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Ultimate Sewing Challenge

Lace Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress

My daughter got married a year ago without the usual year to plan.  We only had two months to get her dress together.  We had seen a dress by designer Rivini, and decided to copy it from memory.  One of the most striking aspects was the sweeping, tiered skirt of four different Alencon laces. 

Using Threads articles from the past, I was able to make and fit a steel-boned bodice.  (Issue 46, pg. 52 and Issue 145, pg. 30). I had never done this before and it was quite an adventure, especially since my daughter was 250 miles away! I had a mock- up bodice of muslin ready to fit before we went lace shopping.  To get the proper yardages for the lace skirts, I first made half-patterns from muslin. Armed with a pair of scissors, these were adjusted for length and drape as they were pinned onto the mock-up bodice which was on my daughter.    After that, I was on my own until a week before the wedding.

I remade the boned bodice in silk crepe-backed satin for comfort.  After making the “corset” I started on the skirts.   Using my muslin pattern as a guide, I made individual skirts of double-layered silk organza, sewn with French seams.   In order to keep the lace selvage edge on each piece showing, I cut out straight lengths of the lace.   Each tier of lace was hand-basted onto the organza skirts and the lace was cut, repositioned, and hand-stitched at the top to follow the taper of the skirt and to look seamless.  The skirts collectively were then attached to the boned undergarment at the waistline.  The sweeping train of the skirt is actually a wide border lace.  This section of lace had to be individually cut, fit, and hand stitched to follow the curve and to come out with full designs. 

The skirt is also underlined in silk twill which has a horsehair braid sewn into the hem for a bit of lift.

The silk crepe-backed satin bodice underlining is princess seamed and was taken from a simple princess-seamed dress pattern.  This was the same pattern I had used for the boned corset.  I had to lengthen the bodice to match the swoop of the rest of the skirts.  The Alencon lace on the bodice is the densest design.  With the undergarment and underlining on a dress form, I draped the bodice lace over the silk and cut and restitch the lace designs to follow the curves of the body.  The lace edge needed to be seen on both the lower part of the bodice and the sweetheart neckline.  That took a bit of trial and error, pinning on various motifs for the proper effect. The bodice looks seamless. The final fitting required a bit more cutting and piecing for the best shape, but I was able to make “darts” by repositioning the lace on the Alencon netting.  

The sash was made from a double layer of silk organza and is pleated in the front. 

The veil was made from tulle and has hand-appliqued lace motifs around the edges.  Not having a pattern, I draped the tulle on my daughter and cut it to the length and shape we liked best.  This lace was all leftover from the bits and pieces I had cut from the skirts.

For a final accessory, I hand-wrapped the hydrangea wedding bouquet with white satin ribbon.

This was a difficult, but exciting undertaking.  I was never bored with the project.  We were all pleased with the results.


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  1. grammaterry | | #1

    I love your daughter's dress. It is exquisite and complements her so well. What a fantastic project for you and executed so well. The fit is perfect and the laces are absolutely gorgeous. I can imagine the picture doesn't do it justice!

  2. gazerro | | #2

    Beautiful!!! It is truly a labor of love. Caarolyn

  3. User avater
    PinkerPaws | | #3

    This is just exquisite! What a marvelous creation. Thanks for sharing the construction details.

  4. Minnasews | | #4

    Wow! Lovely!

  5. User avater
    Geerex | | #5

    Very pretty indeed

  6. Piecemaker | | #6

    What parents do for their children! A beautiful, absolutely gorgeous wedding dress. I am in awe~you only had two months to make it happen.

  7. User avater
    Liza115 | | #7

    My, your daughter is a lucky girl indeed. What a beautiful dress that she can pass along to her daughter or granddaughter some day!

  8. markfracs | | #8

    i love itttttttttttttttt


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