Friday, January 31, 2014

Custom Wedding Dress: Beaded Leaf Gown

This past summer I was contacted about making a custom-fitted wedding gown for a client in Australia.  She’d been following my blog for a while and remembered the Beaded Leaf Gown that I made way back in the 9th grade.  [If you follow the link  - you know that moment when you look back on an old diary page and think, "I can't believe I wrote like that!"?  Well I just had that moment.  Please don't judge my middle school writing style too harshly.  Haha I was only 14-years-old at the time.] 

She asked if I could remake the Beaded Leaf Gown into a wedding dress her size.  I'd already wanted to remake this dress, because there were a lot of kinks in the construction of the first design.   This time I was able to sew it without any of the technical problems that I ran into when I first made it.  Therefore, when she asked me to make it for her wedding dress I was excited with the idea of recreating it! 
As I can remember, my inspiration was layered leaves.  The bodice is in the shape of a maple leaf, as well as the leaves around the skirt waistline.  The skirt leaves are inspired by elongated leaves that are each cut separately and then sewn into the waistline of the skirt overlay.  There is beading along all of the skirt leaves and two of the waistline side leaves.  This is to give a subtle emphasis to the leaf shape. 
The invisible zipper was sewn into the back.  Because I had panels of leaves overlapping each other along the waistline, I added hooks and eyes in the back of the panel so they could overlap the zipper and flow like the rest of the dress.
All of the appliqué on the front bodice was hand sewn on top of tulle into the pattern of a maple leaf.  Each piece of appliqué is about 2 inches in diameter.  Once it was hand sewn I lined up the tulle darts with the bodice darts, and hand sewed the tulle down into the bodice fabric, because doing so gives a better fit without warping or sagging.   [This was an issue that I had with my first dress - I sewed the appliqué onto tulle without sewing darts first. ]
The applique in this gown is actually cut up pieces from this 1980s dress that I got at Goodwill on 50%off day way back in middle school.  I was really happy when I found a photo of the same dress online just to see the before and after!   
Overall, the construction of this dress took about 150 hours to make.  What I find funny is that if you look back at my post from 2010, I've really learned to enjoy hand sewing and fine detail work since then.  It's something that I look forward to in designing now.  It’s funny to look back on that post; considering the title is, "Never want to hand sew again!!"  Ha
 The gown was packed and shipped to Australia in the beginning of January.  This was my first wedding gown that I made for someone, and I feel like I learned so much about the process! 

41 comments:

  1. Wow. Just wow. that is absolutely divine! Awesome job Esther!

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  2. wow its beautiful! Wish id contacted you now for mine ;) Its good you've learned new skills and to enjoy using hand sewing more! I cant wait to see where you go in your career! i know im going to be lining up to get something ;)

    Hayley xx
    www.addictionstoshopping.blogspot.com

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  3. It looks so beautiful. I would be interested in how you did the fitting with the client living in Australia – did she just sent you all of her measurements or did you even make a test garment to sent to her?

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    1. Thank you so much!! To answer your question - yes I had her send a full list of measurements and from there I drafted a pattern according to the measurements that she gave me. I didn't have time to make a test garment, but from the custom work that I've done in the past, I know that my drafting style usually comes out true to size. If there are any issues I sent extra lace along with the dress just in case she needed to make adjustments. Hopefully it'll all be fine though!

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  4. So pretty! Lots of work you did! The bride will look very beautiful in this gown!

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  5. This is so stunning. I can't get over it. I love it so much!

    Amanda x
    www.rhymeandribbons.com

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  6. this gown is stunning!! seriously so beautiful, bravo!
    xo,
    maddie

    http://feelingmagenta.blogspot.com/

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  7. Thanks for sharing! You are CRAZY...in the best possible way. That gown is awesome and so inspiring. Also, I understand your feelings about looking back at past posts, but it doesn't feel that way to us when we look back at your past posts--you still seem professional and crazy-amazing, even in your 14-year-old version, so keep up the good work! Congratulations on your first wedding dress commission. I bet there will be more to come!

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  8. Absolutely exquisite! Wow. Words don't seem like quite enough... Keep up the fantastic work!

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  9. So glad this opportunity came for you to do what you love to do!

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  10. Holy cow! This is amazing! I'm seriously impressed!

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  11. So gorgeous! The before photo cracks me up too.

    Anna Sui needs to watch out, you rival her, seriously.

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  12. This dress is just exquisite!
    I'm currently in muslin stage for making my wedding dress and I was considering hand beading on tulle as an option.
    Now that I've seen just incredible it can look all sewn up I'm much more inclined to take this option!
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful dress!

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  13. Stunning! I hope the bride might let us see photos of her big day wearing the dress?,

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    1. Thank you Jo! I hope so too, I'll definitely be posting photos if the bride is comfortable with me sharing!

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  14. Wonderful work. I love how you hid the zipper.

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  15. The dress is beautiful, great work!

    Love,
    Tania
    http://inspiremyfancy.blogspot.com

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  16. What an inspiration! This is absolutely gorgeous. Makes me want to get back into sewing and learn more about fashion design.

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  17. You continue to amaze me. I went and read your post about your first wedding dress and was truly astonished at your ability at such a young age. I have really enjoyed the glimpses you have given us through your blog. I am always glad to see that there is a new post from you in my feed. :) I must say that I LOVE the hemline on the first dress. I imagine that the movement in the skirt was awesome. Keep up the great work! I am so jealous of those folks who have one of your creations to cherish. :)

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  18. Lovely wedding gown, Esther. You must feel elated by the beauty of your creation and the joy it will bring the bride. Congratulations!

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  19. i am so astounded at your ability.
    not to mention, your creativity.

    such a lovely creation, esther from the sticks….

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  20. absolutely beautiful! I hope the bride loves it! It looks lovely with the snow! Pity we dont get any here!

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  21. Esther, this is absolutely gorgeous! Funny how times change, right?

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  22. Hi
    Great post I'm a plus size Bride getting married in 8 days and I found my dress at Alfred Angelo. They had my size in stock and I got to try my dress on and have the true Bridal experience.

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  23. This is gorgeous! I hope the bride shares some photos so we can see how the dress looks on!

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  24. What an amazing dress! That is one lucky bride!

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  26. You must be very patient artist to create dress like this, great job !

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  27. Wow you are so talented! That dress is breathtaking!

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  28. Hi
    wish I could wear my dress at least once a month! :))) I think the online thing works great when you have your kind of attitude. I'm happy you got the look you wanted. I love weddings LOL.

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  29. It is just absolutely stunning! Considering I was with you when you constructed your first garment - you've come a long way! :) I'm so proud of you - all of your hard work and perseverance is showing!

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  31. Gorgeous!!! It's so beautiful with the snow in the background.

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  32. It's a loved garment! i rattling same the emblem.
    I enjoy elfin ruffles on both things, nevertheless most ruffles at a emotional an overweening assets of on behalf of me, and that i equivalent single-edged ruffles over oracular, thus i might most liable reach these off too.Wedding Dress
    From vigil the graph tender, it is not easy to rush those ruffles aligned... the instance ruffles are not utterly perpendicular or utterly situated either.

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  33. I am so excited to see the new collection of wedding dresses that created by Vera Wang. Vera uses stuffs that are comfortable, luxurious and rich to detail such as beading.

    Vera Wang Wedding Dresses

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  34. I suggest that you go close the front of the church and take the pictures at an angle and not front on. But front on would be nice also if it doesn't get to much in the way.

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