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Learning Laboratory: Wedding dress


Ten years ago today, Mike and I got married. I made my wedding dress, and have promised a couple times to post pictures. Here goes!

I don’t know if you can tell from these old photos, but the dress has a petticoat made out of ten yards(!) of fabric underneath. I spent a couple of days stitching and gathering all that fabric! We were on a pretty tight budget, and ten yards of $1/yard cotton were a lot cheaper than a hoop skirt! It made the dress look nicer, and much more fun to dance in! The cotton was heavier than, say, tulle, but cheaper and more breathable to wear on a hot day!

Dancing at our wedding

I’m not an amazing seamstress, so the dress was designed in part to work around that fact. The dress is three parts (four, counting the petticoat). The main part is nearly all linen (with lace overlay on the sleeves), based off of a princess seams dress pattern my mom and I had played with when I was in high school until it fit me pretty well. I wore a bunch of dresses based off of that pattern throughout college! I changed the pattern to make the neckline into a peasant top-type design. Then I made an overskirt out of French lace, and a satin lace-up bodice went over the top. The scariest part of the entire project was putting eyelets into the bodice so it would lace up – I didn’t have any fabric left to repair mistakes, and it wasn’t something I had tried before. Luckily it worked!

eating wedding cake

Here you can see the lace on the sleeves. I have a thing for formal dresses with long sleeves, so my wedding dress had to have long sleeves, even in the middle of June. I put lace on the sleeves partly because I liked the look, but also to disguise the fact that I hadn’t (still haven’t) worked out how to get sleeves to consistently look the way I want them to. Surprisingly, the dress wasn’t too warm – a fact I attribute to its being made out of cotton and linen, as well as the fact that it was all white. Mike was much less comfortable in his black polyester rented tux!

The collar has decorative edging, which Mike actually sewed on with tiny neat stitches. He knew I wasn’t (am not) a perfectionist, and wanted that bit to be just right!

I bought materials to make a veil, but gave up. Instead, I found my veil in the back of a card shop, right next to the grocery store where we bought our wedding cake! Being my nostalgic self, I hung onto them, and they finally came in handy last year, when they were turned into a veil for a dear friend’s wedding!

Happy Anniversary, Mike! Thanks for being my best friend for the past almost-13 years, and the best husband ever for the past ten years!

learning laboratory at mama smiles

I’m also sharing this post at A Crafty Soiree and Make It, Wear It

Do you have a memorable learning experience? Or, what creative learning has been going on in your home lately?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

25 thoughts on “Learning Laboratory: Wedding dress”

  1. You are beautiful, and your dress is beautiful too! I love that Mike sewed your collar on, one of the things I remember about my wedding was all my aunts helping me to hem my dress the night before my wedding – because it wasn’t done yet!

    1. We spent my sister’s wedding morning fixing her dress (made by someone else), and it’s a favorite memory of mine from her wedding!

  2. Happy Anniversary, Mary Anne!!

    This is a beautiful post. I loved reading the special story behind your dress, and the fact that Mike helped makes (him) and the dress even more special. Your dress is beautiful!!

  3. I have a funny wedding dress catastrophe that convinced me NOT to make my own wedding dress. (Although I am a very good seamstress.) A friend called me on Thursday to “get a little help finishing her wedding dress” for her Saturday wedding. I went to her house on Friday after school and before work. Her dress was not even cut out! The first thing I did was get everyone organized. Then we got busy cutting and eventually sewing. I came back after working my shift at the copy store and stayed until about 3 am. I had to work again on Saturday morning. She and her other friends finished the dress right before her noon wedding. I applaud you for making your own dress, and for making such a lovely dress too! Thanks for sharing!

    1. What a story!!! Your friend was very lucky to have you around to make her last minute wedding dress!

  4. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    Once again you impress me! I cannot sew. However, my talented sister Jennifer sewed my wedding dress. I think it cost about $45.00 for the dress and the veil! We just celebrated year 23, but we were just babies when we married. :)

    Happy Anniversary! Your dress is beautiful and so special that you made it yourself.

  5. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you made your own dress!!! What a wonderful way to really have the ultimate personalized keepsake from your special day. You are radiant and beautiful, what a lovely way to start out thirteen and many more years of wedding bliss.

  6. Elisa | blissfulE

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I bet that skirt was so fun and swishy to dance in!!

    Congratulations on ten years!!!!!! May you be blessed with many many more years of friendship and love!

  7. Beautiful dress & bride! You are so talented! Congrats to you & Mike on 10 happy years of marital bliss! =)

  8. Happy anniversary. We also just celebrated ours – 5 years since we’ve been married. Your dress looks fantastic, what a special story behind it too!

  9. congratulations on 10 years! That is just the loveliest dress and sweet story to go with it. I hope you kept the dress!

  10. Two Chicks and a Hen

    This was such a nice post. I love that you made your dress, and the part about Mike stitching the collar is so sweet.

  11. Your wedding dress is all the more special because you made it! What wonderful memories. Happy Anniversary!

    I was lucky enough to wear my grandmother’s wedding dress (my mom also wore it.) It had long sleeves, too, and so because of the dress I decided to have a fall wedding.

  12. Happy 10 year anniversary, Sweetie! You are the most beautiful bride ever! It has been wonderful being married to you.

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