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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jessica's Wedding Dress · Something Old, Something New...


As some of you may remember, I was working on a friend's wedding gown in May this year.  Well, the dress was completed, the wedding was beautiful, and I now have pictures to share!! :-)

In "real life", my job is doing seamstress work. (I know- aren't you shocked?! ;-P) I have quite a bit of experience with formals and weddings, so when my friend Jessica got engaged I was thrilled that she asked me to work on her gown!  Jessica has a great sense of style and tends to like classic looks, so I knew she'd pick out something I would end up liking too!  And she's so petite that everything just looks adorable on her. ;-)

After talking about options, she made a Pinterest board with some ideas she liked.  To achieve that look, we ended up deciding to add a lace and silk bodice to a purchased strapless dress.  Jessica liked the idea of using lace from her mother's wedding gown, but while she was getting it out of storage she found an exquisite heavily-beaded lace bodice from her great-grandmother!  She brought it along when we went to shopping for her "base dress" and it was the clear winner!


Here's the lace bodice in its original state- so much potential, but in need of lots of love!  It also had a pale pink sash that must have been a later addition- attached with stick-on velcro.  Oh, the horror!!  As you can see, the bodice wasn't in a wearable state, due to the severe yellowing on all the seams. (As a side note- every cut edge on the lace had that yellowing, but nowhere else.  Does anyone know what would cause that?  I couldn't figure it out.)  Thankfully all of the seams needed to be taken in anyway and the yellowed portions could just be trimmed off.


The neck and sleeve edges were bound in plain old ecru bias tape.  It wasn't finished off nicely at the back, was a "blah" color, and an unflattering neckline.  So off it came!


And on went the narrow handmade silk binding.
Hand-stitched in place absolutely invisibly. :-)  This dress truly was a labor of love- the binding is proof. ;-)


After the bodice was altered to fit Jessica, I stitched it to the base dress.  I draped a pleated silk midriff band on the dress and hand-stitched it all in place.  The overbodice is unattached to the base dress at the back to allow for the closure.
The base dress closes with a zipper; then the overbodice closes with covered buttons on the lace and snaps on the silk.


I was rather intimidated by the thought of bustling a tulle gown- to the point of thinking it was impossible.  After scouring the internet for awhile, I came up with my game plan.  I under-bustled the lower layer with color-coordinated ribbons and over-bustled the tulle using buttons and clear hair elastics (of all things!).


I was so pleased with how the bustling buttons ended up hiding under the silk.  It felt rather ingenious, if I do say so myself. ;-)  I was a bit concerned that the elastics might end up being visible with the train down, but even to the trained eye they were unnoticeable. :-)

And now here are some pretty photos from the photographers!

  



This skirt was so amazingly twirly!!  But I guess that's what a 1 1/2 circle skirt will do for you. ;-)





With the skirt bustled up!



I would absolutely steal this dress for my wedding.  Except that I'm not 5'2"....

There aren't many projects (even of my own) that I love in every single phase of the process- design, planning, construction, and completion.  This dress was an exception to that though- I can't decide if it was more fun to make or to look at photographs of! :-)

It was such a joy to be able to give this family heirloom a new life and purpose and I love how unique and personalized Jessica's dress now is! :-)

· Wedding photos by Kathryn ·

20 comments:

  1. So gorgeous! I love your friend's style. I wonder if the yellowing was from some ancient oil on the scissors of the original dressmaker...

    Great job, Lily! I'll keep you in mind if I ever get married. ^_^

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    1. Knowing you- you'll have a pretty fun idea for your wedding gown! :-)

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  2. This is just exquisite! Last month, I worked on a similar project. I added a lace bodice to a strapless gown as well. So much work! I work occasionally as a costumer and find your blog to be so inspiring! You really are an amazing seamstress/ designer!

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  3. BEST WEDDING DRESS EVER. The end.

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  4. oh how beautiful!! and what a truly special dress!

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  5. Oh, that's beautiful! What a wonderful way to give new life to an old piece!

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  6. Absolutely stunning! You did a fabulous job incorporating the old and new. Your bustle looks terrific! They can be tricky.

    -Sarah

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  7. Absolutely beautiful! I don't think I would have seen much potential in that old lace bodice, but you did a fantastic job! I've seen the suggestion in some old sewing book somewhere to trace the pattern outline onto the fabric then cut the pieces out. Perhaps the original seamstress did so and the markings have discolored. (I would have assumed that only chalk or thread tailor tacks would have been used, but you never know!)

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    1. That's a good guess- I didn't think of that!

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  8. Wow, what an amazing dress! You truly did a fabulous job!!!!

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  9. Simply gorgeous. I'm so happy you were able to incorporate her Grandmother's lace. If I had my wedding dress to do over, I would do something similar if I could.

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    1. I know! I'd love to be able to do something along these lines for my dress. But we'll see if that all works out whenever that is. :-)

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  10. Absolutely stunning and beautiful work Lily! The techniques that you used are so clever (I may have to steal that clear elastic hair band-bustle idea sometime... :D), and just... SO STUNNING!

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  11. Thank you all for your sweet comments! :-)

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  12. The dress looks absolutely beautiful!

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  13. I just found your blog through Pinterest. How have I managed to miss this!? Great hair tutorial, very helpful. I'm loving your colorful style and sense of fashion. I need more bright colors in my wardrobe that's for sure! Off to look through your blog some more! :)
    -Emily

    vintagevisions27.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Emily! And somehow I managed to miss your blog, too... Looking forward to perusing it later this week! :-)

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  14. This is truly beautiful! What a special project!

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  15. That's amazing! So neat how you took the old and made it now. I love doing those kinds of things. =) You did a great job and your friends looked so beautiful for her big day! GOOD JOB!

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  16. Beautiful dress! My thought about the yellow was maybe something was applied to keep it from fraying? Like a glue or nail polish? (Dritz makes "Fray Check")

    -Lida

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