A simple, all-over lace, strapless dress.

Haley's story:

Haley came to me with her idea ready to go. The day we met I knew I was going to love working with her because there is nothing easier than working with someone who knows exactly what they want! She knew she wanted a strapless, all-over lace dress, similar to one she tried on at a boutique. The first order of business (which is what I thought would be the most difficult part of the dress) was finding the perfect lace. Haley traveled up to Portland's Mill End Store and found her lace! 

Once the lace was purchase and cleaned (it had a few marks) I began cutting out the complicated pieces. Haley's dress looks simple but was anything but simple. When you have such large lace it's similar to putting a puzzle together when sewing the pieces. The goal of the dress is to look flawless without seams cutting off the shapes of the lace, and it's quite the challenge!

Luckily, I love a challenge and we had enough lace to work with! 

Having a strapless dress custom made requires numerous fittings and Haley was a joy to spend time with. She would ride up to my house on her bike looking like the quintessential northwest girl full of smiles and ready to stand for her (sometimes very long) fittings. 

Below are a few pictures of her 'final fittings' in my home before she left with the dress. I shot these right from my iPhone...It was bittersweet saying good bye to her and her amazing dress! In the end, I loved the challenge of her fabric and if you look carefully the hem is my finest achievement...there are at least 8 hours of hand sewing (while 24 weeks pregnant) in that hem!

Haley got married outside August 22, 2015 and I teared up when I saw her wedding photos. Enjoy a few of my favorite shots from her extremely talented wedding photographer, Ali Smith of Thistledown Photography.

Haley, thank you so much for letting me create your wedding gown! 

Breanna's Story...

I have to be honest and start Breanna's story by stating that she is my sister (step-sister to be exact but who cares). One might think that makes it easy having your sister as your client but I think I pressured myself to make sure her dress was perfect. Did I mention she lives in Wisconsin and I live in Oregon? We strategically used holidays for me to visit and get fittings in. It was fun and when I needed to do some fittings in Oregon I had a few friends similar to her size. 

Breanna wasn't sure about what she wanted at first so we did a trip to David's Bridal to try on gowns. After awhile she fell in love with the bottom part of a Vera Wang for David's Bridal dress. Breanna knew she wanted a strapless bodice with gathering and so I pieced together the bottom full of sheer layers with a gathered sweetheart neckline and she approved the final design.

 

Piecing the ideas together.

My original sketch and body measurements.

The gallery below shows a visual story of the dress from beginning to the final fitting. 

Sketch of the final design.

Breanna's dress took about 80 hours of work to complete.

Other than the understructure the entire dress was hand sewn, weighed around 6 pounds and had approximately 25 yards of fabric. It fit her like a dream and I was so proud to see her walk down the aisle. 

lllustration by Marianne Dickson

Jennie's Design 

When I met Jennie she was fairly sure of the design she wanted. We talked and after a few sketches were traded back and forth she finalized her dress with a form fitting silhouette and angled layers cascading down the side. 

I had so much fun getting to know Jennie at each of her fittings. She was so patient with me as I tried to get the layers to fall perfectly down her legs. She stood for hours while I worked! Luckily she brought her phone and used the time to get some work done!

 

Jennie is an outdoor woman with an incredibly toned back (thanks to rock climbing) and I love how she chose a design to complement her features. When she sent me the final pictures from her wedding I was so proud of how the dress complimented her simple outdoor style and made her look so stunning on her wedding day! 

The slideshow features a few shots I took of Jennie at her final fitting along with some original sketches before her final design was decided.

Jaimie's backless lace dress. 

I have known Jaimie for over 20 years. She is my best friend and I was so honored when she asked me to make her dress. Jaimie wanted a vintage style lace dress to hug her curves and show off her back. She lives in Denver and it was a challenge scheduling fittings but we played with our schedules and made it work. 

One of the challenges of Jaimie's dress was finding the perfect petticoat shape to help accent the bottom of the dress. I had to cut out the back of the petticoat to make up for how deep her back opened. She was extremely patient as I hand sewed the entire back opening of the lace to fit all the curves of her back. When the dress was finally finished we had so much fun laughing and taking goofy pictures of her in the dress! 

I attended her wedding and was blown away at how beautiful she looked in person and in the pictures below. Enjoy!

Photo by Marianne Dickson

Photo by Marianne Dickson

Photo by Marianne Dickson

Photo by Marianne Dickson

The slideshow features a few pictures I took of Jaimie at her final fitting. The last photo shows the Panda patch she asked me to sew inside of her dress.

My dress.

 

 

Of course constructing wedding dresses for a living meant I had to make my own dress when the time came. In October 2014, I married my best friend in a dress I made with some fitting help from a dear friend, Morgan Orr.

My dress was composed of a bottom layer skirt and sheer over layer with lace, flowers, vines, butterflies, and bird embroidery on the sheer back. I love adding a little personal touch to dresses, therefore I dip dyed the bottom of my underskirt yellow. I used a bunch of scrap pieces of lace that I saved from both of my sister's wedding dresses (Yep, made both of them!) to finish up the top. It took me about 40 hours total to complete the dress and I was sure to show my father all the birds I put on there for him (he has a bird thing!).

My bridesmaids... 

 

Some pictures of my fitting and piecing the embroidery together.