When I met with Susanne for her initial consultation she had three must-haves for her gown: “Grace Kelly-esque,” a full skirt with box pleats, and a sleeved jacket with Alençon lace — the rest was up to me. I really had fun creating her gown because like Grace Kelly’s, it’s actually made up of four separate and quite complicated pieces; Susanne’s “gown” consists of a jacket and skirt, and a corset and crinoline (neither of which are seen).
The gown is made from Italian silk duchesse satin, French Alençon lace, and lined with silk taffeta.
The lace on the jacket is not a solid piece of lace nor is it cut from the same pattern pieces as the jacket. It is made up of roughly 6″ x 9″ motifs that were cut away from the netting on the original lace panel and then hand stitched on top of the duchesse satin jacket (after all the seams were sewn) so that there is no disruption of the floral pattern of the lace — even at the side seams — which is a detail you will only see on a couture gown.
The same is true of the lace around the hem of the skirt; each 6″ x 9″ motif was placed so that it looked like the flowers were “growing” up from the bottom of the skirt. This gown is one of only three gowns in seven years that I didn’t sew every single stitch of with my own two hands; my mom (an excellent seamstress in her own right) was visiting me in New York and helped me piece the lace to the skirt. Sitting together with her, with the skirt laid out on the table and each of us with a needle and thread in hand, is a memory I’ll always cherish. I love sewing and I love my mom!
I also love covered buttons, and Susanne’s gown had a lot of them; they went all the way down the center back of the skirt. I always make fully functional covered buttons and button loops because I think they are so pretty; if you wanted to, you could actually unbutton this skirt all the way to the hem, even though you’d just end up seeing the inside seams of the lining and it would take forever as there’s about 130 of them!