Wedding Belles Pt 3 - WEDDING DRESS - Vogue V1102

Three weeks ago, my sister got married, in Paris, France, wearing a wedding dress made by me… eek kinda can’t believe that is a sentence I’m typing!

This whole experience has been such a crazy whirlwind, but I’m almost a little melancholy it’s over so soon! It was amazing to have almost all of our family in one country, let alone city, and really special to have everyone from both sides together for the first time. Also the amount of homemade love that went into this definitely brought out the tears.

Ok, onto the Dress! To keep this slightly more succinct (let’s be honest... totally going to ramble!) I covered off the details of the planning and toiling here and here

The Pattern

The Pattern was Vogue V1102; following the toile I made a straight size 8 – Ju being the magical unicorn that fits these patterns without any adjustments.

I also made a petticoat to go under and add that extra little Audrey vavavoom using this handy post from By Hand London

The Fabric

The fabric was all from King Textiles, haha by the end with all the screw-ups and additional projects it started to feel like I was in there every freaking day!

Picking the fabric was a hilarious process, done over skype. We got super lucky finding what we were after in the first stop on the hunt. In fact, the lace was actually the first one I picked up. We then spent about an hour (where I was the obnoxious person on the phone in-store) debating options trying to find the perfect underlining and anxiously doubting how quickly this all seemed to be coming together. Once it ticked over to an appropriate time of the morning in NZ mum joined the call and we sealed the deal.

We went with a soft grey/lilac lace as overlay. Unfortunately I’m totally blanking on the type of fabric that was the underlay, but it was fairly weighty grey/blue coloured satinesque fabric. I’m pretty it sure it is synthetic as it was atrocious to press. As with the toile I used sew in interfacing and self lined.

The petticoat was a blush tulle and soft white cotton.

All the heart eyes for this dress twirling!

The making

I was pretty grateful I made up the full toile so I could cross construction debates off my long list of things to overthink.

Unfortunately our choice of fabric and my penchant to seek perfection in this make made things infinitely complicated. The Lace we chose was 150cm wide in total but we didn’t want to use the  border so that left us with a width of about 100cm. Also we wanted to have the scallop pattern of the lace run horizontal from top to bottom. This was awesome in theory until you realise we were dealing with a circle skirt, and the scallop was actually not a uniform repeating pattern.

To get the look, I picked a point in the scallop to be the centre – this involved quite a bit of debate whether this should be an up or down part of the curve (perhaps you are now getting the level of overthinking I spiraled into).

I cut a strip the correct length of the skirt, and then painstakingly pattern matched two panels onto each side to provide the width required to cut out the skirt. As the lace was transparent I just sewed and clipped the seam to a scant 1/8-1/4.

Totally worth all the piecing!

When it came to the actual sewing nothing much changed from the toile, I basically followed the pattern to the letter.

I sewed the lace overlay and underlining as separate pieces, joining when I joined with the lining (i.e. sewed the darts and side seams separate and joining the rest)

The interfacing was a lifesaver again to get those lovely crisp lines around the bodice, especially given the reluctance of the fabric to press.

As the fitting was going to take place once I got to Ju in Paris, I left out the zip and left open the bodice. I only had a needle and thread to work with for adjustments so was crossing all my fingers and toes the fit worked!

The transport was pretty painless she (the dress) survived multiple forms of public transport catching a bus, plane and train. Air Canada was even kind enough to hang her in first class so I wouldn’t have to cram all this hard work into an economy overhead bin!

After many giddy reunited hugs we tried on the dress and huzzah! She was perfect! So off we went in the hunt for shoes, flowers, ice-cream and pastries :)

We changed our mind about the bow at the back instead opting to just loop the fabric and let it trail, while the bow was amazing in the lighter fabric of the toile it really didn’t work with this heavier fabric and ended up too bulky, however the flip side of this was that the overall fit was much better in this fabric than the toile. Not really sure why…? But perhaps the extra weight settled things down and the neckline/ back ended up in the perfect spot?

As things were amazingly going to plan all that was left was to close the bodice and pick in the zip. But before I closed up the bodice there was an extra wee touch I wanted to add. Given this was a pretty special dress I added a wee spot of embroidery (also “something blue”) with a nod to Ju and I's favourite literary love quotes “always” and “ardently”. Ju’s friend Kylie who is a very talented textile artist added the forget-me-not (you can see more of her amazing work here, and the lady herself in pics below). We actually completed these a few glasses in at 3am the night before the wedding!

Putting in the last few hand stitches the morning of the wedding

Then in keeping with last minute tradition (I was still sewing Ju’s bridesmaid dress at the hairdressers the morning of my own wedding) I put the last few stitches in at the waistband first thing and off to the Town hall we headed.

Last wee adjustments (Photo Credit Kylie)

The Wedding

We walked the few blocks there garnering more than a few puzzled looks hehe. Now in the lead-up to this wedding I had been joking about how given its Paris the town hall would probably be beautiful unlike the utilitarian beige buildings back home. Holy heck though this was bloody stunning! There was a marble staircase with red carpet we walked up and the main room (which we had to ourselves) had a freaking chandelier! We sat on lovely hand carved wooden chairs. With plush furnishings all around. Pinching ourselves that this was for real. The ceremony was very expedient (they are very strict about what is said), about 5 mins tops. Myself and G’s brother signed with them on the dotted line, and we were off to celebrate the happy couple!

After an epically delicious lunch we strolled over to Jardin des Tuileries (the garden opposite the Louvre) for pictures, We managed to find a spot all to ourselves to take pics (in keeping with the ridiculously tinny luck these two seem to have),before heading home to Ju’s for yet another round of dessert (they are pastry chefs after all!).

Moments of insanity

To be honest this whole project was one big moment of insanity, from the three country spread of me, Mum and Ju/ skype measuring/ postal strikes mid toile/ only fitting the day before the wedding… the list goes on…

Amongst all this crazy the very worst moment was during the piecing together of the fabric to get the width required for the skirt. I cut one of the pieces 1 inch in the wrong direction… rendering 2 yds. of fabric useless. Cue nearly tears and much potty mouth!!! This was thankfully solved by one panicked visit back to the fabric store where they had a mere 4 yds. Left! Phew.

One of the more hilarious moments was when I forgot to pack a hook and eye. Quick solution was a few stitches at the top of the zip. The ramifications were Ju and G had to take a pair of scissors to their wedding to cut her out of it bahaha.

In conclusion

I’m calling this a resounding success!! I'm also pushing down that ridiculous female urge to point out flaws and instead scream from the roof-tops “I F***ING NAILED IT!!” There were many moist eye moments throughout the day, a combination of the overall emotions and love. But also just how gorgeous Ju looked, and how stoked I was that I was able to make that happen for her.

Thanks for reading, I leave you with even more photos! (had a devil of a time choosing!)

Hils x

Sisters! (Photo Credit Kylie)
So much handmade love in this shot! (Photo Credit Kylie)

Beautiful Bouquets Mum made (she also did the Brides)


  1. Amazing work! Your sister looks so beautiful and happy!

  2. Looks great! I think anyone would be pedantic making a loved one's dress but it sounds like it went pretty smoothly. Such lovely photos and I really like the bouquets! Ju is really lucky to have such a talented and helpful sister :)

  3. Thanks! Yeah I love the joy in the pics! Got mushy all over again going through them!

  4. Thanks! Yeah Mum did an amazing job on the bouquets, we are very lucky to have a roster of handy creative folks in our family :)

  5. What a lovely dress! I made my daugther's wedding dress last year, so I know the travails of overthinking and long distance fitting. I love the tie in the back and that you didn't tie into the bow. It acted like the train of a full length dress. It was (after the lace) such a beautiful feature of the dress.
    After I made my daughter's dress I went onto sew a men's blazer. I loved the challenge of the dress and needed something else challenging right after. Good luck on your next project!

  6. Thanks Brenda! Yes that's exactly what we ended up thinking with the tie, kinda a pseudo train/veil. Congrats on doing your daughters dress it's such a lovely thing to be able to do this for family! I know what you mean about the challenge, I thought it would exhaust but instead revs up the thrill of tackling more complicated challenges ?

  7. Mum shared the link with me this morning, to shut up my constant nagging for photographs of the wedding. I stood at my kitchen sink, looking out over the paddocks of cows grazing and bawled like a baby as I read your lovely account of a beautiful family occasion. Mum is so proud of her beautiful clever talented girls. Amazing dress, beautiful words, beautiful photos and a beautiful family. An absolute pleasure to read..thank you xo

  8. Thanks for you kind words Paula! so glad you enjoyed it :)

  9. Loved everything about this beautiful labour of love for your sister - the colour, the lace, and that back! WOW. Dramatic, classy, luscious. Amazing story :)

  10. This is so sweet! The whole thing brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Thanks! It was a pretty awesome experience :)


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