Sylvie and her (now) husband, Phillip, met while they were out swing dancing. It was only fitting that swing dancing would be a centerpiece at their wedding reception and Sylvie needed a dress she could boogie in! BUT she wanted to get married in a more traditional looking wedding gown. AND she didn't want to have two gowns-- after all a wedding dress is only worn once, and who wants to shorten its already minuscule lifespan?
She arrived at my door, with this very lovely dress. She liked the movement and thought maybe there was a way to customize it so she could get married in it long and then dance the night away in it short. Additionally, Sylvie wanted her dress customized on the back to express her personal style more so than the original plain halter strap top that it originally had-- as pictured in the stock photo-- the first one below...
So, we got to work, first adjusting it for the perfect fit. Then we took a look at Sylvie's ideas for straps (she brought sketches, this is a lady with vision!) She wanted something a bit more interesting than traditional straps and came up with lots of variations. Here I am trying a few things out and the end result:
We thought that the direction of the straps flowed nicely with the direction of the shirring on the bodice.
That'a all well, good and very lovely, however, the BIG thing was how to transform a traditional wedding gown into a dress suitable for swing dancing!?
Basically, I created a bubble by engineering a hidden loop and tie system, the ENTIRE way around the gown. For even more fun and to test my problem solving ability, the gown had a built in tulle petticoat underneath which was necessary to give the dress the proper body when long, but when the dress was bubbled, it made it look like Little Bo-Peep. (No there are no pictures of this, you're welcome, Sylvie.)
To get around this snag, the petticoat got sliced off at the thigh (above where the puffy tulle started) and snap tape was attached to both pieces. This allowed the petticoat to be snapped on while it was gown length and detached before the dress was tied up and made swing dance length.
It was quite the undertaking, but here are the results! Totally worth it, especially considering that not even the groom knew about Sylvie's dress-shortening plans and was completely surprised that he would get to swing dance after all!
Gown length for the wedding...
Swing-dance length for the party!
As a bonus...
Sylvie, married in early October, decided not to pack away the gown-turned-party-frock, in moth balls. Instead, she decided to wear it again, for Halloween....
(photos courtesy of Sylvie)
Please join my in congratulating Sylvie and Phillip and wishing them a lifetime of happiness and swing dancing fun!
If you are a bride with BIG visions for your wedding dress, drop me a line! I love a challenge!
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!