Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stacey's Dress

I had several sewing projects in 2011, but one dress in particular took most of the year to create.  About a year and a half ago my brother's (then) fiance, Stacey, sent me a message that she would like me to make her wedding dress and asked if I would I think about it.  I didn't have to think about it, of course I was honored to be asked to make her dress!  :o)  

Stacey had tried on a few dresses and had found "The Dress".  However, she didn't want the puffiness of the gathered tulle over-skirt.  She wanted something more streamlined, but with the same floaty effect.  I searched bridal sewing patterns until I found one with the right silhouette.  View A of Butterick 6926 was  a perfect base for this dress. I added a chapel-length train to the skirt and changed the bodice to a sweetheart neckline.

After searching for months for affordable (cough, cough) beaded lace, I found the perfect trim at our local thrift store.  I made a full length toile out of muslin for the first fitting.  Other than a small length adjustment, the only other fit alteration that I needed to make was for a sway back. 

I referred to Susan Khalje's book, Bridal Couture, quite a bit while constructing Stacey's dress.  Using Susan's suggestions, I used a total of 15 pieces of boning and added a grosgrain ribbon waist-stay to the bodice.  The bodice seams were catch-stitched by hand to the flannel underlining to keep the seams smooth on the outside. Once the bodice and the skirt were constructed and double-checked for fit, I started to hand stitch the beaded lace trim onto the bodice and the chiffon over-skirt.  

This is about the time when things got very interesting as I ended up with a viral eye infection, in *both* eyes, that lasted for almost six weeks.  I spent a lot of time resting with my eyes closed and a cool cloth laying across my eyes.  Hand stitching was slow-going as I could only focus on the fabric and lace for about 20 minutes until I had to go rest my eyes for the rest of the hour.  I felt like I was stitching blind!  I never realized how much I sew by instinct until I realized I could thread a needle when I couldn't even focus on the eye of the needle.  :o)  I was able to get all the beaded lace onto the bodice and on the chiffon over-skirt.  There are almost 10 yards of beaded scalloped lace trim that was hand stitched onto the hem of the skirt.  Thankfully, my eyes were mostly healed before the wedding so I could enjoy the celebration.

Stacey's dress is one of my favorite sewing projects that I've made so far.  I really stretched my sewing skills by adding several couture techniques that I will want to use in future sewing projects.  I'm looking forward to my next formal dress project - it might be soon as one of my daughter's friends has asked me to make her prom dress.  

In the meantime, I have some seat cushions to make for my husband's CASE 930 Comfort King tractor.  Here on the farm, you never know what will show up next on my sewing queue!  


  1. That is gorgeous! I wish I was sew talented. I can sew squares and that is about it.


  2. Thank you, ladies! I had a lot of fun making Stacey's dress.

    Krista, I've been sewing as long as I can remember, over thirty-mumble-mumble years. We all start somewhere. My best advice? Practice, practice, practice! :o)