Embroidered Floral Emery Dress

Around this time last year, I started working on a dress to wear to a dear friend’s wedding. Since I know what I like, I resorted to using my go-to pattern for special occasion dresses- Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress pattern. However, this time I wanted something a little different than my previous versions, which I blogged about here. My friend, Sara, had worn a really pretty embroidered floral mesh dress to another friend’s rehearsal dinner recently and I became obsessed. So I set out to find some embroidered floral mesh fabric of my own. I spent a couple of hours pricing fabric in the Garment District in NYC one afternoon after work. After going around to various stores, I finally settled on this fabric I found at Hollywood Fabrics. It was a pretty good deal at $18/yard when everywhere else was quoting me $20-25/yard. The under layer is a polyester satin from Elegant Fabrics that I think was somewhere around $10-12/yard. I would have loved to use some beautiful silk satin but it was all way out of my price range.

I started by flat lining my bodice pieces together by hand because I found the fabric to be too shifty to just pin and run under the machine.

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It probably felt like this took longer than it actually did, but I’m so glad I did this.

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Here’s the bodice all stitched up!

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Next, I attached the skirt pieces. I added 1/2″ horse hair to the hem of the under layer to make the skirt poof out just a little. It was looking a little too limp on its own.

Then I let it sit around for months because as the calendar says, it was May, and I didn’t need this dress to be finished until January. It was nice having a pretty project on hold, ready to resume work on whenever I needed a pick-me-up.

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The time for a pick-me-up finally arrived, and I decided to put the zipper in. I chose a lapped zipper insertion because this is how I always insert zippers into my dresses. I learned early on in my sewing journey that although invisible zippers look nice, they are the devil and break too easily. Working in theater, invisible zippers on ready-to-wear garments always get switched out before they even have a chance to go on stage because no one wants to deal with an invisible zipper breaking in the middle of a quick change.

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Then it sat around a little more, adorning my dress form like the eye candy it is.

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There was actually one day I was really sad and put the dress on in this state to make myself feel better. And I have to say, it really worked.

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Finally, the wedding was drawing near and I decided it was finally time to put the lining in.

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I had originally planned to add a full lining but was afraid having three layers of gathering at the waist would be too bulky and make the dress too tight. So I decided to just line the bodice as the pattern instructions called for. Also, french seams! Since the skirt and sleeve seams would be visible, I went with french seams. The bodice has regular seams since you can’t see them with the under-layer backing the mesh.

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Lastly, I added 1/4″ beige elastic to the wrist of the sleeves to make them poof a little. I felt like they looked weird without being cinched in towards the bottom.

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For the wedding, I paired the dress with these gold shoes from Anthropologie. I bought them to wear as a bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding and was glad to have another use for them.

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The photo booth at the wedding was awesome! I’m glad to have this nice memento of me and Kevin looking all gussied up together since we’re usually in our pajamas around each other.

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Here I am trying to look sassy with my beautiful friends. Doesn’t the bride look gorgeous?! Her dress was custom made! These women have lifted me up since we were 5 years old and I love them all very much. So I’m including this photo in this post in honor of International Women’s Day. Happy International Women’s Day to all the fierce women out there! 👊

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