Of all my DIY projects, my wedding gown was probably my most ambitious (and worrisome) project. After poring over wedding magazines and wedding websites online for months, I couldn’t find a wedding dress that I absolutely loved. There were certain parts of dresses that I liked, but they never seemed to appear all on the same dress! I decided then that I wanted to design my own wedding gown, and I set out for the Fashion District in Los Angeles to find my fabric. Armed with sketches of my gown and pages ripped from wedding magazines, I searched through dozens of stores in the Fashion District until I found the perfect French Alencon lace that I had been searching for.
French Alencon lace
I ended up using the lace for the top of my gown, which had a strapless, sweetheart neckline. And for the bottom of the gown, I envisioned a full ball gown with layers and layers of tulle that would float when I walked. I found a seamstress who I was able to work with to turn my girlish dreams of a princess wedding gown into a reality!
After taking my measurements, the seamstress cut out the lining and put together the bottommost layer of my dress. Here’s a pic of how it looked early on with just the lining:
After adjusting the lining and altering it to fit me perfectly, the seamstress started work on the top of the gown. Here’s a pic of how the top looked with the lace on top of a layer of white satin:
And after the top was altered to fit, she sewed it together with the lining and the bottom layers of tulle. It looks just about finished here except for the edges that need finishing, the zipper needed in back, and the bustle:
top and bottom
My first look at the finished product:
After my dress was handed over to me, I had to figure out how I was ever going to transport my very fragile, delicate, and not to mention, HUGE wedding gown to Boston. Should I take my chances at the gate and ask the flight attendants to hang it up for me? Would it even fit in the tiny first-class coat closet? What if they refused? What would I do with my dress then!? I didn’t want to check it in because it would get thrown around and possibly get lost. And I didn’t want to ship it because what if it got lost…or damaged!? Maybe I should just wear it onto the plane with me!?!?!?
In the end, I finally decided the safest way to bring my dress to Boston would be to stuff it into a carry-on suitcase and to keep it with me at all times. We (my bridesmaid Esther and I) managed to stuff my entire wedding gown into this tiny carry-on suitcase:
Ridiculous, right? It took a while for me to take it out of the suitcase and fluff it up again, but it arrived in one piece! :) Hooray! That wasn’t the end of the dress drama though. Now that the problem of transporting the dress had been taken care of, we then had to figure out where to hang the dress. It needed to be hung in a place where Dean couldn’t see it and somewhere that was high enough that it wouldn’t trail onto the ground. Since Dean had to potentially walk through the rooms of 4 of his different roommates to get to the bathroom, the only room left that Dean didn’t walk through was Eddie’s room. Thus, we ended up hanging my dress in Eddie’s room. Here’s Eddie, the official keeper of the wedding gown (and also a groomsman!):
Eddie was so sweet in putting up with a wedding gown hanging next to his head while he studied furiously all week for LSATS. Every time Dean walked by Eddie’s room or even came close to the door, Eddie started screaming, “Dean, what are you doing!?!?! You can’t come in here!!!” Dean kept accidentally almost walking into Eddie’s room so much, we had to put up a sign on the door:
As official keeper of the wedding gown, Eddie took his role very seriously. He carefully moved all of his snacks for studying to the corner of his desk farthest from the gown to keep the gown safe. And when the fire alarm went off in Kirkland one night (Dean and I were out), Eddie was in a panic trying to decide whether he should bring the gown downstairs downstairs with him (it turned out to be a false alarm, so he didn’t need to)!
In the end, my wedding gown made it in one piece, unharmed, re-fluffed, and protected from the eyes of Dean until June 13th. There were a few hiccups here and there during the whole process of making the wedding gown; a few times, I became so frustrated that I wished I had just gone with a store-bought dress and had it altered to fit. But one thing that I have learned about design and about life is that with some creativity, resourcefulness, and a little bit of love, anything can be made beautiful.
My mom and I ended up having to make a few alterations to the gown ourselves, but overall, I was extremely happy with the final product – it looked just like how I had always imagined. :)