This summer I had the pleasure of making Katie’s wedding dress. I don’t do a lot of custom sewing these days and I generally avoid wedding dresses because drama, stress, and drama. But I made an exception for Katie and I’m so very glad I did. My step-mom is friends with Katie’s mom. My step-mom told me that the daughter of a friend was a lovely, laid-back woman who was planning a small garden wedding and wanted to use part of her grandmother’s wedding dress to elevate a ready-to-wear dress she had already purchased. She wanted a dress that had a bit of vintage flair that would flatter her tall frame. How could I say no?
We were working on a pretty short timescale (less than 2 months!) so I didn’t have time to construct a whole dress. Fortunately, Katie had found a ready-to-wear dress that fit her. It was just a little lackluster, so that’s where I came in. Katie was also fortunate enough to have her grandmother’s wedding dress and, while it wouldn’t fit her, there was plenty of fabric that we could use to elevate the RTW dress.
The biggest change we made was to the skirt. Katie wanted more fullness and more length than the RTW dress so I removed the partial circle skirt and made a full circle skirt out of silk taffeta so it had a crisp body. On top of the circle skirt I added an overlayer of the flocked lace from her grandmother’s dress, gently gathered into the waist (as it was gently gathered on the original skirt). Katie bought a petticoat to wear underneath for an even more full silhouette. I sewed a narrow rolled hem on the underskirt. In a major win for both me and Katie, her mom had some sewing skills and was happy to hand sew the hem on the overskirt (saving me time and Katie money)!
I changed the back neckline of the dress from a high scoop to a moderate V. It added a bit of interest to the back and brought a bit of elegant sexiness to the dress. It was a slight challenge as the bodice had quite a bit of stretch in it but I needed the V to cling to Katie’s body while still moving with the dress. I didn’t trust the knit interfacing I had on hand (and didn’t have enough time to get more) so I made the facings with the silk taffeta from the skirt cut on the bias. An unusual solution born out of desperation, but I think it actually worked quite well!
To help tie the dress together, I added a bit of the lace to the top front of the bodice bodice. I used a piece of the lace cut on the bias and catch-stitched it to the front (the stitching was hidden under the pleated portion) and the inside facing. A couple of strategic pick stitches through both layers helped to keep the draping in place.
In the end, a lovely dress on a lovely woman. I was so happy to help Katie look and feel beautiful on her special day!