Tag Archives: altering necklines

Custom Lace Wedding Gowns

Lace Wedding Gowns are really on trend this year and with that in mind, I’d like to share my process for a custom lace gown that I  made recently for a New Year’s Eve wedding.

After consulting with the client, we decided on an ivory beaded Alencon lace re-embroidered with gold thread. The base was a 40mme silk charmeuse, lined in silk habotai. I like to prepare a fabric “sketch” for the client so she can see how the fabrics look and feel together.

Fabric "Sketch"

Fabric “Sketch”

I had to tea dye the English netting to match the ivory of the lace. Shown here are samples of the dyed netting.

Tea-dyed netting

Tea-dyed netting

I used muslin for the toile which worked perfectly for the silk but the lace was so stretchy that I ended up taking it in twice to get the “va-va-voom” fit that the bride desired.

Fitting Toile

Fitting Toile

First, I made the silk sheath and fit it exactly to the bride’s body. We also made sure the neckline was just as we wanted.

Front View of the silk sheath

Front View of the silk sheath

Back View of silk sheath

Back View of silk sheath

The bride wanted the necklines as low as possible but we also had to fit her undergarment.

Next, we added the lace over the silk sheath. This is where I took in the lace twice to get a really close fit.

Lace over silk sheath

Lace over silk sheath

Once I got the fit we wanted, I could finish off the neckline and sleeves.

Close-up of neckline

Close-up of neckline

Then the fun part ~ placing the lace on the skirt of the gown! Here’s the “sketch” with the happy bride. I ended up changing it somewhat in the final so that the design was balanced. It was not a symmetrical lace so it had to look balanced as opposed to symmetrical.

First Fit of the skirt with lace pinned onAnd here is the finished gown!

Front View of gownBack View of gownclose-up of sleeve detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vintage Wedding Dress Updated

When Jennifer brought me  her grandmother’s wedding dress, it really showed the difference between today’s wedding fashions and the styles from 1945. The dress was a knee length sheath made from a beautiful cotton lace. It had a jewel neckline which was way to close to the neck for Jennifer’s taste and it was sleeveless. The hemline probably hit the much shorter grandmother just below the knee. It had yellowed in few places but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. Unfortunately, I did not get any “before” shots this time! Check out more vintage updates on my alterations page.

Jennifer needed the dress re-fit, the neckline changed and the style updated. She had chosen a sheer stretch lace with a raised pattern to add to the dress. The color matched the original dress and the texture was sure to give Jennifer the design she was envisioning.

First, I removed the tight facings and undid the stitching in the shoulders. The dress darts were way higher than they needed to be for our contemporary bride and undoing the shoulders allowed me to drop the dress enough to correct the dart placement. I used the new lace to add a gathered cap sleeve. I changed the jewel neck to a V and lowered the back. Then I reshaped the dress to fit Jennifer’s figure, and shortened it carefully leaving the extra fabric in case the next wearer wanted more length. With vintage garments, you never know who will want to re-use the dress so I like to leave as much of the original as possible.

Close-up of neckline and sleeve.

Close-up of neckline and sleeve.

Once we had the sheath fitting the way we wanted, I added the skirt. She was wearing very high heels and wanted a fun skirt added to the hipline for more of an updated look. We placed the skirt exactly as  needed for Jennifer’s va-va-voom figure. (She fills out the dress much better than my tiny dress form!) It is open in front up to the hemline so it moves out of the way when she walks, and we left a slight sweep train in the back. The skirt can easily be removed if a future bride wants to reuse the dress.

Back View of Dress

Back View of Dress