Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wedding Dress Adventure: The Final Chapter

Whew!  It's finished with not a moment to spare.  The wedding is in three weeks. My daughter came home for the final fitting and is taking her wedding gown to her home in Virginia for the final cleaning and pressing.  (I won't show the completed dress before the wedding but I will show plenty of wedding pictures after the fact.)

The finished gown
My daughter chose a very plain design – we're talking Amish plain – but that turned out to be a good thing.  It made for very easy sewing.  But there were still challenges.  First, we had to change the original plan of making a simple dress with a lace overdress to add the drama.  The lace overdress stretched and grew like a bias fabric and was impossible to fit.  I now have yards of expensive lace and I don't know what to do with it.  (I know!  Save it for a christening gown!)

So, the design changed from a lace overdress to a lace jacket.  The jacket was a component of the original pattern anyway.  I bought more lace and made the jacket.  The lace was embellished with sequins and beads that had to be removed from the seam allowances before sewing and sewn back in when construction was finished.  Beads that were loosened had to be re-sewn.  Not fun.

The final challenge was bustling the gown.  To quote the panic-stricken Prissy from Gone With the Wind, "I don't know nothin' 'bout bustlin' no wedding gown!"  I pinned up the train as if I were going to over-bustle.  But in my mind, I'd planned to sew ribbons inside (blue for the "something blue") as if I were going to under- bustle. 

Under bustle
Over bustle
Lindsey preferred the look of over bustling. She was concerned that the extra bulk under the dress would trip her up during the bride-groom first dance.  My concern was keeping the bustling invisible.  Since the skirt of the gown is so plain, making the bustling invisible was difficult. My daughter's suggestion was to use safety pins disguised with ribbon.  Her reasoning was, "If someone is petty enough to notice and  criticize ribbon wrapped safety pins, too bad!"  Well, I am petty enough and I couldn't accept her "too bad" attitude.  I strenuously objected to safety pins. We found a compromise.We ended up over bustling, much like the picture above.  I sewed bridal buttons and loops to the outside of the train.  It wasn't invisible, but neither was it obvious.   


I cut the loop yardage into individual loops and sewed them, along with covered bridal buttons, onto the train.  The buttons and loops are not invisible, but the purpose should be evident if one notices the buttons and loops on the train as she walks down the aisle.

So, the wedding gown is finished and what have I learned?  
  • Plans often change.  The gown looks nothing like our original vision.  The adage is true:  MOBs plan - God laughs.
  • Embrace the flexibility needed to deal with the inevitable changes that will occur.  We abandoned the original vision and went the with pattern as designed.  That was probably best.
  • Keep your sense of humor.  Lindsey started humming "Don't Worry, Be Happy" on one occasion when the tension got thick. We both started laughing.  She promised to do that whenever I got too worried.
  • At the end of the day, my daughter will be married.  Lace jacket or overdress, safety pins, ribbons or buttons -- these things are not important in the grand scheme.
  • Although the process was fraught with my self-imposed worry and pressure, it was labor of love.  I was more than happy to do it.


  1. Hurray for you Elaray, what an accomplishment and you should be so very proud. I can't wait to see the pictures of this beautiful gown made with such love.

  2. Congratulations on gettting it done! You will be very proud watching her in the dress.

  3. Isabel's DaughterApril 7, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Can't wait to see it. I know that with your good taste and attention to detail it will be lovely.



  4. So glad you posted this! I was thinking about you today since I knew that the wedding was this month. Glad it all turned out well and I do feel part of this process! She is a lovely girl and I'm glad that it all worked out well. I can't wait to see the MOB dress too! Good wishes to both of you .

    1. I changed the MOB dress, too. I didn't like it once it was made, so I (gasp) bought a dress at David's Bridal.

  5. Congratulations! I can't wait to see the pics!

  6. Wow, the wedding is next weekend? Am sure you will have an absolutely wonderful day. Now my advice to all parents whose child is going to the altar: Get a copy of Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" and laugh your tears away. It's absolutely the best way to prepare for the day.

  7. Love the covered buttons and loops. Brilliant solution!