Wedding in the Woods

02Jun09

Pre-Ceremony

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of contributing to the celebration of my friends Stephen and Mary’s wedding ceremony.  Mary entrusted me with the creation of her gown and Stephen enlisted me as his stylist.

Mary and I started discussions of the dress in November after she had tried on a dress which had some elements she liked, but didn’t cry out to her as The Dress.  She especially liked that it had fabric strips that wrapped around the waist and folded over each other to become a train.  Working with that, we looked for a way to incorporate the fabric wraps into the overall design of her gown.  While researching various wrapping options, an Oscars dress with an asymmetrical wrapping pattern caught my eye.  Using these dresses as inspiration, we developed the final design in a champagne silk dupioni with a crinkle chiffon overlay.

This was a rewarding dress to work on not only because it brought so much joy to Mary on her wedding day, but also because it presented some novel design challenges.  Since we knew the dress would be in a light color, have a train, and be worn in the woods, Mary was concerned about the dress getting dirty by the end of the night.  We looked to an Ombré dyeing technique to bring in some color on the train and at the bottom of the dress to mask any dirt that might collect on it.  Plus, the color we chose to dye it had the added benefit of coordinating with her tattoo and hair.  After the ceremony, Mary draped the light-weight train over her arm and eventually I braided it to keep it off of the ground as she danced.

Another problem to solve was due to the wrapping pattern of the chiffon overlay which circled her body several times in some cases.  I had to experiment with a few different iterations of zipper placement and wrapping order to achieve the effect.  I then created a fake knot for the wraps to snap into after we zipped her up. We also discovered at an early fitting that the wraps wanted to shift around a bit as she moved.  To counter this, I delicately hand-stitched each wrap (making sure to hide the stitches under the transparent chiffon) to ensure that they stayed exactly where we wanted them!

Both Mary and I were ecstatic about the final gown.  We collaborated in the creation of a dress that was not only beautiful on its own, but truly fit her personality and style.  The day of the wedding, I got the best compliment of all:  her new husband thanked me and told me that I had done her justice.

Enjoy some candid shots from the wedding.  Shortly, the professional wedding photos will be available, and I’ll make sure to share those with you, too. Coming up:  A post detailing Stephen’s outfit.

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16 Responses to “Wedding in the Woods”

  1. 1 Art Directors R Us

    So, considering the even graduation you got with the ombre dye job, I’m guessing you just added more water to the mix and left the gown at a fixed height (instead of following the el stupido method in the guide). We didn’t send you to MIT for nothing!

    • i actually used a very similar method to the one in the linked page. i just kept the entire skirt really wet to encourage more bleeding and took the time to dip it dozens of times. your method seems like it would work well if i didn’t want the dye to fade completely at the top.

  2. 3 rif

    This is totally amazing. I had no idea you were doing clothes designing now. I am amazed and impressed.

  3. 4 Jackie H

    Wow, stunning!!!

  4. 5 Grace Dang

    The dress is very beautiful. I can appreciate the ideas, planning, and creativity going into it. You are very talented!

  5. 6 Mimi

    Wow. I just saw photos of Mary’s dress. She looked (and always looks) spectacular. I met her at a dinner party and then an intimate storytelling event. She is so sweet and genuine and so is this dress!

    If I ever decide to get married, I would love for you to make my dress. You are very talented!

  6. 7 elana

    mary’s dress was gorgeous (i was at the wedding!) i couldn’t stop talking about how one of her friends made her dress. amazing…i wish you made mine!

  7. Beautiful, beautiful dress! It reminds me of Gwen Stefani’s Galliano wedding dress with the pink ombre!

  8. Highly original dress and the forest setting is touching as well. I really like your construction and would like to know where on that dress a zip could fit?

    • i ended up putting the zipper i the left side seam. since i was tacking the wraps in place, i wanted to choose a spot for the zip which would allow me to stitch the most down. it was also hidden by the wraps there – a bonus!

  9. Your talent & insight into creating amazes me. A beautiful God-given gift.

  10. 12 Tamar

    This is LOVELY! I’m curious about a construction aspect. You said “I then created a fake knot for the wraps to snap into after we zipped her up.” Do you have any photos that would show that portion of the dress so I could see just how that worked?

  11. 13 mosaicus

    This is so beautiful!

  12. 14 Bonnie

    That dress is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen and I adore every detail of it.

  13. 15 Erika

    JEALOUS!!! I am getting married next year and have always had this fantasy of having a dress that fades into a bright blue at the bottom. Seriously have talked about it for years. After a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to happen and ended up buying a dress that is all white and boring! If I didn’t think I would totally screw it up…I would try dying it but let’s be honest…disaster! Plus I am sure it can’t be done with any ol’ dress or fabric. Are there specific rules when it comes to the bias and whatnot?

    Regardless of totally being jealous…the dress is GORGEOUS! I am blown away! And may have to get more info from you on custom work. I can always take my dress back or sell it right? 🙂

    Bravo Jessica!!!!

  14. I am also going to be dip dyeing my fit and flare wedding dress yellow on the bottom so this entry is SO helpful. Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding and your beautiful dress!


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