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Wedding Gown Advice

I am designing my sister's wedding gown. I ordered the fabric, but it still hasn't arrived. This is what I am trying to find out. She wants a ball gown style dress constructed out of 26 yards of fabric. I'm trying to convince her that it is too big, but she is so stubborn. I need some advice. Do you think it will be too big? Or what are your opinions? Thank you!

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By Adriana from New York, NY

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December 19, 20110 found this helpful

How much fabric do patterns of that style call for? It sounds like an awful lot of fabric, but do either of you know for sure what you are doing? You don't have to design a dress completely from scratch. You and your sister could go and look at patterns and buy two or three that both of you like, and combine pieces from all of them, you just have to make sure that the pieces you want to combine with pieces from another pattern are compatible.

For example I used to use the bodice from one pattern, the sleeves from another or even part of a sleeve from one and part from another. Neckline from one, etc. The part of the dress that will take the most fabric will be the skirt for a ball gown style. Even that will depend on how long of train she wants. Myself, I would tell her to go and buy a gown.

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December 20, 20110 found this helpful

Does your sister have any idea how much 26 yards of fabric weighs, much less costs? I've sewn all my life and have made wedding gowns, and unless she plans on ballooning 12 tiers and a train, it sure is a lot. Yes, the dress is everything the wedding is built around, but she'll want to be comfortable, too!

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December 21, 20110 found this helpful

I teach sewing, including short courses on sewing re-enactment garb, formal evening wear, and bridals. Some of the Civil War (US War Between The States) gowns can have close to twenty yards, and I have seen a 25 yard wedding dress but it was on "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding". It was a Cinderella type ball gown on steroids to be frank, is that the look your sister is going for?

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If so, she needs to understand she'll be in either hoops and crinolines, or at least hoops-both very difficult to manage without hours of practice. Is she prepared for this?

What kind of fabric did you order? The weight will vary depending on the fabric, but even a light cotton will be HEAVY at anything over fifteen yards (the average amount of fabric in a ball-gown style wedding dress including train). Combined with the hoops and/or crinolines, your sister is looking at a very real potential for disaster on the biggest day of her life.

Good luck, and if you are stuck with the job, make her practice wearing at least the petticoats and hoops to practice, or she is going to stumble, tilt, fall, expose a lot more of her foundation garments than she might like, and generally have people thinking she is an utter fool.

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(I have successfully dissuaded a couple of brides, and several prom goers by saying the above in a shocked tone of voice with a look of pity and horror on my face. The re-enactors just got busy practicing, lol)

Simplicity and McCalls both have very good historical patterns that sew up with a minimum of fabric but look completely authentic, fairly easy to sew if you know how to sew in the first place. You may be able to adapt something for her using one of those. Look for something with a detachable train.

Good luck:)

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