Wedding dress

I've made quite a few dresses since I've restarted sewing, most of which don't get worn very often, unfortunately.  So why not my wedding dress? It won't be a traditional wedding so I don't want a traditional dress. A year or so ago I found some green sequined fabric at Gorgeous Fabrics, and I decided, I think when I get married I'll wear green sequins.
I bought 3 yards and put it in my forward to this past fall, when I realized (after having more experience working with sequins) that these dense, reversible sequins would be a challenging choice, to say the least. Some might say a poor choice.  So while at Fabric Outlet on my birthday shopping trip I found some beautiful green sequins (with bonus stretch) that I knew would be much better to work with.  I also wanted to make sure I had enough fabric - the pattern I chose, the Sew Over It Betty dress, is a fabric hog.  The pattern called for 4 yards, and I only had 3 of the other kind of sequins.
They reflect blue and yellow in the light.
For the pattern I knew I had to keep it simple because of the sequins - not too many seams or details or it would be a disaster.  It also wouldn't be necessary - the sequins are the star of the show. I knew I wanted something fit and flare, so I chose the Betty Dress, using the add-on of the scoop neck with sleeves (February in California is still February). I hadn't made this pattern before, but nothing I had prior sewing experience with was a good candidate considering the fabric. So I made a muslin - three in fact!!

My eventual series of alterations:
Went from a size 12 to a size 10.
Moved the bust dart point up 1".
Added 1" to the bodice length.
Added about 1" to the shoulder width - as it was it was sliding off my shoulders and showing bra straps.
Took 2" off of the skirt length.
Removed about 1/4 of the fullness from the circle skirt.
Went from the 3/4 sleeve to an elbow sleeve to an eventual short sleeve!

Never in my life have I made 3 muslins of anything. And never shall I again!

This dress isn't necessarily meant to be lined, but again - sequins.  The backing is actually quite sturdy, not just a mesh but a substantial knit backing, but for comfort I lined it with some inexpensive but silky smooth polyester interlock jersey from Cali Fabrics.
Tailor's tacks before I realized I could just mark the dart points with a Sharpie. I was feeling couture for a moment!
Then to the sequins!! I use a rotary cutter with a fresh blade to cut the sequins from the wrong side.

These were smaller sequins, so I skipped the process of removing them from the seam allowances because I hate doing it. And my needle goes right thru the small sequins so why bother.  I used a 90/14 ballpoint and everything was just fine.
Ringo loves to lurk around the cutting table when there is fabric all over the place.
Trimming the bulk from the darts.
Stay-stitching right thru the sequins.
I did change my needle halfway thru the day, after my learning experience with needles.  I sewed the dress as instructed but put a full lining in it instead of a facing. To attach the lining to the back zipper I used this method from Sewaholic.

In the end, I tried the dress on while Tim pinned the back so I would know exactly where to place the zipper.  I ended up taking in quite a bit from the upper back - this makes the V-shape of the lower back slightly less exaggerated, since my zipper actually starts about 1.5" away from the lowest part of the V.  If that makes sense.  Also, somehow, some way, even though my zipper matched perfectly at the top of the center back it was off a bit at the waistline.  Probably because I had to take it in so much. I decided to leave it as I wasn't unpicking a zipper from the sequins.
Slight mismatch at waist seam. Decided to leave it. This is before the lining has been added.
I also had to go back and pick out some individual sequins away from the invisible zipper to make raising and lowering the zip easier.
I turned the lining to the inside and that was it. The sleeves and bottom hem are unfinished. The lining is understitched and it actually stays tucked in pretty well considering the weight of the sequins.
Photos from the big day:

And we somehow found a green wall in SF on a dark rainy night!

Overall I love this dress - I loved my version, and it's a really nice pattern that I could see myself making again for a special occasion.  I got a ton of compliments, even later in the evening while wearing my jacket, from people who just thought it was a great sparkly skirt.  Which made me think I need a full sequin skirt in my closet.......


  1. Congratulations on your marriage. Love the dress.
    I've also enjoyed the needle, thread, and fabric close ups.

  2. You look gorgeous, fitted that dress to perfection! I am new to all of this and finding it a bit of a nightmare to fit the Betty bodice!

    1. I'm glad I made a muslin (I often don't, I just use the flat pattern measurements) - the bust darts were way off and I love the wide neckline but on me it was almost off the shoulder, so yes, it did take some work!! The upside is that it's an easy sew with just darts and shoulder/side seams. Good luck!


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