Admire, Sewing

Emily’s Wedding Dress

Emily's Wedding Dress,

In celebration of her first wedding anniversary, here is Emily’s wedding dress!

Emily's Wedding Dress,

I’ll only do wedding dresses for very, very special people anymore, and Emily definitely qualifies. Not only is she a dear friend, but she’s the genius who keeps my blog and running.  Emily herself blogs at, though her blog is on hiatus.

As with all the wedding dresses I’ve made, the end result was a collaboration between the bride’s ideas and my sewing experience.

Our inspiration for the dress was late 1950s & early 1960s cocktail and evening dresses by designers like Balenciaga and Jacques Heim.  Emily liked the overall silhouettes, and the lush fabrics used.

Dress, Cristobal Balenciaga, 1958, The Indianapolis Museum of Art

Key design points we wanted to incorporate were a fitted bodice with scooped necklines, little cap sleeves, a natural waist, and full bell skirts with lots of swish, and flatter fronts.  Plus amazing embroidered fabric.  We settled on a slight dropped hem, to take full advantage of the fantastic fabric.

Emily's Wedding Dress,

I draped the pattern myself, using my princess-seamed dress block as a starting point.  For the overall cut, we balanced the extravagance of the fuller late-50s skirts with a shorter, more practical hemline, perfect for an outdoor wedding, and for looking extremely glam on other occasions.

Emily's Wedding Dress, thedreamstress.comI built a silk organza petticoat in into the dress for a bit of poof even without any additional support:

Emily's Wedding Dress,

And on the day she wore added net petticoats for maximum floofiness:

Emily's Wedding Dress,

Emily’s wedding was absolutely lovely: New Zealand springtime at its best…and then worst.

Flowers bloomed, tui sang in kowhai trees, and the earth literally moved as the bride and groom said their vows.  Luckily just a little tremor, enough to be felt, but not to be alarming!

The weather report said ‘chance of scattered showers’. New Zealand weather predictors are usually notoriously pessimistic.  Not this time!  Just as we all moved indoors for the reception it began to pour, and it didn’t stop.  Mr D & I were the last little car to make it out of the parking lot without the assistance of a tow or push.

The beautiful photographs above are by Ngahuia Riri of D-Pix Photography.  Most were taken at an after-wedding shoot, since the weather made it hard to get dress photographs on the day.

I tried not to be girl-behind-the-camera at the wedding, but I did get this one on the day:

Emily's Wedding Dress,

Thank you Emily for trusting me to make your wedding dress, and for all your help with my technical issues!


  1. Lynne says

    What a delight! A beautiful dress and a day to remember. Do thank Emily for letting us see the pictures.

  2. So lovely! It does indeed look perfect for spring. And I must congratulate whoever found that fabric on finding fabric that looks amazing on her, and makes her look amazing.
    I also love how it goes from extreme puffiness to subtle.

    • Thanks, Hana! I’m Emily and I wouldn’t have found that fabric without Leimomi. We were looking for embroidered fabric options. We found the sample book for the silkmaker James Hare. This fabric, Wild Lily in Aquamarine, was in the book, but I thought it was too expensive…until I checked on British eBay. Someone was selling enough of it for us to make this dress (3.5 meters) for an affordable 15 pounds per meter. I think the Wild Lily fabric has been discontinued, but it’s still out there with some independent vendors.

      • Elise says

        Hey bride! You look just wonderful. Lovely collaboration. Beautiful day. Best wishes!

  3. Annabel says

    Love the way she looks and the dipped hem. Wishing Emily a happy anniversary.

  4. I was obvious;y more amused than Emily and Richard hehe. Wonderful day, the rain and mud and all really added to the sense of occasion!

    • I don’t know about other countries, but Czechs say that rain on a wedding day means it’s raining luck on the couple, so Czechs actually welcome a bit of rain on wedding days. 😉

      • P.S. Or happiness. It’s one word in Czech, so I still sonetimes have trouble separating the two, and can’t say which is meant here.

        • It was amazing. The day was so joyous and spiritual and perfectly matched the gorgeous couple. And I do love a wedding day that exerts its own personality onto events; it adds to the memories and the story immensely. And yup, our Emily/Sadie is THAT GORGEOUS and as always, Leimomi has created the perfect dress for the wearer. xo

  5. nanny norfolk says

    A lovely dress which really suits her hair & colouring.
    A loving wish to them for a happy marriage .

  6. Alice says

    That fabric is so, so pretty! I’m not often on board with non-traditional bridal dress colors but this is soft and detailed and still looks “bridal”. It is also so flattering with the bride’s haircolor. You did a great job and she was a gorgeous bride.

    I think I gasped a little out loud at the second inspiration photo–I wonder what the (tiny) waist measurement is on that dress? The embroidery on it is to die for.

  7. It’s a beautiful dress, and really does suit her coloring very well. Congratulations to Emily on her anniversary and to you for the success of the dress1

  8. So lovely! The colours look straight out of nature and fit in with the garden setting beautifully!

  9. The color scheme is perfect: her coloring, the fabric, the bouquet… And I like the old-enough-to-be-new-again idea of a wedding dress that can be worn at subsequent parties and events.

  10. Really stunning, especially with the flowers that seem to have grown right out of the print on the fabric. And her shoes…..perfect!

    Many congratulations to the happy couple.


  11. Michelle says

    It looks like you were really able to make Emily’s dream of a perfect wedding dress come true! Thank you for sharing a little more about it.

  12. Emmy and I are on the same style wavelength. I just got married and had a very similar dress. The fabric on her dress is gorgeous and the dip hem really makes it special. The fit is superb also, Emmy is a lucky girl.


  13. As the wearer of this dress…thank you everyone for your good wishes! I definitely wanted something different, with color and personality. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to work with Leimomi.

    Not only is this dress beautiful, it was a dream to wear. We were at a stunning rural venue, with lots of family and friends. I wanted to be able to MOVE. Even though the dress fits like a glove, with a generous swirling skirt, it was superbly comfortable. It also held up to lots of hugs throughout the day. Thank you all again!

  14. LoriWatk says

    I haven’t commented in a while, work, children, life, etc… however…

    WOW! WOW! WOW!

    Emily, you are a very beautiful woman. The fabric compliments you perfectly. Between her sewing skills and your beauty I’m not sure which one is just making me go WOW!
    The earth moved when you said vows and in my family its very good luck for it to rain or snow on a wedding day. It snowed on my wedding day and I’ve been married for 25 going on 26 years to a man I knew 3 weeks before I told him we were getting married on Friday (he’s never asked me to marry him). I hope you have many more years together and may the two of you move heaven and earth to be together.

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