Broke-Ass Tag: DIY



Before I had a ring on my finger, I had a pretty good hunch that I’d sew my wedding dress. An avid sewer, my Mom made her wedding dress in the early ’70s when she married my Dad, and I always admired her choice to do so instead of buying something from a boutique. Granted, the wedding scene is a bit different today than it was almost 40 years ago, and mermaid style dresses with corseted backs didn’t exist — dress styles were simpler, and having a reception with only punch and cake was considered the norm (oh, how I wish this was the case today). Come to think of it, my mom was definitely an O.G. Broke-Ass Bride!

When the day came and I said yes to my now-fiance, and the initial blur of emotions and excitement calmed down, my thoughts turned to what kind of dress I wanted to wear. I already had a secret Pinterest board of dress ideas before we were engaged (I’m not the only one who did this, right??) to get an idea of current styles and to try to piece together elements of dresses that I liked.  What was most discouraging about these dresses, other than the fact that they were significantly more than I wanted to spend, was that the majority of them were made out of polyester. As if! There was absolutely no way I was going to spend $1k (or more in some instances) on a dress made out of cheap polyester.  To me, on my wedding day, silk was a non-negotiable, especially after trying on a few itchy dresses at David’s Bridal that made me hot and sweaty. After considering what I would be getting out of my hard-earned money if I bought a wedding dress, I made the firm decision that I would follow in my Mom’s footsteps and make my wedding dress instead.

If you’re on the fence about sewing your wedding dress, definitely take into consideration the following:

  1. How much time you’re willing to devote to this HUGE project? Of all of my DIY ideas for my wedding, this one is hands down the most important to me. If I end up needing to farm out some projects to my bridesmaids, or if it looks like I can’t make that giant photo booth backdrop of white paper flowers, I need to be OK with that because my dress trumps all. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it’s going to take to make your dress — I’m starting mine now, nine months out from the big day, to give myself enough time so I’m not sewing under (too much) pressure.
  2. Understand Your Dress Style. It wasn’t until I tried on dresses at David’s Bridal (that’s where my bridesmaids took the above photo) that I felt confident in the wedding dress I wanted to create. It’s one thing to picture how something will look on you in your head, it’s another to actually put the dress on and really see how the silhouette looks on your body in the mirror, how the train moves, etc. From this appointment, I learned that a sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves were something I wanted to recreate in my dress, but didn’t feel comfortable in a sheath-type of fit. Bring on the empire waist!
  3. Respect Your Sewing Limitations. How confident you feel in your sewing capabilities will ultimately determine the type of dress that you’ll sew and wear for the big day.  If you’re relatively new to sewing, it may be beyond your skill level to recreate a fitted strapless ballgown complete with boning, a crinoline and layers of poofy tulle. If you’ve been sewing for a while, maybe you can tackle a dress with couture handwork and intricate draping. Sewing with silk and chiffon also present their own fair share of sewing challenges. At the end of the day, make sure you set yourself up for success with choosing a sewing pattern as well as fabric that will allow you to achieve beautiful results with your current skill set.  It’s going to look great!

The thing is, if you have the sewing skills and the determination, a beautiful wedding dress is completely in your reach. Over Labor Day weekend, I found all of my fabric in the Garment District in NYC: designer lace and silk for a fraction of the cost of the dresses on my Pinterest board.  I can’t wait to start sewing!

Have you considered making your own wedding dress?

  • 8/27

    Affiliate Disclaimer New

    I’ve always been a sucker for details. Little extras. Special additions. Something nice turns into something great with a little extra oomph and as I prepared to send out my formal wedding invitations, I needed that little something extra, so I armed myself with another calligraphy pen, some awesome vintage stamps I purchased on eBay and the sweetest little way to add an extra personal touch: the Epson LabelWorks Ribbon Printer.

    calligraphy envelope and Epson LabelWorks printed ribbon

    Since there was no inner envelope (hello, extra $$$) in my invitation suite, I was looking for a way to band my enclosure cards together. LabelWorks lets you choose from a buttload of fonts before you add symbols, borders and special characters. The simple script font coordinated well with our invites, but you can go as casual, fun or professional as you want with the choices!

    LabelWorks Script Font

    The printer works with special cartridges that combine a half-inch ribbon spool with a coordinating color foil for writing. The gold on navy went perfectly with my suite, so after inputting our names and choosing a font and border, I hit print to test it out. The characters filled up about four inches of space and the screen tells you the finished print size when you hit start, but I needed the ribbon to be long enough to wrap around the cards with room to fasten in the back. All I had to do was hit the advance button twice before and after each print before pressing the easy cut button which leaves your ribbon with a nice clean edge. I just used a little craft glue to secure the ribbon and let them dry before stuffing envelopes.

    Overall, this machine is incredibly easy to use. You’ll want to grab the instruction book for your first time, but the directions are simple to find and follow. One of my favorite features is the ability to save your work if you need to take a break. Your first design is automatically saved, but if you have multiple uses for the printer, you can switch back and forth with ease!

    Epson LabelWorks monitor

    The cartridges are a little pricey. A $20 spool yielded 26 ribbons at about eight inches long, so in the end, I chose to wrap the ones being sent to friends and family who would appreciate the extra frill. A short Thank You ribbon for favors will go a lot farther. It may not be a super Broke-Ass way to add a little extra shine, but after hand addressing over 70 envelopes (again!), it sure felt easy, and if you’re a regular crafter like me, it’s a worthwhile investment.

    Are you looking for some special personalization to your wedding? What have you tried? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 7/7

    Pictures Dress Up Real Bride Laura's DIY Table Numbers

    My wedding is 35 days away and I am officially over Pinterest. At this point in the game when I open my Pinterest app I start to experience a major case of FOMO and start to stress. "Aw aren't those centerpieces so cute?" I say to myself. "I love that wedding favor idea! Should I change my planned hairdo and go with this trendy braided…

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    Photo by Andie Freeman Photography

    Name: Jessica Knowles and Andrew Long Occupation: Jessica - Sales and Marketing Manager for Housing Company; Andrew - Landscape Designer Wedding location: Brickyard at Riverside Golf Club, Macon, Georgia Wedding Date: May 16, 2015 Budget: Around $15,000. The amounts below add up to around $20,000, however my parents paid about $15K, I paid for photography, hair/makeup and rings. Groom's family paid for his tux and…

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    Being a crafty lady I wanted to do something fun and different for my escort cards. My wedding theme is basically summed up in five words: Vintage Victorian Lace and Burlap which goes nicely with our venue. We are getting married in a Victorian-style historic home that is decorated with fireplaces, beautiful pastels and intricate crown molding. In keeping with the vintage theme I found some really…

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  • 6/5

    Yeah ... don't even think about it.  Photo by Cakes and Kisses As you get closer to the end of the aisle, one question starts to overwhelm all the others: "How the heck are we going to get all this stuff over there?? The favors, your escort cards, your wedding dress. Maybe you scored and you can bring in your own alcohol. Maybe you wanted to…

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    We're a few months out from our wedding. So now it's time to dabble with some of the fun stuff, before we go crazy with seating plans and RSVPs and fittings (oh my). What fun things? Why, let me explain ... 1) Words, words, words At the moment I have a file as long as my arm full of poignant speeches, readings and poems. I…

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    We have talked a few times about saving money on your bar by cutting down to beer, wine and a signature drink. And sure, your signature drink could very well be whatever you and your beloved love to throw back from time to time (moi? Old fashioneds, all the way), or you can get all kinds of creative and make up an easy big-batch cocktail…

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  • 5/6

    Shannon Calligraphy

    As I and many of my fellow Real Brides will tell you, DIY is a great way to save some dollars. IF you're crafty. IF you know where to get supplies on the cheap. IF you've got buttloads of free time. I tossed around the idea of designing my own save the dates, but when MagnetStreet was running a great sale (and they do that…

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