Shell’s dress: a zip and buttons

You’ve seen the extraordinary buttons for Shell’s dress already, but I haven’t really told you about how it fastens.

Extraordinary embroidered buttons

It closes with a zip under the false buttons.

Yes, that’s right, I caved and did the ultimate wedding dress cliché.  It’s a cliché for a reason though: buttons by themselves would have a hard time holding such a fitted strapless bodice, and would be a pain to fasten, so the zip is necessary, but brides love that buttons up the back look.

Zip and buttons with little loops to fasten

Since it isn’t a historical technique, a zip under buttons is not something I have ever had occasion to do before.

It also isn’t something that you can currently find any instructions or guides on how to do on the internet.

So I did a few trial runs, and guessed, and went for it.

It came out very well: when the dress is on and the buttons are fastened its almost impossible to tell there is a zip under them.  This was very important to Shell.  Initially she was almost as anti zip-under-buttons as I am!

The zip and buttons, with some un-embroidered stunt buttons to see how it worked

Even though I was pleased with the result, and Shell was pleased with the result, I want to work on my technique a little more.  Once I have got it absolutely perfect I’ll do a tutorial on how to do buttons over a zip on wedding and formal gowns.

The buttons end at the bottom of the bodice ruching, though the zip continues into the skirt

For now I shall distract you from the tiny imperfections in the fastenings by blinding your eyes with more of the glorious buttons:

From the top, a kereru, a tui, and a piwakawaka (fantail)

And if you need further distraction I shall wave the carrot of finished photos in front of you.  I’ll be posting wedding pics on Sunday!  Yay!


3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stella says:

    Sure it’s a cliche, but it’s so practical. And it does look good.

  2. T. Sedai says:

    Those are the most amazing buttons! And I look forward to the tutorial.

  3. Impressive. I look forward to the photos.

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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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