Creating my Mom's Wedding Dress

Creating my Mom's Wedding Dress

Last weekend, Arlen and I flew out to Las Vegas to attend my mom's wedding. It was a very special, intimate event that I was proud to share with my mother and her soon-to-be-husband.

Prior to us flying out, I was spending lots of hours actually crafting the dress that my mom planned to wear- a complete surprise to her fiance! She had told him that the dress she planned on wearing was going to be an alteration of a Lilly Pulitzer dress I had purchased for her back when I worked as an intern at their King of Prussia offices.

We kept the ruse up pretty well, even though a few months prior, I accidentally let it slip that I was creating her dress (yikes!). But we quickly recovered by reiterating that I was recreating her garment from the preexisting one.

There wasn't much time to create her dress. We purchased fabrics in July but I also had three other wedding parties to complete within the same time frame. So I set out to work! For those of you who have been following along on my Instagram, you all have seen where the project began: With this McCall's M7279 pattern.

I love this pattern simply because it is a standard block. It comes in multiple sizes and you can easily manipulate the pattern to be whatever your heart desires, and my heart desired a beautiful dress for my mom!

I traced out her size based on her measurements and got to tweaking.


For my mom's bodice, she wanted a beautiful V-Neck design with a low back comprised of sheer tulle. Altering the front bodice was really easy as all I needed to change was the shoulder width and the neckline. For the back bodice, I had to do a little more altering, mainly for the underlayers that were to provide support for the front bodice. I drew up a quick illustration of what I changed:

This is the basic block pattern I started with.


And this is what I wound up changing in the bodice as well as all the layers I had to cut.


Because this was a backless design, I also had to go in to a corset layer and add boning to help add support that a bra typically would supply. I basically wound up building a bra into the front bodice, complete with underwire and padding. It's crazy how much is hiding in between all the layers of material!


The bottom half of my mom's dress was definitely the most time intensive portion. It consisted of 4 layers of tulle skirting, plus 2 lining layers, and a million gussets/ godets we wound up adding for extra va-va-volume! Plus, each skirt layer was comprised of between 13-14 seams if I am doing my math correctly. It was all worth it though because the shape came out exactly how we envisioned it!


The last part of this project included sewing in lots and lots of lace. We started with 2 yards of lace that was made into one solid fabric piece. I wound up cutting individual motifs from that larger piece so that I had greater control of the way it was shaped to the dress form. I attempted adding a second type of dainty lace to the dress, but upon waking up the next morning I found that the two lace colors were totally different- yikes! 

I did attempt to tea stain the lighter of the two laces, but the stain wound up coming out much darker than the original, so I just scrapped it all together and stuck with using one lace for the entire garment.

Sporting my favorite Hudson Pants and hand sewing the day away!


Forgive the crookedness of this image- my poor mannequin has seen better days!

Overall, I think my mom was really happy with her dress. I know that I got really emotional when she put the dress on for her big day. She just looked so beautiful and happy! And that definitely translated to the ceremony. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the chapel (we snuck one in at the very end), but as I walked my mom down the aisle to give her away, I saw her soon-to-be husband holding back a lot of joyful emotion.

I am so excited for the next chapter in their lives and am honored to have been a part of such a special day! If my mom and Matt are reading this, I hope you both know how much I love you guys and how incredibly happy I am for both of you! You both compliment as well as contrast each other in the best of ways and I know you will each continue to grow and build each other up for so many years to come!


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