Wedding Dress Sewing: The Murky Middle

Date: March, 5 months until the wedding

By now you have sat through posts about planning, fitting, and starting my wedding dress - of course there had to be a murky middle! At work when I'm helping clients through a planning process, I consider the "murky middle" of a project to be that part where they're well on their way into something, but the end is not yet in sight. And because things aren't fully formed yet, it all starts to look like an awful mess. Self-doubt creeps in, you are frustrated with your mistakes, and you're not sure you're going to reach your goal. After a month of sewing, that's how my wedding dress felt for me.

Part of the problem is that I am a lover of pants. And t-shirts. And casual, easy, every-day clothes. Before this big experiment, I had never sewn anything with couture techniques and I was starting to feel it. It was hard to know when to hand-tack my seams and when that would distort the shape of the garment. It was hard to figure out how to keep the yards and yards of silk clean and neatly pressed as I ran them through my sewing machine and stored them in my small apartment. It was hard to figure out how to finish the embroidered, beaded mesh, which was so fragile in some areas and so stiff and substantial where it had been embroidered. And at one point, when I tried it on mid-way, it just looked limp and uninspiring.


Pictured from left to right: the second muslin, the fourth muslin, the murky middle, and ?? that lies ahead.

I'm not writing all this just to complain, but to document for others who may be sewing their wedding dress that this is part of the process, and it is OK. Before the hem tape was sewn on and I figured out how to finish off the tricky bits and press and clean the train, things weren't quite there yet. And that's just how it's going to look in the middle of the project. You will be frustrated by new challenges, wonder if you're up for the task, and generally doubt yourself. But push through. Because once all those finishing touches are on, it really will start to look amazing.

Some in-progress photos:

Boning channels and steel boning - which was easier to work with and cheaper than I thought!

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Bust cups - I discovered when I made my other dress that it's still good to have some sort of nipple protection, even with bust cups. This dress is very sturdy and can cause chaffing!

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Special touches (fun fact: Mr. Made originally thought I had stitched this to the outside of the dress).

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I re-sewed the front bodice three times with different interlinings and degrees of accuracy, and I still think it looks a bit puckered!



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Figuring out the best finish for the embroidered, beaded tulle. And yes, this was on the ACTUAL bodice piece - even after making samples I didn't get it quite right!

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Everything was unraveling all the time.

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This is what your sewing area looks like when it's being taken over by a big white dress.

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Things got busy, and messy!

Up next: the finished dress! But first, a break for bridesmaids dresses, a dog tuxedo, and some other wedding sewing... 

3 comments:

  1. this is a great series and it is looking so good. And I know exactly what you mean about the murky middle. I find that it is the 80% done mark that gets to me, when a project is so close but those last few steps feel like walking through cement.

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  2. woohooooooo! This is such an undertaking but so exciting. Can't wait to see the finished dress.

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  3. This is looking really great. I can't wait to see the dress finished with that beautiful tulle.

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