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I have committed myself to making a wedding dress for a friend, and I’m learning as I go (probably not the wisest idea in hindsight!). I just have a couple of decisions to make and would love your views on the options. I have (hopefully) attached a picture of the inspiration dress and the toile.

The toile is just the corselette, the outer layer is different pattern without the curved cups.
The bride has a small bust so I have built a corselette as a middle layer to the bodice. I also have an outer silk taffeta layer with organza underlining and a corded lace overlay, and an inner silk habutae lining layer.
So my questions are:
-I don’t want the boning to show through to the outside, so should I use two layers of a light cotton and flat boning, or a heavier twill and spiral boning in the corselette?
- should I simply sandwich all three layers together – rights sides together and sew across the top edge as you normally would, and turn and understitch or
- should I sew the lining and corselette along the top edge, then turn the seam allowances under (of the outside and inside sections) and hand stitch them together as in the couture method?
( I think I should round off the point of the corselette so it doesn’t get caught in the point because I think that will be too bulky. Is that a good idea?)

Thanks in advance, any advice is greatly appreciated!


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  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Sep 30, 2012, 07.48 AMby katexxxxxx

    You don’t sew the corselete to the dress at all except along the top edge. Unless you bride is full busted, you don’t need steel boning at all. Especially not if you are underwiring those cups. Go for a nylon whalebone replacement. It’s a tad smoother and a lot lighter, and will show less.

    We make our foundation layers like this out of a layer of coutil or similar on the outside, use boning channeling for the bones, with a pretty cotton lining (quilting cotton is great). That goes next to the skin. The dress and it’s lining get sewn along the top and hang from there, as it were. Layers from the skin out read: foundation lining, bones in boning channels, coutil, gown lining, interlining, face fabric, lace. Depending on the style of the dress, we may also add a stay at the waist. Nothing shows through as the outer gown fabric isn’t under any tension: all the support tension is in the foundation.

    To add the foundation to the gown, we either put them right sides together, sew, flip foundation to the inside, or sew the two together in the correct order for wearing and bind the top. It depends what the top edge needs to look like. We don’t usually sew them together by hand as there is quite a bit of tension along that top edge, and a double row of machine stitching followed by proper grading of the seam allowance on the flip method is stronger and much faster.

  • Bag_avatar_large

    Sep 30, 2012, 11.19 AMby onceworn

    Wow, thank you so much, that is super helpful! I’m glad I asked because I was torn between attempting to hand sew it, and machining it like I normally would . And thank you for the layer order too – that is very helpful too. You say the gown lining comes between the coutil, and the interlining – that’s the only part I don’t understand – what is its purpose and what would it be made of? I’m off to start on the final toile tomorrow, much more confidently now :)

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Sep 30, 2012, 12.32 PMby katexxxxxx

      The lining of the bodice between the coutil and the fashion fabric is just the standard gown lining, same as you would use for the skirt, so your silk habotai. The reason for putting this in the bodice as well as your interlining is twofold: first, it’s an extra layer that helps to protect the inside of the gown fabric seam allowances from the inevitable rubbing against the foundation layer as the bride moves, and secondly that extra layer is extra insurance against the boning channels showing through.

  • Bag_avatar_large

    Sep 30, 2012, 10.01 PMby onceworn

    Oh, I didn’t know about that, thank you. I will add that layer in. Thank you so much for your help, it’s really lovely how you take the time to reply to so many posts on here, and how clear and easy to understand your instructions are. Will post a photo of the finished dress when I’m done!

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Oct 1, 2012, 10.52 AMby katexxxxxx

      You’re welcome. Just glad to help.

      I’m a teacher… ;)

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    Dec 14, 2013, 01.04 AMby grammyd

    I am making a wedding dress, I read the post from above about the different layers from skin, should the lining next to the dress face fabric, be interfaced also. Thank you Jackie.

  • Missing

    Dec 15, 2013, 07.51 AMby Kate Dicey

    No, the layers are exactly as they stand. You don’t interface the lining.

    2 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Dec 15, 2013, 07.54 AMby katexxxxxx

      BTW, this is me – mistakenly logged in using Facebook!

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      Dec 17, 2013, 03.56 PMby grammyd

      Thank you so much.

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    Aug 30, 2015, 03.26 AMby natasha28

    Oh my goodness, it looks like a great job so far! I am thinking of making my own wedding dress. Do you have a pattern for this one? Mainly the corset? I love your sweetheart neckline – the the exact one I am looking for. Natasha x

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