The dress is deemed as one of the most important pieces of a wedding. It can symbolize elegance and a sense of specialness, giving the wearer confidence to say “I do”. Whereas the most grandeur of dresses were fit for the wealthy (think royalty), now everyone can enjoy a beautiful dress on their big day.
Even so, a wedding dress can fetch up to a fair few hundred, if not thousands, of dollars. Whether you are stretching a budget or have a particular vision in mind, creating and sewing parts of a dress suitable for the wedding day may just be beneficial to what you are after.
The tulle skirt is a classic. It can be worn as a mini, a midi or a maxi, maximising its adaptability, meaning it will suit all tastes and styles. For a wedding, however, a stunning full length is usually chosen.
It is not just beautiful, but it can also be a practical choice for a first-time sewer. The shape of the skirt will help hide any mistakes, though hopefully you may find it isn’t as difficult as you initially thought.
Whether it is for you or somebody else, the first thing to do is to try on a few different styles of wedding dress to see what will suit your body shape and if it is comfortable.
Sometimes we have an idea of what we want it to look like, only to feel disappointment when it does not look as one envisioned. This is the same with material as well. Make sure you know exactly what the final look will be, and then you can hit the store and stock up on material.
What You Will Need
- Chosen fabric
- Measuring tape
- Pattern paper
- Tailor’s chalk
- Fabric scissors
- Sewing machine
- Zipper (optional)
Start Taking Measurements
Now is the time to start taking those all important measurements. One thing to think about is the shoes you, or the person in question, will be wearing on the day. Usually it is a heel, so if you have them to hand, wear them. If not, try and find a pair with a similar height.
You’ll also need to know whether the skirt will be detachable or not. If you are making a detachable skirt, then the dress and anything else that goes with it will need to be worn together ready for the measuring. This is because it can be bulky and will add to the final measurements.
Firstly, measure around the waist, and then from the waist to the floor. If wearing something bulky underneath, take a measurement around the midway point (which is usually around the knee) and also at the bottom. These measurements will let you know how much fabric you need.
Finding The Right Fabric
Even though you may want to cut costs, finding the right material, even if expensive, is worth it for a special dress. What you don’t want to happen is to have easily torn thread and cheap looking material.
When searching for fabric, feel it. Ask the seller what they would suggest, but also use your own gut instinct. Seeing it in person is the best way to go, however, you can buy it online.
There is a downside to that approach, and that is it may not be how you expect it. Always check where you are buying it from.
Drawing On The Pattern Paper
This can always seem a little daunting, but don’t worry, it is actually really easy, even for novice sewers. Draw out a rectangle for the waistband on the pattern paper whilst referring back to the measurements you wrote down.
The length of the rectangle is the waist measurement. Remember to add 3-4 inches for closures. The width should be double the width you want the waistband, along with a 1.25-inch seam allowance.
On a different piece of pattern paper, draw a trapezoid which should narrow at the top. The length of this shape should be the waist to floor measurement, and the width at the top, middle and bottom should be around one third the measurement of the waist and any undergarment measurements taken.
Same as previously, allow extra inches for seam allowance. Also, allow for as much flaring as you would like at the bottom.
Next, cut these out.
Applying To The Fabric And Cutting It Out
Place the waistband pattern onto the fabric and use tailor’s chalk to trace around it. Do the same with the trapezoid pattern, placing it onto the tulle and drawing its outline. Using the same pattern piece, draw the two other skirt sections. Now it is time to cut them out.
This is the point where, if you are adding a zipper, you need to mark it on the fabric. Place your marker on the two back skirt fabric pieces (laying them both facing each other – one on top of the other) whilst keeping the zipper marks aligned with one another.
Sewing The Skirt Together
Using your sewing machine, sew a seam from the bottom of the skirt, all the way up to the zipper mark. Once this has been done, above the zipper mark machine baste the open edges, press open. Then stitch the front and back section together.
Now the skirt will be inside out. From the top, machine baste 0.5 inches. Doing so will create a gather that can be pulled by threads. You’ll need to pull on these to get the waist measurement you need. Once this has been done, turn the skirt the right way out and put it to one side.
Sewing The Waistband
Interfacing can be used in the waistband. If you are using it, baste it onto the inside of the waistband, making sure it is wrapped around and aligned with the zipper. Once done, you can sew the waistband onto the skirt and then turn inside out.
Whilst folding the waistband in half, stitch in place along the seam and sew the zip in place.
Before you carry on, you will need to press the fabric so it is smooth and easier to work with. Use spaced out pins to connect the layers from the waist to bottom.
Because the tulle will be bouncy, mark the hem a little higher than you want it to be once it is finished. Cut the hem and resew the seam ends that were trimmed whilst cutting the fabric. Now you should be holding a finished tulle skirt!
It probably seems extra intimidating to sew a tulle skirt yourself, but with the right tools and know-how, you, or somebody else, will have a gorgeous skirt created by you on their special day.