So, to begin this journey, I have been reading everything I can find about dress construction. I haven't spent much time sewing in the last couple of years, so I need to brush up on my skills...and this project is going to require that I develop new skills as well. Here are two that I purchased which have been very helpful. I also visited my local library and found many books explaining construction and couture techniques which should come in very handy.
I have also looked everywhere for patterns that even remotely resemble the dress of my daughter's dreams. So far, it can not be found. After trying on several dresses and looking through many, many bridal magazines, Emily came up with this sketch.
So now it is up to me to figure out how to make it. Most wedding dress patterns you can buy have fairly simple lines. Several were two pieces, a bodice or corset and a skirt. As you can see in the sketch above, Emily does not want two separate pieces. The patterns I found with boning tend to have the boning attached to the outer layer or the lining, instead of using a separate corselette, which I am not sure will provide enough support for the many layers of dress Emily wants to have.
I did look at the Marfy catalog. This is a pattern book from Italy. It had the widest selection of anyone, including patterns for petticoats, undergarments, and coats. But again, many of them were two pieces--a corset and a skirt, or had a definite seam at the waistline (which Emily does not want). The Marfy patterns are a little pricey, but I would gladly pay the cost if they had one that closely matched my daughter's dream dress.
So for now I am torn between finding and buying several patterns and trying to figure out how to put them together, or creating my own pattern from scratch. I think I'll do a little more reading while I focus on converting the extra bedroom into a sewing room. Next up, adventures with dress forms!