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Guest blog: The challenges of wedding dress embroidery

A while back I was delighted to receive an email from a couple of ladies who were making a wedding dress and wanted to use designs from the Natalie’s wedding day collection. This was exactly what I had in mind when I created these designs so I was very excited. Let me take you through our discussions, the process of creating the dress, the problems they encountered and how it all worked out in the end.

So excited my friend DeAnn found your embroidery designs. A little about my daughter and her wedding. She is 30 years old and a petite person. She refers to the style she likes as simply elegant. She prefers the Natalie’s Wedding Day 1 and 3 designs because they are smaller and more simple looking in her eyes. We are including a picture of the back of the dress she showed me she liked. Any ideas for the bottom border part of the train? The edging we would like although this doesn’t look like edging, looks more like its rolled edge not real heavy, light and airy. Thank you in advance for any wisdom or help you may share!

I emailed the ladies to say I would love to work with them on this exciting project.

Here is the sample front bodice that I stitched out this weekend.  I used designs from the Natalie’s Wedding Day 1 (#1, 6, 9, 14, 18, 20) This was laying on a towel with I took the picture and had not been pressed yet but you can get the idea.  My friend referred to it as a princess neckline.  They would like the roses to be above the satin on the neckline.  This is one of those areas we are concerned about the trimming.  She would like the lace on her skin or at least half of it.  Do you have any free-standing lace?  Is it difficult to design it?  Can you see some type of an edging that would be good with this neckline so we could trim it better?  Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated!  Thank you so much for sharing some of your time with us! Sorry for all of my questions but we would like to have as much of this done in the next month as possible.  So I need to keep working and researching!

We have put designs together for the center front of the dress.  It turned out beautifully!  We are not sure how close we can trim the design before it may start unraveling. Or if we may need to attach some type of edging to finish it.  We are working on polyester tulle.  It will go over white matte satin.

My reply: “There are no edgings in the Natalie’s wedding day collection but I will see what I can come up with.”

I believe we have come up with something that would work for the edging on the dress.  I’m not sure if you have looked at it all . We thought that design GFE-NWD-3-1 would work if you could possibly design a scalloped satin edge to go under it.  We wondered as there is quite a large space between each design maybe a single rose could go between them.

This was an edging that I suggested to the ladies.

Thank you for sending me the design!  The design stitched out pretty good but my friend feels that the roses are just too big.  We have been using the Natalie’s Wedding Day sets 1 and 3 designs which are the smaller roses. Do you think you will have time to make the adjustments to the smaller design or could you just design a satin scalloped edging that would go below the design Day 3_1 I sent you earlier? I know you are very busy and I appreciate all of your help.  I get concerned because I see my friend struggling with her illness and I want to make sure she will be able to get the dress done for her daughter.  We still have time and if it is something you could work on in a week or two just let me know.  If not we will have to keep playing with what we have started.

My reply: I wanted to give your project some serious thought and consideration as on reflection I had some misgivings about what you had asked for. This is basically because you have opted for the smaller roses in the Natalie’s wedding day collection. However I didn’t want to let that beat me. There is always a way around these challenges with careful digitising. So I decided to redigitise the design from scratch, and have stitched out a test on tulle with two layers of Floriani Wet n gone which is my preferred choice for wash-aways. I don’t like the film type ones preferring this mesh one.

The edges of the small roses are two small to give them the proper scalloped edge method so I suggest that you stitch the designs out and trim away afterwards. As you are only going to use tulle this should not present a problem and I personally like to see a little net protruding as I think it gives a softer edge.

This is the lace edging after being soaked. Although this was not used for the dress at the end of this blog I will give you details on how to get this embroidery design.

I stitched out the design and it looks great!  I’m getting together with my friend to have her look at it later today.

Its been a slow process building a dress from scratch but we are making progress!

I attached a picture of the back top layer of the dress. I finished embroidering the veil so that is a positive!! It’s been difficult having enough time to work with my friend between her Doctor appointments and having days where she just doesn’t feel well. Thank you for creating your beautiful designs! I’m so glad I found your website!

After much deliberation this edging was decided upon which is a combination of small Natalie’s Wedding day designs and another design.

When embroidering on tulle you do not have to trim right up to the stitches as a gap gives a softer edge.

After 2 months of embroidering I am finally done will all of the embroidery for the wedding dress and the dress is getting close to being finished. 

There is one big problem though…the stabilizer is not rinsing out completely from the tulle.  Many places are very sticky to the touch and it is even visible to the eye in some places that there is stabilizer residue still in the embroidery.  We used OESD wash away stabilizer and some Pellon wash away stabilizer.  We are afraid to put the dress through the washing machine but need to get the stickiness to go away.  We have tried vinegar and rubbing alcohol.   The wedding is only 2 weeks away.  Time is running out for us. 

 With regard to the stickiness, we decided that the 505 adhesive spray was the biggest problem.  Areas where we used the spray were the stickiest.  The day of the wedding there were still areas of the dress that were sticky but thankfully it did not show in pictures!  The 505 spray eventually all dissolved away and after a final washing of the dress (after the wedding)  the dress is now beautiful and white again.  The dress was washed in OXI-Clean prior to the wedding which helped get the majority of the stickiness out and whiten the dress.  We did take the dress to a dry cleaner before the wedding to dry to have it cleaned but they would not do it.  They were afraid it could come apart.  So our hand washing was all that was done.

It was a very stressful last few days before the wedding with the unknowns of how to get the dress clean and less sticky but it all turned out fine in the end! We got it done!

 We had beaded for hours and hours!

I love the edging of the overlay of this dress and how the embroidery designs were used in the end.

What an amazing dress created with so much love and care!

Isn’t this so very delightful? Just what I hoped to see when I first started digitising this collection.

The ladies biggest piece of advice:

Rinsing is critical.  Cut as much of the stabilizer away as possible and rinse and dry completely before assembling.  And limit the use of the 505 unless you have a month for it to completely disappear.

The determination of these two ladies is impressive.

Nothing deterred them and the results are astounding, don’t you agree? What wonderful results and I am very grateful that they shared their complete experience with us all.

If you are interested in the scalloped edging I created it will soon be available to purchase in two sizes.

See all the designs in the Natalie’s Wedding Day collection

Happy embroidering from Hazel

26 thoughts on “Guest blog: The challenges of wedding dress embroidery

  1. That is absolutely exquisite.. Hazel you are a wonderful digitiser and a great help to all your customers.

  2. LOVELY!! I especially like the scalloped overlay on the back of the dress, and the way the scallops on the train came out. Truly inspiring!

  3. That is truly an heirloom dress. So very beautiful. I hope it gets passed down to the next generation. It deserves to be worn more than once. Hazel you are a wonderful digitizer who gives your customers so much valuable support. Thank you!

  4. Making a wedding gown is the ultimate challenge and not for the faint of heart! This is just stunning. Hazel, once again you have shown yourself to be a remarkably considerate and generous person in helping out with this project. Thank you for sharing this project with all of us.

  5. What beautiful work. I so admire you for staying in there with these ladies. I am sure for them to have you to bounce things off of along the way meant a lot and you going to the effort to digitize an alternate design is a testimony to your character and desire to provide the best in customer service. Hopefully, the gown will be passed down to the next generation.

  6. This dress is absolutely GORGEOUS!! I greatly appreciated her details of the journey in making this lovely creation, including the advice given by our genius digitizer, Hazel!! This is certain to become a treasured heirloom to be passed down. Thank you for sharing.

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