Member Feature: Creating a Non-Traditional Wedding Dress

Here at the National Sewing Circle, we always love to see what our members are working on. With such a wide variety of sewers in our community, it’s exciting to see all the fun projects being made! Marcia Gold sent us these photos of a non-traditional wedding dress she created for a friend, and you can read her about her design process and experience sewing the dress below!

I volunteered to create a non-traditional wedding dress for a friend who is also a stage performer. She wanted a wedding dress that was eclectic and could be worn for her wedding but also on stage for a performance. As a singer and a college student, she did not have the means to purchase such a dress, so she asked me what I might be able to do for her.

We went through my fabric stash to look and what might work. Eventually, she settled on these coordinating fabrics, mainly because the green of the fabric matched her eyes. I then began to sketch out what the dress would look like using her ideas and my sewing experience.

I took her measurements, as I live in California and my young friend lives in Texas! Using her measurements, I began creating the wedding dress. Because the dress fabric is sheer, I used a stretch metallic gold knit for an underskirt and the lining of the front of the top.

As the top of the dress is shorter than the top of the skirt, the underskirt has a high waistband so skin doesn’t show, more appropriate for a wedding. Additionally, the skirt and sleeves were pleated, with 1-inch pleats. (Though as a performer on stage, that may not be necessary with a pair of nude panties.)

The whole dress consisted of 3 pieces: the top, the skirt, and the underskirt.

The image above is of the back of the top without the chains that hold it together.

The chains could not be attached until my friend tried it on (see below).

I did the final sewing by hand the day before her wedding to connect the gold chains at the back of the top.

This last photo is my friend wearing the dress. She loved it and it looked amazing on her!!

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25 Responses to “Member Feature: Creating a Non-Traditional Wedding Dress”

  1. susan griffin-byrne

    What a beautiful dress! You really came through for an odd request– wedding and stage. Great job.

  2. Pattie

    The dress is absolutely beautiful! Your friend looks so lovely! You are so talented!

  3. Karen W

    What a beautiful job you did! What a wonderful idea to do a non-traditional wedding dress & your simple design is so elegant! (I would need a bit of bust support, so the back would need re-working, for me.) I may have some similar fabrics in my stash that needs re-thinking, since I am no longer belly dancing!

  4. Monica Barnes

    Beautiful dress. Did you intend to design a Lehenga Choli, or is this a coincidence? For those not familiar with Indian clothing, a lenga (skirt) and choli (crop top or blouse) with a dupata (shawl) is a very traditional Indian woman’s outfit and in silk would be suitable for a formal occasion like a wedding. The most traditional color for a bride would be red, but what you have made would attract favorable comments on a guest if completed with a shawl.

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  5. C

    Oh Wow! You did such a great job. The dress looks wonderful and I am sure your friend was thrilled.

  6. Renee

    What a beautiful dress! Your friend looks stunning in your creation. What a lovely gift and execution of your idea. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Ruheena

    You have done a very good job.It is an Indian material for Indian ladies suit. Thus dress can also be made from an Indian Saree which is one piece and is 5.5 yards long and 45 ” wide.

  8. Kathy Strouth

    This is absolutely beautiful. I wish I had the paper pattern for it in my size for evening wear and for my granddaughter’s performance on stage for Big Sandy Idol in March of 2018.

  9. Peggy Riordan

    Truly stunning! The fabric is beautiful as well as the underskirt fabric even though it isn’t seen. I am wondering how long she has been sewing, where did she get the material and if she used a pleating foot to make them. Thanks and Congrats to the bride as well!!

    • MARCIA

      Thank you!
      I started sewing when I was about 8 or 9. Sewing doll clothes by hand. My mother allowed me to use her sewing machine when I was about 14. I didn’t pick up “real” sewing until I was 25, out of college, working, but still inventing and experimenting with style and techniques.
      The top of the dress was a modification of a McCall’s pattern for a short sleeve top. I had to take the sleeve pattern, cut it into pieces and spread it to get the fullness with 1″ pleats, leaving the underarm width un-adjusted. The skirt was simply 3 (or so) yards of fabric pleated into a 27″ waist with an overlap at the left side. I didn’t use a pleating foot, though—I don’t own one, so I did it all by hand!
      I purchased both the green fabrics about twenty years ago at a store in Mountain View, CA that I think is now out of business. I’d kept them for years but never found a use for them until my friend picked them out of my fabric stash…

  10. Kathy Larzelere

    A few years ago I was asked to make a Late Victorian wedding dress. The young lady was going to be married in a church located as part of the local historical society’s reconstructed Civil War/Victorian village. It was a lot of work but turned out splendid (including the corset) and she was very happy! There is a picture on my website under the “Weddings” category. The other picture was a somewhat less complicated Victorian “maid of honor” gown I did for a young lady in New Zealand.

  11. Patricia Graef

    Absolutely love, love, love this wedding dress. The bride looks very eloquent.

    • Cathy

      I think you mean elegant otherwise you are saying that she would be a good speaker at the wedding.

  12. Nancy

    What a sweet friend you are to make something so special for your friend. It is beautiful on her!