The Mermaid Dress

Grab a cup of hot stuff this one is a doozie!

One of my former sewing students, Monet, wrote me one morning with a photo of a dress she desperately wanted me to design for a formal event. After looking at the photo I kindly said sorry, the design was out of my skill level. It’s important to know when to say no for many reasons. Monet wrote back, “What if you only made the shell of the dress from my photo?” She proceeded to write that she had great faith that I could create her dress, that I was very talented and she has been following me for years now.

We worked out a deal and I got started on her design. That Sunday she picked up 4 yards of netting and 4 yards of lace. We later would need 12 more yards of fabric to make this all happen!

By far my biggest challenge of 2016 was this dress. After sketching the design for her approval, I cut the shell of the dress. The first bodice was such a mess that I threw it away. I quickly realized I need to make a muslin/pattern for the bodice and it needed to be all one piece.

This dress is fully ruched, I needed to nail her perfect size and I need to add a good amount of length for the ruching.  I made the fit a tad smaller than Monet’s measurements so it would naturally ruch more.

Another problem is the net fabric is impossible to remove stitches from, even hand stitches. This dress was like drawing a portrait for the first time in permanent marker.

After serious study I produced the shell of the dress, mostly made draping on the dress form. I dialed all of her measurements into my form to know I was ball park with fit.

Sewing is solving problems, the dress was too see through and the fishtail did not flair enough. I assured Monet I had her back and we would make her look beautiful. I was up for the challenge.

After 4 more yards of tulle plus 4 yards of stiff netting I had laying around we got the look for the fishtail. The bottom of that dress has a total of 16 yards of fabrics.  4 yards of those yards were lace I scalloped myself.

2 layers of the netting was still to thin and it had to be a translucent stretch knit to work out. I searched for anything that would work and was lucky to find the same netting in a heavier weight. I sent Monet photos of every step of the way for her approval.

Monet approved how many layers I should make the underling. I sent her single and double layer photos, she picked the single layer.

At this point I felt we had a huge break through!  I took the 4 yards of netting and made an hour glass slip that would attach to the inside shell of the dress.

Va Va Voom!!

I was so happy the very next day I got pictures and this awesome note! Copy and pasted, “Thank YOU……thanks to YOU, I was a show stopper and head turner! Everyone was impressed at how the dress turned out. ” ♥️♥️

Here are a few of my photos of the dress.

Behind the Scenes~ My etsy shops are having a 40% 0ff sale, coupon code BigSale2016

Etsy shop #1 My Dresses

Etsy shop #2 Vintage Fabric and Patterns

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh

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