Formals & More

Posts Tagged ‘wedding gowns

The “Pearls & Lace” gown (official name) is almost finished. All that remains is the draped beading cross the back. Maybe this weekend . . .  I will show a couple bits and pieces, but until I have it done, that is all you get!

OK  – that’s it for now! Keep checking back – should have more pics up soon!

I will say that I LOVE this dress! Very light weight, feminine, elegant. Everything a bridal gown should be. Pearls & Lace . . .


Recently, I have had the immense pleasure to do some alteration work on some of the most beautiful wedding gowns I have ever seen! If you are not familiar with Matthew Christopher Wedding Gowns, check him out here –

The most recent gown I have worked on, I fortunately only had to do a bustle on. I say fortunately, because this is one dress I really wouldn’t want to have to tear apart and put back together. Even the bustle was a challenge. We ended up having to call Matthew  up and get his suggestion on the best way to bustle it. Ofcourse, his suggestion worked like  charm. The difficulty was in the weight of the train.

The gown is composed of bias strips of satin and organza, wrapped around diagonally, and hand sewn to the dress. The strips are what adds so much weight to the dress – it’s like quilting strips! Between the sections of strips, the gown is beautifully embroidered and beaded, which adds additional weight to an already heavy dress.

Here, you can see the back of this exquisite gown; although it is difficult to see the beading or the hand sewn bias strips that make up the train.

You can see it a little better here. The embroidery is so amazing because, in most wedding gowns I have worked on, any embroidery is done on the fabric before it is sewn together into the dress – usually to be appliqued onto the dress after construction. But not on Matthew Christopher’s gowns! If you look closely, you will see that the embroidery in done directly on the dress – after construction.

Finally, here you can see the bustle – lousy picture though it is! It would look much better if  the dress were on a dress form that was taller, and would let the dress fall more naturally. Because of the position and weight of the bias strips on the train, it could not be drawn up directly in the center of the back, but needed to be drawn up at an angle, to the left side. It is held in place with 3 sets of color-coordinated gross-grain ribbons that are an inch apart. If you look closely, you will see that the bustle is not centered. I was also concerned that (because of the weight) the 3 gross-grain ribbons may not hold, so I also added a 1″wide satin wrist hold, which I padded lightly with flannel. I figured that if the bride does have to use it to hold the train up, the flannel padding would prevent the train weight from dragging on the wrist and hurting her.

So, why have I shared all this with you? Because, on June 4th and 5th, 2010, Matthew Christopher will be having a Trunk Show at Etains Bridal Boutique, in Tyrone, Ga.  I hope you will post this to any brides who may be interested in coming to see his gorgeous gowns! Even if the bride already has her dream gown, these are worth seeing in person! If you re interested in ordering one of Matthews gowns, the ladies at Etains would be happy to take your appointment to have Matthew himself do your fitting!  Check out Etains website here –  then give them a call to set up an appointment to see Matthew next weekend.

Personally, I can’t wait to ask him a few questions of my own about the construction of these works of art!!

I am trying to get more view time of my etsy shop and realizedI could do it here! I really want to sell a couple of these wedding gowns! The Feather Fantasy gown and the Blossom Gown are my favorites! Especially the Feather Fantasy! It is so unique and beautiful! So take look and share with everyone you know!

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32 years ago, tomorrow, I married my high school sweetheart! I was only 19, and he was a mere 20. But we were so in love, and nobody could tell us it wasn’t the forever kind. Well, some did try. But – and I love to say this with my nose in the air just a bit- here we are today; still together, still in love, still eachothers’ sweethearts.

I spent 9 months creating my wedding dress. I used different parts from 5 different patterns. The dress I had wanted was way out of my meager price range, and after spending several hours in the fabric store with my (future) mother in law, and a calculator (well,actually, it was a pencil and  a tablet) we figured out I could make it- only better – for only $150. I learned a lot of sewing lessons from the creation of this dress. And I learned a lot of patience. I also learned what a genius of a seamstress my mother in law was. I was living with my future in laws at the time while my sweetheart was in school elsewhere. She helped me through most of the project, but ultimately, it was my dress, created by me. Of all the dresses I have made since, none give me such pride as this one. It was a labor of love . . . and it still fits!  My wedding gown

I used 12 yards each of satin, and a satin faced organza. I purchased 45 yards of french lace that was cut into strips to make the layers of ruffled lace at the bottom of the dress and at the neckline and on the sleeves. I also made a wired hoop and tulled petticote to wear under it (although neither is shown in the picture). Unbelieveably, it isn’t lined! It has a 5 foot train, with 3 rows of the ruffled lace that goes all the way around. I hung it from a chandelier, over the round dining room table to pin the lace ruffles ( which were gathered by hand). The most difficult part of the whole dress was the invisible zipper! They continue to be the bane of my sewing experience, even to this day.

So, 32 years later, I plan to get my dress out again, maybe try it on again for memories sake, and spend some time with my wonderful loving husband.

It has been a crazy busy week, with more to come just like it! The bathroom that I use for storage of gowns and dresses to be worked on, is stuffed full, even though I am moving them to the spare bedroom as I finish themand they await pick-up. I have the dress bags hanging from my dress rack (yes, it’s in the shower), from doorways, and even windows in another room. I am currently starting and finishing a  dress a day just to keep up. I have an unbelievable number of last minute brides this year! Brides – WHY DO YOU WAIT TILL 1 WEEK BEFORE THE WEDDING BEFORE GETTING YOUR ALTERATIONS SCHEDULED????? However, the good news is that – somehow, and unbelievably – I seem to be gaining. Just a bit, but enough that today I was able to take time to get groceries!! First time in over a week! I also took time to wash the pollen off my car (finally), run a dust cloth over the pollen accumulating on my furniture, catch up on e-mails, and bake a batch of cookies. Well, they came from refridgeted dough. Does that count? And my naughty dog ate half of them.

Body bags in the shower.Body bags hanging from the window sil.Hanging from the door ledge.

Lying in wait in the spare bedroom.

 I also finished a dress order from my store at Etsy, and got it sent off.


Front of Melanie's Ivory Beaded Chiffon Dress

Back of Melanie's Ivory Beaded Chiffon Dress

Funny story – in washing my car today – keep in mind I have a mustang convertible. I was cleaning the inside ( where thepollen had also accumulated) and ran in the house to grab a trash bag. I had left the doors open on the car, and when I came back out, I had 1 german shepard in the back seat, laying down, one very big german shepard trying to sit in the front passenger seat, and my lazy assistant, EmmaGrace (cute cat) sitting in the drivers seat! They all just looked at me,as if to say, ” We are ready, where have you been? Lets go!” Where is the camera when you really need it?

I also took the time to get registered for the upcoming ASG conference, scheduled to be here in Atlanta in August. I’ve never been to this one befor, but after inquiries made on PR, I decided to take the plunge. Signed up for classes every day. I was so disappointed in the Sewing Expo this year, I was ready to just toss the registration info on this one. Hope I am not disappointed.

So, as you can see, I don’t sleep much these days. As they say though, I can sleep when I’m dead!


Let’s try this yet again. Yes – it’s my 6th try. I spent about 5 hours the other night trying to get my photos uploaded neatly on here. Had multiple problems. I don’t know if it’s me or the site. They just don’t want to load on here nicely. They end up all over the page in all different sizes.

Anyway- finally got the photos on Saturday. Not as happy with them as I had hoped to be. Can only use about half. The one dress I specifically asked multiple pictures of – I got one. From the back. They will have to do for now. Until I can afford to actaully pay someone to do it. I guess you get what you pay for, huh? Ok- so here goes (again!).

Jasmine Couture from Etaine Bridal


This is a Jasmine Couture Dress from Etaine Bridal in Tyrone, GA. It is an organza gown with pleating and beading at the bodice.

"Blossom" full length


This is one of my gowns;  I call it “Blossom” for the hand appliqued and beaded silk flower blossoms that circle the hemline, and gently frame the waistline and bodice.

My "Blossom" gown


Here is another, closer view of “Blossom”. You an see the detail a bit easier here.

My "White Tea Rose" dress


This is another of my dresses – “White Tea Rose”. It is a tea length chiffon dress with a lace inset waist, and finished with a black satin ribbon at thewaist. It has a full attached crinoline.

Matthew Christopher's "Lily"


Matthew Christopher is one of my favorite designers. His “Lily” has intricate lines to contour the curves a womans body. Just gorgeous! Available at Etaine Bridal.

Disney Princess gown from Etaines Bridal


A full ballgown – princess style! From Kirstie Kelly’s Disney Princess Line. Available at Etaine Bridal.

A lovely Justin Alexander tea length gown. Heavily beaded bodice, very full crinoline under an organza skirt. Very Audrey Hepburn style! From Etaine Bridal.

A lovely lace gown by Cymbeline, from Etaines Bridal


This beautiful gown from Cymbeline, is actually 2-pieces! It has a ‘slip’ under-dress, and the lace over-dress. Very feminine and delicate. From Etaine Bridal.

"Blush" a beaded lace and pink silk gown


I named this gown “Blush” for the unique color of teh silk and lace. Not quite pink, but definetely not ivory! The lace bodice is beaded with ivory pearling, and the left shoulder strap is an embroidered and beaded trim that seperates into 2 straps that divide across the back.

We called this the "Cupcake" dress; from Etaines Bridal


LOVE this fun dress! An alternative to the traditional wedding gown. A Justin Alexander from Etaine Bridal.

Classic Ivory Rose


In the forefront is my “Classic Ivory Rose”, shown here with a black sash. It also can be made with an ivory Organza sash, silk doupioni sash (color of choice) or an oversize silk tafetta sash.

In the background, is a lovely Renella gown of silk charmuese; from Etaine Bridal.

My beautiful flowergirls!


 These are our two lovely and sweet flower girls! Aren’t they adorable!

Feather Fantasy


And Finally!! Here is my “Feather Fantasy”. Just the back, so I will also post some of the photos of it I took in my sewing studio. I love this dress!!!

Here is a full front view. Sorry it’s a bit blurry. The other photos are better!

Anotherview of the back. Again – sorry for the blur!

This is a pretty good view of the front bodice. Don’t you love the line details!!

The back again – a little less blurry!

So – that’s my show! There were lots more dresses (32 in all), but, as I said earlier, these were the only ones worth using.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

OK – I just ‘previwed’ this post. The wording  and photos have become un-aligned (again), but it’s better than it was and I truelly dont know how to fix it. It looks fine when I type and insert on the edit page. When it goes to publish everything goes all caddywampus. I give up! Hopefully you can make distinctions between the photos with the descriptions I wrote. Good luck!

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