Brides often agonize over their wedding dresses. Bridal magazines feature wedding gowns that cost thousands of dollars, and the dress can often eat up a large portion of a bride's budget. One way to ameliorate the expense is to make the dress yourself, or to have the dress made for you, either by a professional seamstress or a friend or relative. Some nonprofessional seamstresses may fear tackling the intricate lace appliqués often found on bridal gowns, but in reality, sewing them onto the fabric is not difficult.
Use purchased lace appliqués or cut out lace motifs from larger pieces of lace to make the appliqués.
Use the silk organza to give extra stability to the back of larger appliqués, especially those which already come with heavy beading or other embellishments. Place the appliqué on the organza and cut the organza to the exact size of the appliqué. Baste the appliqué and the silk together close to the edge.
Apply the lace appliqués by hand after the gown is otherwise complete. Have the bride try on the gown in front of a mirror, and begin to use the pins to experiment with the placement of the lace appliqués. Make sure your hands are meticulously clean and dry as you handle the gown, and use very sharp pins designed for use on silk and other fine fabrics. Use the fabric marker to mark the locations of the appliqués after you have pinned them on the dress.
Make sure your needle is very sharp and has no burrs. Thread it with an 18-inch length of silk thread. Take two or three very tiny stitches on the back of the appliqué, leaving a tail about 2 inches long.
Use the needle turn method and the pin stitch to attach the appliqué. Take the end of the needle and use it to gently turn under about 1 inch of the appliqué edge. Hold the turned under lace in place. Insert the needle into the dress fabric and take a very tiny stitch just outside the appliqué, then slide the needle behind the edge of the appliqué about 1/2 inch along. Insert the needle into the appliqué and then into the dress fabric, taking another tiny stitch. When you come to the end of where it was turned under, turn another section under. Continue around the appliqué in this manner until you have nearly reached the starting point. Use the embroidery scissors to snip off most of the tail you started with and hide the rest of it beneath the appliqué. Finish stitching around, and then fasten the thread off. Bring the needle and thread through under the appliqué and snip the thread closely so that the thread end disappears under the appliqué.
Embellish the appliqué with beads or other embellishments if you desire, being careful to allow only tiny stitches to show on the underside.
Barbara C. Rich is a professional writer whose work has appeared in "Doll Designs" magazine. As a craft teacher she has prepared her own written instructions for her students. Rich graduated from Miami Christian College in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology.