Behind the Scenes of a Wedding Dress Alteration

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wedding images courtesy of Photos By Courtney
Courtney Collingsworth Metz is a Cincinnati-based photographer.

I had a massive panic attack the night I went to bed with the dress looking like this. You try taking scissors to a girl's dream dress and see how YOU feel! Yikes.

Imposing a bodice onto the dress like this would never have been possible with a dress constructed from satin. Seams are very obvious with satin which would have required a definite waist line. Not what the bride wanted. With slightly ruched lace and strategic bead-work, I was able to imitate the original column shape so it looked like one continuous sheath without a break at the waistline.  

Finding the perfect lace to match the original design was the initial challenge. I whipped up this bodice using a piece of stretch lace I found in my fabric box. That was a game-changer, right there. We decided on using thirty-one pearl buttons up the back seam of the dress to up the elegance factor. The top twelve buttons are functioning closures, but the remaining buttons are sewn to the dress to disguise the zipper and blend the new bodice with the original dress. 

Next step:  Over 500  individual beads and sequins hand-sewn to the bodice created that glimmery, shimmery effect. Tedious, but oh-so-worth it (and actually, my favorite part of any project). I kept adding beads here and there for days..this was definitely not a "less is more" situation. 

AND DONE. Whew!  After a few fittings and double-checks, the dress is ready to make a grand wedding day appearance.

I used the same scalloped trim around the sleeves and the neckline to pull it all together. I thought it was genius of the bride to choose a veil with the same beaded scallop. All the elements mirror each other, which is huge when the goal of refashioning a dress is to make it look store-bought and not slapped-together.

"The hallmark of a great refashion is that first, you can't look away from the awesomeness, 
and second you keep wondering, "Did she do that herself or did it come like that?"'

The dress is lovely, but the bride is stunning. It was so amazing and terrifying to get to create a dream dress for my sweet and beautiful friend, Sharlenae. You can see more of the bride and her husband travelling with The Collingsworth Family singing group. Their song, It Matters to the Master, is currently on repeat in my playlist. 

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  1. Phew. That deconstructed picture gives me a panic attack. Awesome!

  2. wow. I stressed out just looking at the before and after! You are AMAZING! The end dress is so lovely!

  3. I just have to tell you that this is probably one of the MOST beautiful dresses I have ever seen. Stunning work!

  4. I had a feeling this was your work!! When I saw the dress I did actually wonder if it came that way...THEN I saw you at the wedding & thought to myself...that has to be the "wedding dress" instagram photo I saw you working on the other day!! VERY beautiful & gorgeous work =)

  5. Thank you! I've been a firm believer that there are more elegant alternatives for altering wedding dresses than some I've seen and this just proves it. You're a magician. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Stunning! And I just added the song to my HOly Yoga playlist. Thanks!

  7. This is awesome! The dress is absolutely beautiful, and much nicer than the original, but best of all I congratulate you for such fabulous sewing techniques, completely transforming this lovely dress.

  8. Oh my goodness you are amazing! That dress is stunning. What a blessed bride to have you as a friend! So grateful for the modest beauty that this dress and this bride exude.

  9. wow, I am so impressed! What an absolutely gorgeous makeover! Can't believe you handsewed on 500 little sparklies :) Impressive.


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