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Amanda’s dress redesign adventure!

One of our Becoming Bridal brides Amanda was gifted a wedding dress that was not at all her style and also was not in her size. Laura and Bea to the rescue! Amanda was not just one of our brides but is one of our fabulous Becoming Bridal seamstresses and one of our close friends so our wedding gift to her was making her absolute dream dress out of a dress she wasn’t in love with!

Like with Kelly’s dress redesign journey, Amanda gave us a lot of time to work on her dress because a redesign this extensive takes us a very long time. At the beginning of the process, Amanda was not feeling this dress at all. Get ready because that is all about to change!

To start the redesign journey we needed to let out the dress so the back of the dress could button closed and so it would fit overall.

Before the dress closed:

After the dress could close:

We seam ripped open the side seams of the dress to be able to plan the panels that would need to be added to make the dress the correct size.

When a dress is too small like this it doesn't sit on the hips properly so we couldn't tell the measurements of the panels that would be needed until the seams were completely ripped open. We used extra fabric from the dress to make the panels and pinned them in this way the fabric matched the rest of the dress!

The dress was originally a fit and flair/mermaid style dress, but Amanda wanted an A-line style dress, so we needed to completely change the dress's shape.

To redesign the shape of the dress we changed the waist from a drop waist to hitting her at her natural waist while hemming from the waist in the process. This accomplished three things at once; it gave more room in the hips to take the fuller part of the skirt and move it to a higher more flattering place, it made the dress hit her at the natural waist which was a flattering silhouette, and it moved the hem up to the proper length, so we didn’t have to hem it from the bottom later on! Timesaving moves like this are important when working on such a complicated redesign.

Next, we shortened the zipper to make the illusion neckline and dress lay flat, as well as to bring the straps off the shoulder.

We made the design change from straps to off-the-shoulder boat neck style sleeves because Amanda wanted to highlight her gorgeous shoulders. This meant we had to reshape where the arm holes of the dress hit and shorten the illusion back to get the shape to lay right and fit her body perfectly.

We had to piece in lace pieces to make the off-the-shoulder sleeves long enough. While the lace was primarily sourced from the dress, but we still needed more of the scallop trim to finish the sleeves. So, in a perfect storm of events, Bea asked Carolina Bridal World if they could order that specific lace while she was picking up her bridesmaid dress and they said yes! Amanda’s dream dress coming together was really meant to be!

The dress was originally cut for a smaller bust size so after Amanda got the necessary shapewear, we began repatterning the bust pieces. We cut off the train lining to have fabric to use to enlarge the bust. We took the lining bodice off and made all the measurements bigger then draped it on her body to make sure the pattern was the right size. Once the lining was the right size, we then marked how much was needed to fill in for the lace layer and pieced in lace and netting to be the top layer of the gown’s bust. There were three layers of the dress: a lining layer, a satin layer, and the lace and the netting layer as the top layer.

After this, we could perfect and define the shape of the bust. We took in under her bust to get more definition and took in the back to perfectly shape around her curves.

Amanda was going to be wearing a corset, so we had to make sure that the lace of the bust came up high enough at the neckline, so the corset didn’t make a surprise appearance. We sewed the corset into the front of the dress to ensure that it was secure and didn’t show.

When choosing the bustle for a wedding dress we always pin the dress in a variety of ways to show the bride what each style of bustle looks like on her dress. After ironing out all of the details of the shape of her dress Amanda decided on a French bustle.

She chose it because it complimented the dress shape perfectly and was the best option for dancing! She really needed the strongest option for dancing because at her reception she didn’t even eat, she just danced the whole time!

If you know Amanda, you know she loves sparkles! So, a glitter layer was something she really wanted to make the dress more “her”. After playing around with where to put the mandatory glitter layer she decided she didn’t want the glitter accent under the lace layer of the dress. Instead, she wanted an overskirt, so we needed to choose a fabric that complimented the beautiful champagne color of the dress. We chose a beautiful glitter fabric from Ginger Girl Fabrics on Etsy .

Laura spread out the glitter fabric all over her living room floor and cut the panels that would become the skirt. To create the skirt Amanda could choose if the skirt was going to be gathered or just straight across. To create the overall silhouette of the dress and skirt combo she wanted she chose the more streamlined straight-across look. The skirt was attached with a beautiful ribbon that complimented the dress and skirt colors.

In addition to Amanda’s wedding dress needing to be bustled, the overskirt also needed to be bustled because it was longer than the lace layer of the dress.

We started working on Amanda’s dress in October and finished just in time for her March wedding which was 5 months total. The redesign was complicated which meant poor Amanda couldn’t really see that her dress was coming together and turning into her dream dress until the dress was basically finished. She really had to trust Laura and Bea. Because the dress was in progress and in a lot of pieces all the painstaking details didn’t really come together visually until the end. It can be hard to visualize a finished dress when it's just fabric and a bunch of safety pins.

We had to tweak the dress one layer at a time while also reattaching all of the lace, so it did not come together for a long time. The glitter tulle to make the overskirt was also not available until toward the end of the process. Since most of the fittings were without the glitter tulle layer it was hard for Amanda to picture the dress as a whole with all of the missing elements. But when everything came together Amanda was so pleased! Just look at the difference between Amanda’s face before and after the alterations. She is just radiating pure joy once the dress is complete!

When Amanda was describing her dream dress, she said she wanted an A-line dress that was off-the-shoulders with lace and lots of sparkle. And that's exactly what she got!

Finishing the dress was not the end of the story like it usually is for us. We also altered 4 out of 5 bridal party dresses.

Laura and Bea were bridesmaids, so they also helped Amanda on her big day as well!

Putting Amanda’s gorgeous gown on her was a multistep process. First, we needed to get the corset hooked up correctly which, if you have worn one, you know this is difficult! Then the buttons and loops of the back of the dress were hooked, and then we made sure the three layers of the dress were all laying flat. Next, we used Topstick on the neckline in the front and in the back to make sure it stayed in place, and finally, we put the overskirt on. Amanda was such an exuberant dancer we did need to retape the back tape part of the way through the night.

Then all her bridal accessories also had to be put on, her earrings, necklace, and veil.

Amanda chose the veil she wanted and she added sequins for extra sparkle. Laura and Kara down to the wire added even more extra sparkles to the veil on the wedding day!

Amanda made a simply stunning bride and we were so lucky to be a part of making her dream dress a reality and being there to see her first steps into happily ever after and married life! Brian was a handsome groom, but Amanda’s beauty really stole the show.

We have to shout out our friend Liz the owner of Dark Hearts Artistry who did all of our make up for the wedding! We highly recommend her for all your professional make up needs she is just the best!

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