Thursday, June 14, 2012

Becoming Margaret

When I started planning my wedding dress, there were several possible ideas.  We decided we liked the vibe of the 1950s.  Naturally when I started searching I came across Princess Margaret's dress (from 1960).  I fell in love at first sight.  There were a few other ideas I had but I always came back to this dress.
Photo from

Photo from British Vogue
With these two pictures as a jumping off point (I have a whole folder on my desktop devoted to all things Margaret), I spent a crazy afternoon of mimosas and coffee trying to figure out how the dress works.  The original, from what I discovered, is satin with an organza overlay.  One of the descriptions of the dress I found stated it was made from 30 meters of silk organza and in several layers.  The wikipedia page for the dress states it is made of 30 meters of silk organza, no mention of satin anywhere other than the edging.

Because I was making this dress on a budget, I opted to do mine in a base layer of white slipper satin lined in bleached cotton muslin and an over layer of mirror organza.

The next problem was the pattern for the dress.  It appears that the front does have some sort of hook and eye openings (or so I thought at one point), but the dress is back closing with fabric covered buttons.  The bodice is two layers, one strapless with a sweetheart neckline and the other the higher, sheer v neckline.  I discovered this pattern from Butterick:
Butterick 5556
The basic construction was nearly identical to the notes I had taken of photos of Princess Margaret's dress.  I opted to do full sleeves, ditch the standing collar and belt, and make it full length.  The pattern itself was only used as a jumping off point, most of the dress was draped either on me or my dress form (Margaret).
Silver slipper satin and navy tulle for petticoats

Mock-up skirt draped

My skirt lining

Back pleats of the satin

From the front

After countless hours of beating my head against the wall, chasing the dog away from my fabric, guzzling champagne, and freaking out about deadlines...The final product.  More photos to come eventually, but this is what's available as of now.

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