Emma’s DIY Wedding Dress

Emma's diy wedding dressDiy wedding dress abeautifulmess.com   Diy wedding dress abeautifulmess.com      I'm so excited to share the story of my wedding dress with you. Other than getting to marry my best friend, my dress is probably one of the most special memories from my wedding season. First off you should know that my dress is homemade. I forget when I actually told Elsie that I wanted her to design my wedding dress. But I do remember her mouth dropped a little. And I can understand why—what a lot of pressure. "Hey sister, would you mind making the most speical dress I'll ever wear that I will be in on the most photographed day of my life?"

But I couldn't resist. I love my sister's designs (you can see some of her past dress designs here and here). There's a reason I have always been completely confident in her as a creative business partner. She's very talented. And there's no one else I'd rather have design my wedding dress.Making the dressElsie designed and worked on the dress. What made the project EXTRA special is how so many of my other friends and co workers worked on my dress as well. Lots of work was done by: Katie, Kinsey, and Jessica. I even cut out some of circles that became the ruffles. The original dressMy dress was inspired by this one that Elsie designed for our friend Stacy King to wear for a Sucre shoot. This dress was created from several vintage dresses, pieced together to create the bottom half. The top of my dress is the same design, with a different bottom half. I just loved how the ribbon criss-crossed and became the back of the dress. I could also tell that this style of dress would work well with my body type. My dress was constructed from all new fabrics, and we used gold ribbon instead of black to match my wedding colors better.Emma's DressHow to make a wedding dressMy favorite detail on the dress is all the little ruffles on the bottom. So. Many. Ruffles. These probably drove everyone a little crazy to make because there are so many. The ruffles are each a small circle of fabric (three different sizes, large on the bottom and smaller circles up top) that get folded into a triangle, machine stitched into a triangle and then hand-stitched down in vertical rows along the layers of the dress.

It might surprise you but this dress was still very light weight and easy to wear. I even felt pretty comfortable riding a bike in it. A little tip- I did use double sided dress tape on the inside edges of the front, just so I would feel more comfortable moving around, picking up my neice or hugging friends on the day of the wedding! And I wore a vintage dress that Mallory altered for me during my reception. Because I love dancing and the length of my wedding dress probably would have been problematic. Plus, who doesn't love a costume change? 🙂Diy wedding dress abeautifulmess.com  I took my dress to have it cleaned, but now it's just hanging in my closet. Kind of sad for such a special and lovingly crafted dress. I would like to display it somehow, maybe on a dress form in our guest bedroom or in a giant shadow box. My house is quite small so whatever room it's in it will become the focal point, but maybe it should anyway. Whatever we decide I will be preserving it for years to come. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Wedding photos by: Arrow & Apple 

  • Woaw, your wedding dress is beautiful, and it’s so much more meaningful and unique to have had Elsie sew it instead of buying it in any store. I would definitely be happy to work on a wedding dress for a friend or sibling!

    BTW, I love your blog so much I’ve already featured it in 2 or 3 posts on my blog and I’ve used one of your tutorial to sew a top, you can check the result here:

  • omg it looks gorgeous 😀 I was waiting for this post for a while know, because we have already seen the pictures of the dress from previous posts. The dres gives me such an inspiration, because it shares the messeage tha everything is possible to make with your hands.

  • Beautiful dress!
    I realy like the idea of that Elsie designed en made the dress for you, it makes your wedding even more personal.
    You are realy talented.

  • Those bikes!!! Did you have them custom painted? Brilliant and effective! 🙂

  • I love your dress! Very cool to see how it was made. Love that it is so beautiful but has so much extra meaning with all the love that went into making it

  • wow!! This may sound odd but this really reminds of the bit in Disney’s Cinderella when all the mice are sewing and making Cinderella’s ball gown, so sweet!! It’s a really incredible dress and it’s so lovely that you have so much faith in your sis 🙂



  • Its such a beautiful wedding dress! Well done Elsie & co you did an amazing job!!! 🙂

    Lulu xx


  • i think that’s so amazing that elsie made your wedding dress!! you girls makes me wish i have a sister of my own 🙂


  • I love the idea of your sister designing your wedding dress for you. How special! The dress that Elsie designed for that Sucre shoot is………… the dress I want for my wedding. How can I buy it? Seriously.


  • What a lovely idea, that’s so nice that it was made by your sister & friends! Love the personal touch 🙂

    <3 xx

  • I know I’ve said it before but this dress is absolutely gorgeous and fits you like a glove!

  • This dress is beautiful! I am so impressed and jealous that you are able to do this!

    Google + / Twitter / Bloglovin
    cassandra xxhttp://backtofive.blogspot.com

  • Stunning! That is amazing that you created this.


  • this is beautiful! i would be so afraid to make my own dress for such a special event but i love that you did it and i’m sure it means so much more than buying one. so happy for you and the talent is out of this world!!

  • It’s so beautiful, it must be that more special getting married in a gorgeous gown you’ve made yourself :p xx Emmi


  • Absolutely beautiful! Very unique how your dress was made by so many people you love. Elsie you are so talented.



  • Ooh how I have been waiting for more details on your beautiful dress ! I am head over heels in love with it, thank you so much for sharing !

  • Ho wonderful to have a dress that’s been made with such love and care.
    It mast have been bliss to wear such a stunning creation!

  • I loved this wedding. Everything about it was so personal. And I just adore that you rode bikes for some of your photos. Not to mention this dress is so romantic and one of a kind (literally too haha). I’ve always loved the way clothing looks when hanging on the wall for decoration, but even trimming it and wearing it on special occasions would be rad too. XOXO to both you genius girls
    <3 Annejelina
    visit my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CrownofCreationShop

  • It’s so beautiful. I just love your stories. They always make me smile.

  • You were such a beautiful bride! That dress is just gorgeous!


  • i know of people who make there wedding dress into there tree skirt to have for many years at Christmas to have memories on memories

  • Such a beautiful and lovely dress, Emma looked amazing on it xx


  • What a beautiful story. The dress is gorgeous, and even more special that its crafted with so much love!


  • This dress is absolutely stunning!!!


  • This dress is absolutely incredible. Elsie is so talented and I just love how special this design was for you!
    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

  • So wonderful to see all the details and steps involved
    love the different materials mixed together in the ruffles

  • It is truly beautiful, one of the prettiest I’ve seen, and so much more special that it was made with love for a day of love 🙂

  • I can’t believe your sister made that dress! It was so beautiful and you are/were so gorgeous in it!

  • um this is amazing! I am definitely adding this to my inspiration board.


  • What a beautiful dress! And the story behind it makes it all the more special. You both are so incredibly talented. Thank you for sharing!


  • Such a gorgeous dress!! I love it! – http://www.thescribblingpixie.wordpress.com

  • so beautiful! i love how feminine it is and the ruffles are awesome. also awesome that it was made with love.

  • I love this dress so much, more than I loved the sucre dress and I didn’t think that was physically possible! Please drag the wedding posts out as long as possible, they are always so beautiful x


  • Stuning! Handmade dress! You are so lucky :))


  • I was really beautiful!

    xo Jennifer


  • It is one of the prettiest wedding dresses I’ve ever seen!

    xo Lisa
    Making Life’s Lemons

  • This is so special. And you were looking so incredibly beautiful and yet individual. I also loved the tremma-video!
    I really hope i will have a wedding someday as special as yours. (unpaid position as “boyfriend” still available.)

  • That’s so awesome! I love all the detail. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

    For my wedding dress I had them cut off the entire bottom but make it removable-with some velcro(it was hidden) so then I could dance in the shorter version of my dress. I absolutely loved it! I want to wear it again-maybe for my anniversary! Hah 🙂

  • I would do a glass fronted shadow box so that way it’s preserved too. Especially from little fingers that might be covered in cheetos or chocolate and staying in your guest room.

    Fashion and Happy Things

  • Beautiful dress !!
    New post: http://www.thestilettoholic.com/2013/08/27/sardinia-2/
    Love from Paris

  • Thank goodness I only need to type here, because I am literally speechless. What an absolutely gorgeous wedding dress, made with so much love by sister and friends! Elsie is soooo talented!
    A really lovely piece of history to be spoken of and shown for years upon years to come. Amazing. You look absolutely beautiful. I wish you and your husband all the best for your marriage!

  • I love it! It’s beautiful!!! It looked so perfect on you!

    x Sara from tinysugarbee.blogspot.com

  • Your dress is simply gorgeous, and made so much better by all the love that went into it. It’s too perfect not to display.

    My wedding dress was a deep burgundy red (we were married in the winter, plus I really don’t suit white or beige). It has a very full skirt with tulle underneath. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that it is still hanging on a hangar on the wall of our shared office, a whopping 13+ years later! I love seeing it there (and there was just no way that sucker would fit in our very limited closet space). So there it hangs, in a room that only the two of us really ever go in, reminding us of our perfect day and the wonderful decision we made to tie the knot.

  • Your dress was so beautiful! I love the gold ribbon too! It being home made by your sister just adds an amazing feel and memory to it too! xxx


  • Absolutely stunning! I am so impressed! It looks perfect on you! What a beautiful gift! 🙂


  • WOW! It’s beautiful and it must be incredible that your sister was part of something so special xx

  • Oh Emma this is wonderful! Elsie is so talented! You ladies are lucky to have each other. Perfect post!

    xo, Juliette Laura

  • What a beautiful dress! Can’t believe it was a DIY. Incredible. The photographs are just as beautiful as the dress.


  • I love weddings that involve family help, and this is by far the coolest way I’ve seen a family member contribute to a wedding 🙂

  • My jaw dropped when I first saw you in the dress Emma. You look stunning and you have such a talented group of friends 🙂
    Rosie x | Every Word Handwritten

  • Its just the most beautiful dress! I love the gold sash <3


  • Both you and the dress are beautiful. Thanks for sharing the story behind your dress, it’s so sweet. Looks like you had an awesome wedding. May your marriage be just as fabulous!

  • This is so stunning! It makes an already special day even more meaningful with a handmade dress like that. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Oh my gosh that is absolutely gorgeous! All of your (and others’) hard work definitely paid off! xx


  • I had no idea it was custom handmade for you! It’s really beautiful and you can tell that it was lovingly and painstakingly crafted!


  • It must have been very special to wear a dress which was made with so much care and time. I´m sure you´ll find a good place for it in your house.

  • Wow, that dress is absolutely wonderful!!
    It’s just perfect
    I love it!!
    It’s aaaaah
    I’m spechless 😀


  • How wonderful! A lovely dress, made all the more special by being made by your sister!! What a lucky Bride you are! Thanks for sharing 😀

  • It is just stunning! And what an amazing way to incorporate family and DIY into your special day!

    My biggest DIY project for our day was button-brooch bouquets and bunting.. http://thingsaccordingtobadgergirl.blogspot.com/p/wedding-love.html

  • What an amazing story! It’s so lovely that Elsie designed your dress.
    xx Abby | a geek tragedy

  • That is an amazing dress, and it’s even more amazing that your sister made it. I, too, feel sad that my dress now just sits alone in a box. 🙁 Displaying it on a dress form is a great idea, especially if your walls are a strong color.

  • 🙂 Oh how I love that sweet girl and how she isn’t afraid to try anything. Emma, your dress is even more beautiful because of the story behind it!

  • i really loved your dress but now that I know the story behid it, I love it even more!

  • That’s absolutely one of the most beautiful dresses that i ever seen!

  • I love the one made from vintage dresses – that has always been my plan for my wedding one day! Who knows, maybe I’ll take a few pieces of inspiration from this when the time comes 🙂

  • Wow, is Elsie ever talented! Stacy King looks gorgeous in her dress as well. I love how unique and special this dress was to you.


  • absolutely beautiful! i had toyed with the idea of making my own wedding dress, but i dont think i could have come up with anything that pretty!

  • Your dress is absolutely beautiful! I so wish i had such talented family members! 🙂

  • Absolutely gorgeous and how special to have it designed by Elsie! It did look beautiful on you!!!

    You’re a lucky gal!!


  • I love love love your wedding dress! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


  • Absolutely beautiful and love that your sister was able to do this for you. It truly makes it that much more special and seriously thank you for sharing all of your day with us, including your dress, too!! 🙂

  • Your post made me cry. I got married last year and afterwards, the place where I had sent my wedding dress to be cleaned and preserved burnt down….with my wedding dress in it. You’re so lucky to have such an amazingly supportive sister to make such a cherished gift for you. It really is a rare and special bond that you two have!

  • Love this post! My favorite shot is the one of Elsie working on the dress; I’m sure that photo will be one for future generations to muse on and frame in their homes.

    Everything about this was just amazing. Elise did a phenomenal job, and you looked fantastic in the finished product.

    So happy for you and excited to see what you do with the dress!

  • Such a pretty dress. I’m 16 at the moment but I would always love to have a handmade dress for my wedding! Emma you look gorgeous!
    – Becky x

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