Papillon Wedding Gown

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One of my favorite wedding gowns I have ever made!

There is something about this gown that stands out.
It’s shoulder detail, and how super lightweight and airy it is. 

I didn’t have any clear design before I started draping.
I just knew I wanted something asymmetrical around the neckline. 

I was searching for good and high-quality horse hair braids, and I came across ‘Judith M Millinery Supply House’. I honestly loved this site so much that I spent a fortune there because I wanted almost everything!
(This is not a paid promotion, they have no idea I am posting this!)
The millinery horsehair that I used here is matte and thin but holds up its shape, undeniably it gave me a tool to play and create something chic and soft.

I usually don’t overproduce my designs, so I tend to make only one-of-a-kind gowns and wait for their bride. But there are few designs that I had to make a few times. 

I got 3 orders for this gown — One from New York & one from Istanbul, which were shipped out to the clients. The third client actually flew all the way from London to pick it up from Los Angeles.
The moment she tried it on, the look on her face was priceless!
This is what drove me to do this kind of work over and over again.

I also promised my cousin who lives in Germany to make her the exact gown for her wedding. She actually wanted to get the last one, but I had to stop her and promised I would make her a dream gown, when she finds ‘The One’ 🙂 

So I wanted to share the process of making this gown, and I hope it inspires and helps you with your own projects.

I built a sheer french lace corset for the base first, with sweetheart neckline and wired breast cups. The corset was boned with rigilene 8mm, and covered from inside by silk bias strips. The corset is long enough to cover love handles and give smoother lines. The back of the corset has two rows of hook and eyes. 

After building the foundation corset, I used soft touch horse hair braids with diamond shapes (that are usually used in millinery) to create this shoulder piece that goes back and ends in a big bow.
The beautiful thing about that piece is, it is lightweight, and stretches when the arm moves but doesn’t fall from the shoulder, it stays upright. So I extended the lace appliqué toward the shoulder piece a little bit but kept it simple.

While covering the corset with lace piece, I kept the lace long like a little lace peplum, so later on I could attach to the tulle skirt that I was planning from the waistline.

The skirt is about 8 layers of Silk Habotai, Tulles and embroidered lace. 

  1.   First I cut half circle silk habotai lining, with 3 rows of 5 inch Horsehair braids. I attached them to the face of the fabric so It doesn’t rub off to the skin, and added an invisible zipper.
  2. Then I cut 6 layers of full circle skirt, with soft-touch off-white tulles, and sewed each one of them and put them aside. No cinching on the waist — the waist was the same as the measurement of the waistline.
  3.   I cut 1 full circle of diamond grid embroidered lace with translucent sequins, and put it aside.

So I added a rayon grosgrain 1-inch ribbon to the waist of my dress form, and pinned it from the back. I layered each one of the skirts and attached to the ribbon by hand before taking it to the machine and attached all the layers to the ribbon.

The layers go like this:

1- Habotai with horsehair braids
2- A full skirt tulle
3- A full skirt tulle
4- A full skirt tulle
5- A full skirt tulle
6- An embroidered lace with a 5 inch horsehair braids attached at the hem
7- A full skirt tulle with a Horsehair braid with diamond grids (same as the one used on shoulder piece)
8- A full skirt tulle

After sewing all the pieces to the ribbon waist stay, I took the skirt and attached it to the waist of the corset by hand. I also added a waist stay inside of the corset as well, with hook and eyes. 

I did not attach all the tulles and the lace layers to the zipper of the lining, because this way the tulles are fluffier in the back.
I kept them raw edged, they are very soft anyway, and hand-stitched the edge of the lace layer to the top tulle and added tiny white hook and eyes to keep the opening of the skirt in check.   

Lastly, I hand-sewed all the laces that were extended from the corset to the top layer tulle skirt.
I added a few more appliqués and hand-sewed them. 

I usually use two types of thread for sewing delicate laces by hand, invisible threads or silk threads with only one layer. I usually lock knots, in every 2-3 steps.
This way I avoid the lace coming off easily.


I hope this is helpful and/or inspiring.
And I’d gladly answer any questions you might have!

Please scroll down & leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

Cheers 🙂

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