect.

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When your seam matching is on point!

The white satin layer was a full circle skirt, and the chiffon layer was a gathered double circle skirt. I finished the lining and interlining layers with half inch horsehair braid and the chiffon layer with a rolled hem on my serger.

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We’re not going to talk about how many times I went over this hem.

One of the final touches on my dress was a belt and butt bow. I wanted to incorporate the lovely lilac fabric Koholint gave me, and I also decided to add a butt bow at the last minute. I adore the slim jabot tails NyuNyu cosplay came up with for her Super Mercury, so I drafted up a set of my own for my dress. And because it was for my wedding, I decided to hotfix 300+ Swarovski crystals to it. Because bling.

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Patterning out the tails.
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Bling.
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Even more bling!

The final pieces I made to accompany my dress were a matching bow clutch (the lining is scraps from the Beauty and the Beast stained glass fabric) and a lovely satin stole made from dress remnants. While the weather during the wedding was incredible at a perfect 70 degrees, a cold front came in as soon as the sun set. I was quite grateful to have something to keep me warm!

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Thoughts on this dress:

The stress of knocking out this dress two weeks before the wedding was hell. There’s absolutely no question about that. I’ll admit to several tearful breakdowns, a panic attack, and stress-induced vomiting during that time period. It wasn’t pretty.

This experience was also a great reminder for me on handling commissions. The way the whole situation was handled with my original dress was horrid, and it reaffirmed my desire to provide the best customer experience possible for my clients.

But at the end of the day, I have a sentimental story to share about this dress, and I’m far happier with it than I ever would have been about the dress I originally purchased.

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Selfie with our wedding guests!

Have you made your own wedding dress? What was  your experience like? 

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Sewaholic Davie

~Quick announcement!~: Cosplay geeks, Humble Bumble has an exciting book offer for us this month! Get up to $142 worth of craft-friendly digital books for as low as $15. There are tons of great topics in here, including foam smith books from Volpin Props and Punished Props along with Kamui’s prop making books. I’m especially excited to check out the wearable electronics and 3d priting books! And as an awesome added bonus: proceeds go to the charity of your choice! Check it out here (no, I’m not getting sponsored. I’m just an education junkie, lol).

Happy Friday! If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I was in the Caribbean on a cruise last week. My beau/now fiance(!) and I have been planning this trip since early in the year, and it was a much needed break after the insanity of the early fall semester.

I had grand plans to take the month after A-Fest off and make a bunch of new non-cosplay garments for the cruise, but alas, I didn’t quite live up to my grand expectations. Still, I managed to pack several me-made garments on the trip, including one of my backlog patterns: the Sewaholic Davie!

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I’ve been eyeballing this pattern since it came out back in March. Everything about this pattern appeals to me: the knit design, the A-line skirt, the princess seams, and the minimal number of seams. Nothing about this pattern is complicated, but it’s super cute and very flattering! I’m pretty sure that it took me longer to print and assemble this pattern than it did to complete the FBA and sew the whole thing.

Aside from the FBA, the only change I made to this pattern was making the front portion of the sleeve black. I thought the color blocking went up to the shoulder, but it doesn’t. Herp derp. I thought the grey blocking this way would look more flattering on me, even though I tend to wear most of my dresses with cardigans.

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Since this is essentially a wearable muslin, I opted to skip the topstitching and keyhole. I’m not really a fan of the keyhole on this design, but it’s easy enough to eliminate by just stitching straight up the seam. Alternatively, you could cut the center piece on the fold.

The Basics: 

Pattern: Sewaholic Davie

Fabric: Mystery reversible scuba knit. I honestly can’t remember where I got this from.

Alterations:

  • Added 1.75″ FBA
  • Altered front to have black sleeve
  • Added 2″ length

Notions: Clear elastic, purchased bias tape

Make it again?: Absolutely! I’d love to make every variation of this dress for fun and work, and maybe even make some nerdy versions. A Rogue-themed yellow and green number would be perfect for casual con days!

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Favorite parts: A-line shape, speedy to make, and easy to wear!

Changes for next time: I definitely fudged a few details with this make since I kind of wanted a palate cleanser project after A-Fest. For next time, I’ll need to raise the arm hole about an inch, possibly more. I think the FBA lowered this more than I realized. I’d also like to tweak the arm hole finish for next time. I might finish it off with bias tape like the neckline and see how I like it. I wasn’t happy with just folding down the edge. It looks messy to me. I also need to make a swayback adjustment.

Other thoughts: All in all, this was a very fun (and fast) make! I’ve worn it a few times since finishing it up, and I’ve gotten several compliments on it. This one is definitely going into my tried and true collection, and I’m hoping to knock out a small collection of them in the near future! Who knows? Maybe this will be my new Cambie 😉

What’s your favorite tried and true pattern? 

Totoro Kigurumi

New year, new makes! I actually finished this make at the very, very end of 2015. I think I finished it 2 days before Christmas, and that was with the intent of wearing it to (what I thought would be) a cold Christmas with the beau’s family.

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So why an adult size onesie? Well, I never had any intention of owning one, but several of my cosplay friends have been snagging them lately, and they just looked so darn warm and cozy. I thought it’d be nice to have one in my costume rotation for late-night convention shennanigans!

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I debated what kind of kigu I wanted to make for quite a while and ultimately decided on Totoro. He’s one of my favorite Miyazaki characters, and what says kigurumi better than a giant teddy-bear like creature?

The Basics: 

Pattern: McCall’s M6251

Fabric: Anti-pill fleece and felt scraps

Alterations:

  • Aesthetic changes (stomach and applique work)
  • Added about 4 inches of length in the pants
  • Ditched the cuffs for elastic bands
  • Added a hood (snagged from the Avacado Hoodie pattern)
  • Added pockets
  • Invisible front zipper
  • Added “paws”
  • Added a tail

Notions: Zippers, double-sided fusible web, elastic

Make it again?: For sure! In the future, I’ll add just a bit more length for myself and add extra length for the arms.

Favorite parts: As I was planning this, I paid close attention to the things my friends loved (and hated) about their kigus so I could make a killer one. My first major addition to my kigu was giant pockets. I snagged an inseam pocket pattern piece from an old pattern and blew it up to twice its size. Of course, I didn’t want my pockets to gape open, so I attached my pockets with invisible zippers so I could close them. Lots of storage and no need for a purse! The zipper tape also acts as a nice stabilizer.

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For my hood, I slashed and spread the Avacado pattern piece so that I could have a super drapey hood. This part was super cozy. I spent a lot of post-turkey time curled up on the couch with basically my entire face covered by Totoro’s. I took the same pattern piece and cut out a second set to act as a lining. I drafted  the ears and facial appliques by more or less eyeballing them and sketching them out on paper.

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I originally planned to do buttons on the front of the kigu, but I mucked up when I started attaching appliques and didn’t leave enough room for the facing and button holes. Rather than seam rip all my appliques, I decided to just add an invisible zipper. Turns out, I like the look a bit better than kigus with buttons. There’s no need to worry about gaping!

Pro-tip on working with appliques: either use basting spray or double sided fusible web to add your designs. It’ll save SOOOOOOO much sanity.

Other Thoughts: This was such a cozy and relaxing project. I think it took me somewhere around 10 hours, but that was mostly because I satin-stitched EVERYTHING. I think I’ll just edgestich in the future to save time. After the insanity of Lulu, it was nice to work on a project that didn’t require much in the way of tailoring (or contact cement fumes).

The one thing I regret about this projects was the arm length. The sleeves are just barely long enough for me, and since I ditched the cuffs, they’re a tiny bit too short. I plan to go back and added an extra band to the bottom of the sleeves, which works out well since I need to stitch on the “paws” anyway.

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Do you have a kigurumi? If not, would you wear one?