couture sewing, Dress Forms

The Dress Form in Action

Here it is, the first dress created with the help of my new custom molded dress form. This would have been next to impossible to get right without the help of a perfect body double. Much of the work took place on the back. I needed a semi-formal dress for a destination wedding in the Bahamas. The bride requested all guests wear white. Although the ceremony was beachside, the reception called for semi-formal attire. Try buying something that fits that bill.

Ceremony on the Beach

I created a version of the Dior design worn by Nicole Kidman some years ago. I thread traced the seam lines into white 4 ply silk crepe and embroidered floral designs on the front using multiple hoopings. Since embroidery can cause the fabric to shrink and/or pucker, check the seam lines against the pattern after all embroidery is finished.Full Length View



Silver metallic mesh was positioned on the back and I printed templates of the embroidery designs on transparent film to finalize the design. The embroidery designs were placed to create a picture frame effect around the metallic mesh. The mesh was somewhat stretchy and having the dress on the form made getting the placement so much easier.

Back View

Another view of the back with skin toned fabric underneath. The zipper is hidden in the left side seam.

Back EmbroideryLiningAs this was to be worn in the tropics, I chose a fine Swiss cotton jersey for the lining. This was comfortable to wear and provided opacity so that the hot pink skirt lining did not show through. To attach the lining I put the dress on the form inside out and fitted the lining around the neck, armholes and back.

Back Lining

Finally a hot pink lining for the lower skirt which shows when walking.

Skirt Lining

dress 5

This is entered in the SewStylish Spring fashion Challenge at Threads Magazine.

22 thoughts on “The Dress Form in Action”

  1. It is gorgeous. I need to get braver in using machine embroidery on expensive fabric. I am so afraid of ruining it my ideas never get off the ground. Perhaps your beautiful dress will be an inspiration for me. Does the dress have the nude lining under the mesh or did you wear it bra-less and build in support of some type?

    1. Glad to see that you are inspired. There is no lining under the back. I used one of the stick-on bras from Joann’s. I was worried that it might come loose during the hot, humid night but it stayed put. The dress was close fitting so that also helped.

  2. Stunning workmanship,beautiful details, love the unexpected pink…cannot wait to see more….

    1. Started following your blog. I love the name. I have visited Oz twice but never made it to Perth. It’s a beautiful country and I hope to return.

  3. Oh Mary it’s stunning!!! I absolutely adore the hot pink lining at the skirt, it adds a lovely unexpected element. That metallic mesh at the back is a winner. It’s gorgeous – good luck with the Threads vote!

  4. So beautiful! In my opinion, this surpasses the inspiration gown!

    May I ask which embroidery pack you used? Also, did you embroider the back with the mesh attached, then cut away the excess crepe fabric, or did you attach the mesh after the embroidery was complete?

    1. Thank you for the compliment. I used Elegant Scrolls #1590 from Hatched in Africa. Go to, all designs, and Elegant Scrolls is on page 6. You have identified the most challenging aspect of this dress in embroidering the design partly on the silk crepe, partly on the mesh. I printed transparent templates of the design elements. I then digitized a running stitch outline for each design hooping (the running stitch was placed just inside the design where it would later be covered by embroidery stitches). The mesh was placed on top of the crepe and hooped. The running stitch secured the crepe to the mesh and provided a cutting line. Leaving the fabric hooped, I trimmed away excess crepe and mesh, placed tear away stabilizer under the hoop to provide a backing for the embroidery on mesh, put the hoop back in the machine and completed the embroidery. Multiple hoopings were required. If this is unclear let me know and I’ll try and clarify.

Leave a Reply