With an expiration date almost as short-lived as a Cinderella moment, this magical dress transcends previously established styles and creative norms. While it may not last long, its long-lasting impression is sure to inspire future designs from the things fairy tales are made. Innovative designer Carol Jillian, of Jillian Design in Austin, Texas, pushes the envelope and marries her methods and tips for how to create a sublime wedding dress from velvety rose petals, airy baby’s-breath and additional easy-to-find botanicals into a bridal composition that whispers “I do!”
The dress is made of three key and separate sections that are sewn together to create one silhouette. You will need to purchase or make a bodice, smooth form skirt that reaches below the knees, and three yards of ruffles to make the flare at the bottom of the dress. You will also need large pieces of white felt that will serve as overlays between the structural pieces and the botanicals. The white felt patches should be glued, one section at a time with fabric glue, prior to adding any flowers or foliage.
Place all pieces onto a tailor dressmaker form or mannequin, ensuring first that they will fit you or your model well once the completed dress is ready to wear. Tip: If possible, work in a cold room throughout the design and construction process.
Bottom of the dress assemblage: Begin by creating numerous small bunches of baby’s-breath that are secured with Oasis Bind Wire and trimmed approximately two inches in length. Then glue, with Oasis Floral Adhesive, each small bunch to the ruffles, working from bottom to top, in horizontal rows, one row at a time. Ruffle material is necessary to work with because it shapes the flared silhouette and provides the airy feel at the bottom of the dress. Once the ruffle section is complete, mist it thoroughly with water, roll it up, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Tip: Sections of the dress can be made over several days.
Glue large white felt patches to the skirt with fabric glue. When dry, glue the rose petals onto the skirt with Oasis Floral Adhesive, one petal at a time, working from bottom to top, one horizontal row at a time. Make sure to overlay the petals because they will shrink a little during the process. Use the liquid floral adhesive sparingly. Mist the petals periodically to keep them hydrated. Place the skirt back into appropriate cooled environment if you are not ready to create the bodice.
Repeat same process for the bodice. With fabric glue, adhere large white felt patches to the bodice, and allow time for it to dry. When dry, glue the rose petals onto the skirt, one petal at a time, again from bottom to top, one horizontal row at a time, with Oasis Floral Adhesive. Make sure to overlay the petals because they will shrink during the process. Overall, the rows should have the symmetry and overlapping texture of fish scales.
Sew and/or attach with fabric glue all three pieces together. Once dry, the dress is ready to wear.