I never thought I’d make a wedding dress, but have somehow managed to make 2 in the past year! Stephanie, my now former roommate, was finding it difficult to love any of the dresses she tried on in her price range in the Seattle shops. After hearing more about what she was looking for in a dress, I volunteered to make one for her. After many inspiration pictures email back and forth, we decided to go for a dress with a low back and a bow – two of the items she most wanted in her dress. The store bought varieties were generally too low in the back and it’s pretty rare to find a soft bow on the back of a dress 🙂 The top is self-drafted and the skirt + overskirt are modified from the Vogue V1030 pattern, a dress designed by Badgley Mischka.
Four bright orange mock ups later, we had dress that fit properly and purchased yards upon yards of beautiful silk fabric from Mood online. We had swatched a bunch of different silk crepe de chines and chiffons from the site and decided to go with an ivory underdress with a two layer overskirt. Stephanie was leaning towards a more pink or blush toned dress and to accomplish that vision, I made the skirt with one peach pink chiffon layer under an ivory layer. I will say that Mood apparently mislabeled one of the swatches, the one we liked of course! so Stephanie gambled a bit when she ordered the peach layer, but it all worked out well in the end.
The peach is more obvious in some photos than others – the color changing-ness is something I love about how the skirt turned out.
I’d never worked with silk until earlier this year when I made my first wedding dress, but let me tell you, I never want to work with anything else again! That might be a bit of an overstatement, but I love the properties you get with silk: it is lightweight, yet sticks to itself in a helpful way when sewing with it, due to a property called scroop (this property also is why good ties are made of silk, the knot will stay more precise and secure than in one made from polyester).
I’m very pleased with how this dress fit Stephanie in the end and how the colors worked out. We did contemplate for a minute not doing the peach layer, but it was so much more unique and visually interesting with they layer included. Each piece of the dress was finished separately, so that she can wear the white underdress (which is fully lined with crepe de chine) on its own or wear the skirt for a more casual outing with a dressed down top. I hope she will find some excuse to wear at least one part of this dress again! (That is one of my biggest issues with the wedding dress industry, how many are non-rewearable.) By the middle of the dancing portion of the evening, we got Steph out of the sash, bow, and skirt so that she could enjoy the rest of the evening in a lighter weight dress.
Dress without the skirt, sash, and bow.
Finally, I want to recognize how patience and chill Stephanie was (at least outwardly!) in the face of the fact that I finished her dress literally 5 minutes before she had to go do first look pictures! I had some grand plan of finishing this dress before I went to work in CO for the summer, and in my defense I did have the underdress basically done by then, but the skirt was made in CO, and the sash and bow were made the day before the wedding. All the edges of the bow tails are finished by hand, and I’m really happy about they look, but they did put me behind time-wise! Also, in the last moments when we were getting the dress on her for pictures, I realized the skirt was too heavy (it was made from ~12 yards of silk chiffon!) and was slipping below where the sash would cover. Fortunately, someone had nice big safety pins and we were able to make it work, but goodness – it’s slightly embarrassing that we had to use safety pins in the end! I had even needed to make a run to a Joann’s Fabric store the morning of, when I realized plan A for attaching the bow was not going to work out – I think I was probably more nervous and frantic about getting it all done in time than Steph!
All in all, I’m so happy with how the dress turned out, how we were able to get (almost) everything Steph wanted in a dress there (sorry we couldn’t make the lace work out!), and how truly unique her dress is, no one will ever have a dress like hers!
Congrats Steph and Markus on your marriage 🙂