Roxanne will be marrying Nathan on March 31st 2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Click here to read all Roxanne’s planning posts to date.
THREE FACTS: Roxanne and Nathan met in summer 2010 at a Jewish summer camp in Missouri. (2) They are having a DIY wedding and Roxanne is toying with the idea of designing and sewing her own wedding dress as she has a background in sewing and historical fashion design (3) Roxanne is converting to Judaism and the couple are planning a traditional Jewish wedding.
Like My Mom and Grandmother
When I was younger, all I imagined from a wedding dress, was the wear the dress my mom and grandmother wore. My grandmother was married in October 21st 1953 and, having been a fashion student in college, had a very en vogue dress. A lovely ice-y blue silk, with lace sleeve, a lace overlay, and covered buttons up the front. It is a dress that rivals Grace Kelly’s. My grandmother wore the skirt poofy, and a Juliet cap.
Twenty years later, in 1983, when my parents got married, my mom wore the same dress. She could not wear a crinoline, as she is taller than my grandmother, so she wore a band of flowers in her hair, for a vintage backyard wedding look.
One dress, two completely different looks.
As I grew up, I realized fairly quickly, it was unlikely I could wear their dress. I am a good 10 inches larger in the waist, and a solid 7+ inches shorter. I did not have the heart to wear it, knowing it would look so different.
A Vintage Style
I always knew I wanted something vintage in style, more so than most people. I also knew that no one would be able to make my dress exactly the way I envisioned it. So, I embarked on a crazy decision: I was going to make my own wedding dress!
I have been sewing for over 15 years, majored in costume design in college, and have done freelance work, so I am fairly confident I can do it. As long as I don’t wait until the last few months, I will be fine.
After making the decision to make my dress, it stands to reason that my next step would be to design my dress, right? Wrong! I got a little ahead of myself and promptly started looking at vintage dresses on ebay, with the intent of altering one to fit me. I again got ahead of myself and managed to win bidding on two dresses.
One a very wounded 1940s dress, that is perfectly imperfect. The bodice satin, the skirt a torn up netting, and the underskirt is what I believe is WWII parachute silk (A fairly common practice was for soldiers to bring home their parachutes for their future brides to use as silk, since silk was impossible to get during WWII). This dress I promptly took a seam ripper to when I got it, because it was no more than maybe 22-24 inches in the waist.
The second dress I bought was a lovely 1950s, crisp white dress. It looks like Cinderella’s wedding dress — that had been minorly altered in the 1980s. As lovely as this dress was, I knew it would not work for me as it was, but I put off cutting into it for about a month!
Sketching during the night
I have always been a night owl, and my peak creativity has always been between 11PM and 4AM, as you will see from when I got most of my planning done!
I was playing around with sketching one night, likely watching Mr. Selfridge, Downtown Abbey, or the like. Suddenly it came to me, and I started furiously sketching, and than there it was. What I wanted my dress to look like.
It took me a couple of times to get the sketch to passable appearance, but I am pretty happy!
The design itself is roughly based on dresses from 1908-1913, taking dress features from those years that I like.
After coming up with basic design, I got into seam ripping the 1950s dress. This turned into quite the experience due to some tuff appliques. I will not be using the bodice from that dress at all, but will be utilizing the skirt, underskirt, trim, and appliques.
So basically this will be a Frankenstein dress, using vintage dresses, to make an even older looking dress! Sounds about right for me. As of right now, all the deconstructed pieces are sitting together in a box in my closet, but here is the full rundown, for right now at least.
- Skirt from 1950s dress
- Bodice from 1950s underskirt
- Skirt trim from victorian petticoat
- Sash from 1950s dress fabric
- Undersleeves and dress front detailing from turn of 20th century blouse
- Rosette at waist from 1940s dress bodice
- Sash tails from 1940s dress ( either underskirt or overskirt)
- Oversleeves from either 1940s dress fabric, or 1950s fabric)
A good portion of the construction will be waiting until I get a dress form in my size next month, but I will certainly give an update once the dress is further along.
Since I am not using a pattern, just draping my fabric, I need to wait until that dress form comes. Other than that, having just moved from TX to NC last month, wedding planning was back burnered. But, we will be confirming our venue next month, and hopefully locking down a caterer soon after. I showed Nathan the venue for the first time a few days ago, and he LOVED it! And though hot right now, the flowers outside looked amazing!
Click here to read all Roxanne’s planning posts to date.
Roxanne & Nathan’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Venue – Borden Building